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Los Padres Meet the Reigning Champions

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As of Sunday night, Dominican Manny Machado's San Diego Padres were 5.5 games behind the Rattlers in the tight National League wild card race.

Although the deficit now stands at seven games, the Padres will still be looking for a win against the Houston Astros on Friday night.

Machado's Parents Cling to a Miracle

After losing the first game of the series, Manny Machado said the team took some time to improve. For the Dominican, the Padres have a lot to offer and little to lose at this stage of the season.

While the Padres are currently without several key players, including starting pitchers Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove, who could be out for the season, Machado said the team was hoping for a miracle.

Making the playoffs will be an almost Herculean task for the Padres. With a series in front of them against the Astros, the road is getting steeper and steeper for the Padres. Any pundit would think San Diego must win at least seven of nine games to have a chance to keep looking for a miracle.

The Padres, who currently sit with a 66-75 record, concluded a 34-game series since Aug. 1 with a 5-1 home loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.

Their unfavorable season continues and was further exalted when Gary Sanchez suffered a fractured right wrist after being hit by a pitch in the eighth inning.

For many pundits, if the New York Mets live up to pre-season expectations as the most disappointing team in the Major Leagues, the Padres are not far behind.

Watching San Diego play aimlessly with its star-studded roster seemed impossible before the start of this season.

The Contrasting Reality of the Stars Still Shining at the Top

For an Astros organization that has won two World Series and made six consecutive American League Championship Series appearances, predictions are usually reserved for the postseason.

However, what Houston, who find themselves with an 80-61 record, did in sweeping a three-game road series against the Texas Rangers this week resonated.

The Astros, who are preparing to host the Padres in a three-game interleague series beginning Friday, outscored Texas 39-10.

Houston hit 16 home runs during the series, securing sole possession of first place in the American League West Division for the first time this season.

The Padres won 4-0 on Sunday against the San Francisco Giants, taking the four-game series in their final home showdown against their rivals to the north in the 2023 season. However, that might not be enough for San Diego.

The Astros still have work to do to secure a postseason berth, let alone another division title. But their dominance over the Rangers showed what they are capable of when everything works as it should.

For Astros right-handed pitcher Justin Verlander, the team's level of play is high. Verlander commented that only a streak of consistency will keep the Astros on the right track to another World Series title.

Rookie right-handed pitcher Hunter Brown is scheduled to be the Astros' starter in the first game of the series. Brown has alternated wins and losses in his last six appearances, posting a 3-3 record with a 6.31 ERA and a .952 opponent OPS.

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