PADRES IN INTERLEAGUE PLAY
SAN DIEGO -- Interleague Play hasn't been kind to the San Diego Padres, who open a three-game series on Friday against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field."Historically, the Padres have not been good," San Diego manager Bud Black said last season. "To combat that, you have to pitch better. Whether it's Interleague or not, you have to pitch well." It was just a year ago when the Padres had a streak of 13 consecutive losses against American League teams, a streak that ended in June with a victory over the Mariners. Since Black took over as manager before the 2007 season, the team has gone 6-9, 3-15 and 5-10 against the AL. Why such a dry spell in Interleague Play? "Well, I do think the American League hits better than the National League," said Padres closer Heath Bell. "The National League plays small ball a lot more, and the American League is geared around hitting, hitting, hitting ... scoring a lot of runs." The Padres will play host to the Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles next month at PETCO Park and will travel a week later to face the Tampa Bay Rays. Unlike Bell, other players, such as third baseman Chase Headley and second baseman David Eckstein, dismissed the streak as insignificant.
"I don't know -- there's nothing I can come up with," Headley said. "For whatever reason, we haven't played real well against those guys. Baseball is baseball, whether you have a DH or no DH. You have to be able to get past that."Eckstein said the streak doesn't hold any weight when he's preparing to play Interleague opponents. "You don't really look much into it," he said. "You go out there and try to win the game." The Padres will use the designated hitter in Interleague road games, starting this weekend. Because they'll see left-hander Cliff Lee on Friday, look for Oscar Salazar to get a start at DH. Otherwise, veteran Matt Stairs could get a start Saturday or Sunday. The Padres will also get to use the DH when they travel to Florida in June, when they face the Rays.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.