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Series preview: Giants vs. Padres

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Well, here we go.

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MLB: Atlanta Braves at San Francisco Giants Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Good news: The San Francisco Giants currently are in sole possession of the second Wild Card spot in the National League.

Bad news: The Giants lose the tiebreaker to the two teams they’re trying to hold off.

Good news: The Giants have fewer losses than both of those teams, meaning they control their fate.

Bad news: They may control their fate, but they’re controlling it for a four-game series against one of baseball’s best teams.

Good news: The San Diego Padres are locked into their postseason spot, with the only possible hiccup being if they get swept, if the St. Louis Cardinals sweep their series, and if the Cardinals are then granted a makeup doubleheader on Monday and sweep that series (St. Louis is scheduled to only play 58 games). So the Padres have nothing to play for.

Bad news: They’re still extremely good.

It’s the final series of the regular season, and for the Giants that means it may be the final series of the year.

Or it may not. Let’s get it.


The details

Who: San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres
Where: Oracle Park, San Francisco, California
When: Friday (4:10 p.m.), Friday again (30-45 minutes after the conclusion of the first game), Saturday (6:15 p.m.), and Sunday (12:05 p.m.)
National broadcasts: Friday Game 1 and Saturday (MLB Network, out of market only, available through fuboTV)


Where they stand

San Francisco Giants

Record: 28-28, third place in the NL West
Run differential: +7, fifth in the MLB West
Postseason standing: Sole possession of the second Wild Card, by a half game
Current momentum: Lost one in a row, 5-5 in their last 10

San Diego Padres

Record: 34-22, second place in the NL West
Run differential: +79, second in the MLB West
Postseason standing: Sole possession of the fourth seed, essentially locked in
Current momentum: Lost two in a row, 5-5 in their last 10

Season series: Padres lead 5-1 with a +19 differential.


Three Giants to watch

Mike Yastrzemski: Exactly one week after suffering a calf injury, Mike Yastrzemski returned to the field during the Giants demoralizing loss on Thursday evening. Or rather, he returned to the batter’s box. Yastrzemski pinch hit in the late innings, and didn’t stay in to play the field. The Giants said on Thursday that he might be ready to start against the Padres, but they weren’t sure.

The Giants need him.

Brandon Belt: It seems that nothing is slowing down Brandon Belt, and the Giants desperately need that to continue during this series.

Johnny Cueto: The Giants will be without their best pitcher, Kevin Gausman during the four-game set. If Johnny Cueto still has an ace somewhere inside him, he needs to let it out.


Three Padres to watch

Fernando Tatis Jr.: Fernando Tatis Jr. is one of the very best players in baseball and can singlehandedly end the Giants season.

Manny Machado: Manny Machado is one of the very best players in baseball and can singlehandedly end the Giants season.

Eric Hosmer: Eric Hosmer is having a good season, and while he’s less likely to singlehandedly end the Giants season than the players listed before him, I can’t think of many players alive who I would less like to see singlehandedly end the Giants season.


Best case/worst case

Best case scenario: Forget how many they win and lose, the best case scenario is that when this series ends the Giants still have games to play.

Worst case scenario: Forget how many they win and lose, the worst case scenario is that when this series ends the Giants have no more games to play.


Prediction

My brain says 2-2 but my heart says 3-1. My brain says to listen to my brain but my heart says to listen to my heart.

Ahh screw it, 3-1. Let’s get silly.