The Padres have dropped eight straight games

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25-year-old Cory Luebke didn’t have the easiest of assignments Friday night against the Rockies. Not only was he making his major league debut, he was being asked to stop the bleeding of a seven-game losing streak. No pressure or anything.

Luebke was predictably a little shaky, giving up a pair of two-run homers over five innings while walking two, hitting a batter and committing a fielding error. Edward Mujica, Mike Adams and Ernesto Frieri followed with seven strikeouts over four innings of hitless ball, but it wasn’t enough. The Padres lost 4-3 and have now dropped eight consecutive games.

Chase Headley told Corey Brock of MLB.com that it’s hard to point to any one thing as the reason for recent skid.

“The frustrating part of this is that we haven’t been playing bad
baseball in this streak,” Headley said. “It’s been one little thing that
can change the game.”

Headley is staying positive, but it’s not really a mystery. As David Pinto of Baseball Musings tells us, the Padres have batted .220 over the course of the streak, including .174 with runners in scoring position. The team’s pitching hasn’t been awful, but their opponents have batted .410 with runners in scoring position.

The Padres were 6 1/2 games up on the Giants on August 25. They’re now three games up with 29 left to play. Fortunately for the Padres, the Giants lost Friday night, so they didn’t lose any more ground. Jon Garland will try to snap the streak when he opposes Jason Hammel later this afternoon.

Jon Niese leaves start with knee pain

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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Mets starter Jon Niese left his start Tuesday night against the Cardinals due to left knee pain.

Niese walked two and gave up an RBI single before leaving with a trainer with one out in the bottom of the first inning. He was eventually charged with three earned runs. Robert Gsellman, just up from Las Vegas, took over, making his major league debut under unexpected circumstances.

Niese, who has not pitched well at all since coming over in a trade with the Pirates, is likely to be placed on the disabled list after the game or before tomorrow’s game.

Mark Trumbo’s home run streak ends

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 11:  Mark Trumbo #45 of the Baltimore Orioles hits an RBI single against the Oakland Athletics during the fourth inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 11, 2016 in Oakland, California. The Baltimore Orioles defeated the Oakland Athletics 9-6. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Mark Trumbo still has many chances to hit a home run tonight — it’s only been an inning or so in the Nats-Orioles game — but his weird home run streak is over.

Coming into tonight’s game, Trumbo’s last seven hits had been homers. The all-time record had been 11, set by Mark McGwire back in 2001. The last time Trumbo got a hit that wasn’t a dong was back on August 11. Later in that game, however, he hit a grand slam. After that he went 6 for his next 34, with all those safeties dingers.

But that’s over now. In the first inning tonight he drove in a run with a two-out single. Then he was thrown out trying to stretch it to two. Good job on the RBIs, Mark. Bad job on the base running. Judgment withheld on the homer streak because, really, that’s just kind of weird and cool.