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Rain Keeps Padres From Gaining More Ground : All Things Being Equal, Team Would Have Preferred to Play in Philadelphia

<i> Times Staff Writer</i>

It was 2 p.m. Sunday, the rain was beating puddles into the red tarp draped across the field where the Padres and Philadelphia Phillies should have been playing a baseball game. Down in the Veterans Stadium clubhouse, Padre pitching coach Pat Dobson was sighing.

“Let’s see, right about now it would be about the fourth inning,” he said. “We’d have scored, what, four runs? And against this team, that would have been enough. Game over.”

The Padres upset about a day off? When was the last time you heard that?

Probably about the last time they entered the last month of the season with a chance to finish higher than more teams than just the one from Atlanta . That is where the fifth-place Padres stood Sunday after their game against Philadelphia was rained out--10 games out of first, but only five games out of second.

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Because it’s the last time these two teams were scheduled to meet this year, Sunday’s game is not likely to be played unless it has direct bearing on a championship. And that’s not likely.

All of which means a couple of things. One, the Padres will probably play a maximum of 161 games, one fewer than the rest of their division. Considering the lost game was to be played against the absolutely lost Phillies, it is a game that could cost them a chance at second or third-place.

The second thing the rainout means is, San Diego fans who enjoy watching records being set can rest their hearts. Tony Gwynn probably won’t become the Padre all-time hit leader until the team--which left here Sunday for a two-game series at San Francisco--returns home Wednesday to begin an eight-game stand.

He would need seven hits in two days in Candlestick Park to pass Dave Winfield’s mark of 1,134 hits. Thus far, in the eight completed games on this trip, Gwynn has collected only seven hits total, going 7 for 33 (.212).

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“But I would rather break the record on the road,” Gwynn said.

Seriously.

“Seriously, because that means I would break out of this slump,” Gwynn said. “I really don’t think the record is a big deal anyway. It ain’t a milestone or anything. Now 2,000 hits, 100 home runs, that’s a milestone. I’m not sure what this is.”

Gwynn says the only thing that impresses him about this record is that it took Winfield eight years to set it, while Gwynn will break it in six.

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Of course, Gwynn hasn’t felt the greatest about himself lately anyway. In Saturday’s 5-2 victory here, he broke three bats.

“First time I’ve ever done that,” he said, shaking his head and holding a constantly sore left index finger.”

Gwynn said the only thing worse was, on the same night, watching Tim Flannery break a bat Gwynn had given him two years ago.

“I don’t even want to talk about it,” Flannery said. “Do you know how hard it is to keep a bat for two years?”

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Padre Notes

The rainout will not affect the Padre rotation, as Sunday’s scheduled starter Eric Show will be moved back to today at 2:05 p.m. against the Giants, and today’s scheduled starter Dennis Rasmussen will be moved to Tuesday at 7:35 p.m. The only hitch is that special arrangements were made, and Rasmussen flew to San Francisco a day early to get his rest for today’s game. . . . Lost in Saturday’s jubilation over reaching the .500 mark (67-67) was Ed Whitson’s second complete game in three starts, also his second this season. Since 1980 he has completed as many as three games a season only once, when he had three in 36 starts last year.


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