The Padres won their next 10 games. The bullpen gave up only one earned run in 33 innings over that stretch.
But this was mostly the same bullpen that was charged with 29 runs in 30 innings over a stretch in which the Padres were 5-19.
About the only constants this season have been the performances of Gonzalez and Bell, both of whom are under the Padres' control for two more seasons.
Uncertainty about the club's direction has both players uncertain about their futures.
Because Bell's contractual status might make him attractive to other clubs -- he isn't eligible to be a free agent until the end of the 2011 season -- the closer said he has wondered if he could be traded.