The San Francisco Giants are visiting the San Diego Padres for that mystical series that was supposed to start the regular season, but now ends it instead. I like the idea of getting 159 more Giants games after this series, but instead we get 0. Tough life.
There are limited, but not nonexistent things to play for. The Giants can play the role of very mild spoilers with some wins, as the Padres currently hold the second Wild Card spot but have just a one game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies. The Giants can’t knock San Diego out — their playoff spot is secure — but they could help drop them down to the third seed.
Plus, with one win the Giants will finish at .500, and with two or three wins they’ll have consecutive winning seasons for the first time since they had three such campaigns from 204 through 2016.
So yeah. Not a whole lot at stake, but not nothing, either.
It’s also the final time the Giants will face the padres before their deadly duo of Manny Machado and Juan Soto turns into a terrifying triumvirate of Machado, Soto, and Fernando Tatis Jr.
Mostly it’s just Giants baseball, for the final time this year. For better and for worse.
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres
Where: Petco Park, San Diego, California
When: Monday (6:40 p.m. PT), Tuesday (6:40 p.m. PT), and Wednesday (1:10 p.m. PT)
National broadcasts: None
Monday: John Brebbia vs. Joe Musgrove
Tuesday: Carlos Rodón vs. Sean Manaea
Wednesday: Alex Cobb vs. Yu Darvish
Where they stand
Record: 80-79, 3rd in the NL West
Run differential: +19, 8th in the NL
Postseason standing: Eliminated
Momentum: 1-game winning streak, 8-2 in their last 10 games
Record: 87-72, 2nd in the NL West
Run differential: +45, 6th in the NL
Postseason standing: 2nd Wild Card
Momentum: 1-game losing streak, 4-6 in their last 10 games
Season series: Padres lead 11-5
Three Giants to watch
Carlos Rodón: Rodón makes his final start of the year, and perhaps his final start as a Giant. He’ll be on a pitch limit so as not to risk injury — which would be bad for him and for the team — but he’ll still probably strike out 109 hitters. As a reminder, Rodón has more double-digit strikeout games this year than all of the Giants pitchers had in 2019, 2020, and 2021 combined. He’s had the best regular season by a Giants pitcher since Tim Lincecum was collecting hardware. And he’s damn fun to watch.
Evan Longoria: Longoria’s two-homer day last week was a reminder as to how good he still is when healthy. But with Wilmer Flores, J.D. Davis, and David Villar in the fold for 2023, we could be looking at Longoria’s final games as a Giant ... or even as an MLB player. It’s kind of hard to believe that this is already his fifth season in the black and orange, and we’ll see if he can do anything in these final days to state a final case for a sixth season.
The bullpen: Barring trades, Camilo Doval and John Brebbia will be in the bullpen next year. I would anticipate Tyler Rogers too, but who knows at this point. After that it’s a lot of question marks. Scott Alexander has been making a case. Shelby Miller has been making a case. Alex Young and Thomas Szapucki, despite some hiccups, have been making cases. And so on and so forth. A lot of auditions in the next three days.
Three Padres to watch
Juan Soto: If you need a barometer for just how good Soto is, consider that he’s taken a gigantic step backwards since being traded to San Diego ... and has still hit 36% better than the average MLB player, walked substantially more times than he’s been struck out, and hit into just one double play in 50 games. Here’s a wild stat about Soto ... the next walk he draws will tie him with Brandon Crawford ... for career walks. He’ll surpass Brandon Belt next year. He’s 23.
Manny Machado: Were it not for the two OG Giant Killers, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, Machado would likely be running away with the NL MVP award (though Freddie Freeman probably has something to say about that...). Machado has been an offensive superstar since the first day of the season until now, and I look forward to Thursday coming around so I don’t have to worry about him for half a year.
Sean Manaea: Manaea came to the Padres with a ton of talent in his left arm, but it’s been a disappointing first year in San Diego for him, as he has a 5.15 ERA and a 4.65 FIP. Most concerning — or most exciting, for the Giants — is that he’s allowed 29 home runs in just 152 innings. That’s a lot of home runs. Three of those 29 have come by the Giants, who have done very well against Manaea this year, scoring 10 runs in 17 innings.
On Friday, 90% of poll responders accurately predicted the Giants to win the series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, with a clean 50% predicting a 2-1 win. Here’s the final guessing game of the season.
Who wins the series?
This poll is closed
Giants win 2-1
Padres win 2-1