Tucson's middle-of-the-road offense and inconsistent starting pitching have the Padres firmly planted in last place in the PCL Southern Division and 18 games behind third-place Las Vegas entering Wednesday.
But things have been looking up lately - at least for half of that equation.
The Padres were riding a season-high three-game winning streak going into Wednesday's game against Colorado Springs thanks to their suddenly potent offense that plated 28 runs in a series win on the road against Fresno - just their second series victory of the year.
The recent success with the bats has allowed manager Terry Kennedy to just sit back and watch instead of pressing the accelerator in hopes of getting something started.
"If someone's swinging the bat pretty good, I'm gonna let them swing," Kennedy said. "My thing is just to get out of the way when they're going good like this."
And while it takes a number of hot bats to get a last-place team on a win streak, no one has been hotter than 28-year-old second baseman Anthony Contreras.
Contreras extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in Wednesday night's 6-4 win over Colorado Springs at Kino Stadium.
During the streak, Contreras is hitting .476 with nine doubles, a home run and 12 RBIs.
That outburst hasn't surprised Kennedy, who said Contreras entered the season in the best shape of his life and is finally learning how to apply what coaches have been preaching to him for three years.
"He's one of my favorite players," Kennedy said. "He's a great guy. It's nice to see good people have good things happen to them."
Tucson hitting coach Bob Skube said Contreras has one of the most consistent approaches of any player he's been around. Because of that, Contreras isn't fazed by things like hitting balls hard and not getting results.
"He just stays with what he knows is going to make him successful - that's my biggest kudos to him," Skube said. "He's doing absolutely nothing different; he's just stuck with the plan."
• The Padres had a busy day Wednesday as the club made a number of roster moves. Pitcher Kip Wells was recalled by San Diego, which optioned pitcher Brad Boxberger and shortstop Andy Parrino to Tucson. Tucson infielder Bryan Altman was released.
• Pitcher Mark Hamburger was assigned to Tucson after being claimed from Texas on waivers. Pitcher Daniel Stange was sent to Double-A San Antonio to make room on the roster.
• What: Colorado Springs at Padres
• Where: Kino Stadium
• When: 7:05 p.m.
• Radio: 1600-AM