Now, how could I not watch that! It's the first Padres game I've watched this season since I saw a couple of games in person at Petco Park back in June, when they were actually a good team, coming off the best month (a 22-5 May) in franchise history. I didn't recognize half the team last night. Phil Nevin's been traded away; Sean Burroughs is no longer the starting third baseman, his place taken by Joe Randa, who I have no idea how he was acquired; the pitching rotation is all different.
The Padres did win last night. They are now NL West Division Champs. Despite winning by 8 runs, they brought Trevor Hoffman out for the ninth so he could be the clinching pitcher — a classy move. (Hoffman has now been the clinching pitcher for 3 of the 4 Padres playoff teams, all division winners: 1996, 1998 (World Series loss to Yankees), and 2005. This is the only Padres playoff team of which Tony Gwynn wasn't an integral part; their other playoff appearance was in 1984, when they lost to the Tigers in the World Series.) Though it's hard to think they won't lose to St. Louis, I'm hoping they'll rediscover a bit of the magic from 1998 and claw their way into the World Series. Interestingly enough, in their previous playoff appearances, they've either faced the Cardinals in the first round and lost (1996) or advanced to the World Series … doesn't bode well for this year!