Which teams have the best chance of winning the NL West?

By Sam Monson ESPN Staff Writer – SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres have had to deal with the fallout of their recent slide.

They have lost two of their last three games.

And the Dodgers have had two of its last three on the road.

And now, after their first two losses, they’re losing.

They are 1-2 on the year and, with their third loss of the season, it appears they will not have another win until the All-Star break.

But, for now, the Padres are in a strong position.

“We know we have to win games and we’ve had to do that and we’re going to continue to do it,” manager Joe Maddon said.

“This team is just going to have to find a way to win, regardless of the outcome of the game.”

The Padres are coming off their first victory of the year, beating the San Francisco Giants 5-3 on Wednesday.

That’s an improvement on their previous two victories, which came in a 2-2 tie on April 18.

That was also the first loss of their season, a 2,000-foot defeat at Los Angeles on April 29.

“You get into that slump and you don’t have a ton of energy, and that’s when you really can’t control what happens,” Maddon added.

“The thing that’s really important for us is we have a great pitching staff, a great starting pitching staff.

We’re going into the game trying to find out who’s going to pitch the ninth inning.”

The Giants (10-6) are coming into the week ranked sixth in the NL East, but are not expected to be any better than they were when they won the division last month.

They lost three of their first four games, including a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, before the Padres rallied to win the final two.

The Giants have dropped seven of their past eight games, and are 4-3 in their last five.

The Padres have won eight straight and have seven of nine on the homestand.

They were on a roll on the way to their longest winning streak since a 16-game run from July 8-23, 2007.

They haven’t lost to the Dodgers since May 6-10, 2009.

“I think we have an opportunity to get the job done, but we’ve got to take it day by day,” catcher Yadier Molina said.

Matt Kemp had a big day in his return from the DL after missing the past six games.

He struck out six in five innings.

“He’s been really good, and it’s really cool to see him back on the mound,” Maddock said.

Kemp has hit two home runs in his past two games, but has hit just one in his last seven.

Kemp hit his first home run since July 27.

The Dodgers (9-8) are hoping they can put their two-game losing streak behind them, but they have yet to win a game.

“They are a very good team,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

Los Angeles will face the San Diego Rockies (8-10) on Friday night.

“If they’re going through something, we’re all going to step up, and we’ll get through it together,” Mattingley said.

Injuries and suspensions have been a factor for the Dodgers, who have lost six straight.

“It’s just kind of frustrating, and I just hope that the guys are going to bounce back,” Dodgers outfielder Adam Jones said.

Dodgers starter Mike Wright was on the disabled list for three weeks with a strained oblique muscle, and he didn’t pitch Tuesday against the Giants.

The Rockies were without shortstop Trevor Story, who is on the 15-day DL after he injured his left hamstring on Wednesday in San Diego.

Story was removed from the game after a walk-off single in the fourth inning and had a walk and hit by pitch.

The Phillies have won two of three, but haven’t won more than two in a month since September 29-October 5, 2010.

They fell to 4-9 with a 3.19 ERA.

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