There was a time when the San Diego Padres were one of the most boring teams in baseball. That time was fairly recently, and it was also quite a ways away, because it lasted a very, very long time.
Now the Padres are one of the most exciting teams in baseball, a badge they wear in part because they’re one of the best teams in baseball.
So it used to be that when the San Francisco Giants played a cluster of games against the Padres, you dreaded the series because it was just so uninteresting. Now you might dread it because it’s so difficult.
Just can’t win with the Padres.
Anyway, the Padres are in town, and it’s already the third time that the teams have met, even though we’re barely a month into the season. But don’t worry, friends: it’s the last we’ll see of the Padres until mid-September, and you won’t see the Colorado Rockies again until August.
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres
Where: Oracle Park, San Francisco, California
When: Friday (6:45 p.m.), Saturday (1:05 p.m.) and Sunday (1:05 p.m.)
National broadcasts: Friday (ESPN+), Saturday (FS1), and Sunday (MLB Network, out of market only)
Where they stand
San Francisco Giants
Record: 18-13, 1st in the NL West
Run differential: +30, 2nd in the NL
Postseason standing: 1st seed
Momentum: 2-game losing streak, 5-5 in their last 10 games
San Diego Padres
Record: 18-14, 2nd in the NL West
Run differential: +16, 4th in the NL
Postseason standing: 1st Wild Card, 0.5 games out of the NL West lead
Momentum: 1-game winning streak, 6-4 in their last 10 games
Season series: Tied 3-3
Three Giants to watch
Johnny Cueto: We haven’t seen Cueto since he exited an April 14 start, his third of the year. But he’ll return on Sunday and look to pick up where he left off, as he was pitching as well as anybody outside of New York when he hit the Injured List.
Buster Posey: To say Posey is turning back the clock would be a bit inaccurate, because he’s having a much better offensive season than he’s ever had, even in his MVP year. That will certainly regress as the sample size gets larger, but it seems pretty clear that finally being in good health is helping the face of the Giants franchise. Which made it that much more scary when he exited Wednesday’s game with a tight hamstring. The Giants are hoping he’ll be good to go for this series, and he’s certainly one to keep an eye on.
The Brandons: Sometimes a trip to Coors Field is exactly what the doctor ordered. Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt both hit a pair of dingers during the three-game set in Denver, and in the process Crawford rose his OPS from .663 to .837, and Belt from .731 to .823.
Three Padres to watch
Manny Machado: A year after finishing third in the NL in MVP voting, Machado is off to a slow start. His .226/.323/.365 slash line has him performing like a below-average hitter through the first month of the season (98 OPS+, 95 wRC+). The good news is that the Giants are throwing only righty starters at Machado this weekend, but I remain terrified of NL West stars facing the Giants when slumping. Especially after what Charlie Blackmon did on Tuesday.
Fernando Tatis Jr. Yes, it’s cliché to include Tatis and Machado every time I do this, but both are worth mentioning. Tatis has only one hit in 12 at-bats against the Giants this season, though it’s worth noting that that hit was a home run. If the Giants can contain the young superstar again, that will go a long way towards winning the series.
Joe Musgrove: The Giants got the best of Musgrove last time out, torching him for five earned runs in as many innings. The San Diego native is having a great season, but the Giants having his number sure would be nice.
Who wins the series?
This poll is closed
Giants win 2-1
Padres win 2-1