We really regrouped during our previous homestand, and we've been playing well ever since then. Adrian Gonzalez, in particular, has been on fire.

The way we had been playing in late April and the early part of May was unacceptable. We took that to heart, and a lot of guys on the team responded. We looked at ourselves in the mirror and decided we needed to play better.

We won all nine games at home between May 15 and May 24 and went 3-3 on our recent road trip. We're now in an important homestand with Philadelphia and Arizona, and we need to keep that focus and intensity.

Our season has been a roller coaster. We came out of the gate with a lot of energy. We really played hard and focused at the start of the year. That's the way our club has to play. I don't think we're the type of club that can just throw the ball around and expect to win. We have to be very focused and win close games if we want to have success this year.

Winning close games, especially the one-run games, is a big part of our success. At this point, we've played 51 games, and 19 of them have been decided by one run. That's just how it's going to be this year. There are going to be tight situations and intense moments, and we need to rise to the occasion and win those games.

Winning close games is indicative of strong pitching, too. We have quality starting pitching and a talented bullpen. Some of the guys in the back of our rotation don't have much experience yet, but there's a lot of talent here. A lot of times, talent can supercede experience.

Jake Peavy, of course, is a No. 1 pitcher. He's been the subject of a lot of trade rumors going back to the spring, but that doesn't really affect us because Jake doesn't let it affect us. He handles his business and handles it very well. It doesn't affect his performance, so why would it affect our performance?

Nick Hundley, no relation to former catchers Randy and Todd Hundley, first reached the Majors with the Padres last July and has now taken over the starting catcher role. The 25-year-old, the club's second-round pick out of Arizona in 2005, finds himself handling Jake Peavy and an otherwise young but talented staff. The Padres' recent 10-game winning streak put them back in the mix in the NL West race.