San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado (13) throws to first base during a game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

Manny Machado made a bold prediction about the stakes for the San Diego Padres come late in the 2020 season.

“It’s a matter of playing it out and not taking these last games for granted,” he told of this season. “Because come next year we’re going to be playing for something around this time.”

That was the idea when the Padres signed Machado to a 10-year contract last winter.

Snagging a superstar, along with anticipating the development of several talented prospects, allowed the Padres to envision contending for the first time since 2010.

They last made the playoffs in 2006, when the St. Louis Cardinals defeated them 3-1 in the National League Division Series.

Machado made the comments at the close of a difficult August, that included a slump. His bat, however, has awakened in the last 15 games, in which he’s hit .304.

The Padres took three of the four games they played in San Francisco this weekend. Sunday’s game was the last time they’ll face former manager Bruce Bochy, who’s set to retire at the end of the season.

They’ll move on to Arizona to face the Diamondbacks Monday before returning home Friday to welcome the Colorado Rockies and the Chicago Cubs.

– Staff reports

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