The (anti) Brian Giles experiment

Adrian Gonzalez leads the Padres in every major offensive category and should be a huge part of their final two months. Getty Images

In 2009, the San Diego Padres finished with a 75-87 record, "good" for fourth in the National League West -- or exactly 20 games behind the division-winning Los Angeles Dodgers. The Hot Stove League was lukewarm, at best, for the Padres; their biggest offseason splash was a one-year deal for a little more than $5 million for an innings-eating righty (Jon Garland) whose upside was/is as a third starter.

Then, their No. 1 prospect, Kyle Blanks -- one of the more interesting parts on a team of otherwise low-ceiling players -- strained his elbow in mid-May, has been out of commission since then and is now due for Tommy John surgery.

That's a recipe for success, eh?

Apparently it is -- the Padres are leading the NL West (although the San Francisco Giants are hanging right around the front now), and they have an 80 percent chance to make October ball.

So, can they keep this up?