Finding passion away from home

In football, there is no room for error on the homefront. But baseball is a different case. Getting away from home for a week can be bliss - at least that is the Padres hope.

There have been times over his decade-plus tenure as the Padres' manager when Bruce Bochy has welcomed a road trip.

"Road trips sometimes let you get away from the pressures at home, clear the mind and concentrate on baseball," Bochy has said.

And although the Padres have been home only one week after six weeks of spring training, this could be one of those times.

The Padres went 1-4 during their season-opening homestand that concluded with a record-setting sweep by the Colorado Rockies.

During the three games, the Rockies had 48 hits for a .375 average and had a .719 slugging percentage (12 doubles, four triples and eight homers). They set Petco Park records with 32 runs in a three-game series, reaching double figures in each of the three games (no club had done that before) and twice scored an opponents-record seven runs in an inning.

Balls are carrying better at Petco Park this April than they did during the ballpark's first two seasons. Why? The absence of the normal marine layer and stronger nighttime winds blowing from the left field foul pole to right. Why? An unusual weather pattern that has brought a series of late season cold fronts and storms through the area.

Now the Padres hit the road for nine games at Florida, Atlanta and Colorado while seeking to rebuild their pitching staff. Veterans Woody Williams and Chan Ho Park, deemed undeserving of a spot in the rotation during spring training, are being force-fed back in to the rotation because of the sprained elbow flexor tendon suffered by No. 2 starter Shawn Estes and the need for a fifth starter.


As if the pitching weren't bad enough, the Padres' outfield defense struggled over the weekend. And the outfield defense was supposed to be the most improved part of the Padres' game. Of course, it hurts that center fielder Mike Cameron is on the disabled list for at least two more weeks with a strained left oblique. But CF Dave Roberts and LF Terrmel Sledge collided to turn one fly into a triple Sunday, and Sledge lost another ball for a triple during the Rockies' seven-run fifth.

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