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After winning seven consecutive games, the San Diego Padres lost two games (and the series) to the San Francisco Giants. The losses were not just dumb luck, but the result of an inconsistent bullpen and plenty of injuries. Unfortunately, it might just be the beginning of a tough stretch for the team.

The warning signs have been visible for days. Injured starters missing from the Padres lineup include Carlos Quentin, Everth Cabrera, Yonder Alonso, Jedd Gyorko and Cameron Maybin. The Padres offense, which has been the key to the team’s success in 2013, has found it difficult to capitalize on opportunities with so many holes in the lineup. That much was evident when the team left thirty six men on base in a thirteen inning win on Monday night.

San Diego’s offense in the two losses has relied entirely on home runs, which is a bad strategy when playing in a pitcher’s park such as AT&T Park. The four runs scored in Tuesday’s 5-4 loss were the result of home runs by Nick Hundley, Logan Forsythe and Jesus Guzman. The two runs scored in Wednesday’s 4-2 loss were off of home runs by Will Venable and, again, Jesus Guzman.

With inconsistent hitters in the lineup every day, the Padres’ pitching needs to be near-perfect to give the team a chance to win. The starting pitching has been good enough, giving up just eight runs in eighteen innings in the three game series against the Giants, but the relief pitching has had a couple of poorly-timed bad outings that ended up being more than the offense could make up for.

After six relievers combined to pitch eight scoreless innings in Monday’s win, the bullpen gave up two runs in 1.1 innings pitched in Tuesday’s loss. Those came at the expense of Dale Thayer, who gave up both runs while recording just two outs. Luke Gregerson took the loss on Wednesday, giving up two runs in what was a tie game without recording a single out.

Right now, Bud Black is working with a team that resembles a row boat full of holes. He’s doing his best to keep it afloat, but he’s going to need his hitters to get healthy quickly before the bullpen or the starting rotation get any injuries of their own. This may be the most critical time of the season for the 2013 Padres, when they need to find a way to stay at or above a .500 winning percentage with more than half of their starters on the Disabled List if they’re to remain in contention for the NL West championship.

John Gennaro

I'm John Gennaro, contributor to Active Voice and managing editor of Bolts from the Blue. You can tweet me @john_gennaro...

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