What on earth is going on with the San Diego Padres? On my birthday (August 25th), the Padres ripped the Arizona Diamondbacks a new one, beating them 9-3 at home. That win moved the Padres to 76-49 on the season and moved them 6.5 games up on the second place San Francisco Giants.

Unfortunately for the Padres and their fans, it’s September 6 and they still have 76 wins.

The Padres lost again to the Colorado Rockies yesterday, 4-2, and now have lost 10 straight games. It’s the first losing streak of 10 or more games by a first place team since the Pittsburgh Pirates accomplished the feat in 1932. The Padres now have a mere one game lead over the Giants in the NL West.

So back to my question earlier—what on earth is going on with the Padres?

It seems like a perfect storm of both poor offense and pitching.

During this 10 game losing streak, the Padres’ offense has put up a .216/.267/.312 hitting line with just six HRs. Ryan Ludwick, who was brought over from the St. Louis Cardinals to add offense, has hit just .194 with zero HR’s and a .222 slugging percentage during the last 10 games.

Chase Headley, who was having a very solid season through Aug. 25th, is hitting only .189 with one extra-base hit during this stretch. It seems that only Adrian Gonzalez is doing his part during this losing streak. He is hitting .361 with a .967 OPS in the last 10 games.

While the offense has struggled, the pitching staff has been no better. The Padres’ pitching staff has an ERA of 5.00 during this stretch and is allowing 1.2 HR’s/game. When your offense is averaging 2.3 runs/game and the pitching staff is giving up five runs/game, it’s usually not a good combination.

It’s pretty clear that the Padres have hit a wall in the season. And this is what happens to teams who are forced to grind it out over the course of a long season. I will compare what the Padres are going through to what the New Jersey Devils used to go through in the mid-90′s and early-2000′s.

During that time, the Devils used to play a ton of 1-0, 2-1 games. Those type of games put a lot of pressure on teams day in and day out. By the time the playoffs started, the Devils would be worn out from playing so many tight games. Every now and then a team needs a laugher—either way.

The Devils would start off slow, run through the league during the middle of the season, and then struggle down the stretch. Sound familiar, Padre fans?

This is what I think the Padres are going through right now. They need to figure out a way to catch their second wind. I guess the biggest difference between the Padres and the Devils is that GM Lou Lamariello used to fire the coach to give the team a spark, and that clearly is not going to happen with the Padres.

If the Padres are going to turn things around, they are going to need to do it in the face of a brutal schedule down the stretch. The Padres play the Giants seven times, the Cincinnati Reds, the Cardinals for four games, at Colorado, and the Los Angeles Dodgers for six games. The Padres also play the Chicago Cubs for three games, but other than that, they have a brutal, brutal schedule.

If you are going to ask me to make a prediction, I am going to say the Padres don’t recover. Once the air comes out of the balloon, it’s hard to blow it back up again. I say it will all come to down to the final three games of the season, when the Padres play at the Giants.

The Giants will win two-out-of-three and win the division.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com