The Padres are good. Quite good. Even without Fernando Tatis Jr., who remains sidelined with a MadBum-esque injury, the Padres are one of baseball’s best teams.
That’s bad because beating good teams is hard. But it’s also good because it provides the Giants an opportunity to do double damage — win their own games, and also pile up losses for one of the teams they’re battling for playoff positioning.
It’s also really fun to beat the Padres. And very unfun to lose to the Padres.
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres
Where: Oracle Park, San Francisco, California
When: Friday (7:15 p.m. PT), Saturday (1:05 p.m. PT), and Sunday (1:05 p.m. PT)
National broadcasts: Saturday (FS1)
Friday: Jakob Junis vs. Sean Manaea
Saturday: Carlos Rodón vs. Joe Musgrove
Sunday: Alex Wood vs. Mike Clevinger
Where they stand
Record: 22-15, 3rd in the NL West
Run differential: +35, 3rd in the NL
Postseason standing: 2nd Wild Card, 3 games back in the division
Momentum: 1-game losing streak, 7-3 in their last 10 games
Record: 24-14, 2nd in the NL West
Run differential: +18, 7th in the NL
Postseason standing: 1st Wild Card, 1.5 games back in the division
Momentum: 1-game winning streak, 6-4 in their last 10 games
Season series: Giants lead 2-1
Three Giants to watch
Carlos Rodón: For the most part, Rodón has been an unhittable force in his first year with the Giants. But his last outing was a hiccup and a half, as he gave up eight earned runs while getting knocked out of the game in the fourth inning. But if you want to know how good he’s been, that is one of just seven starts, so it had a big impact on his numbers ... yet he’s still second among all qualified pitchers in FIP and fWAR. Hilariously, the person in front of him in both categories is the person he’s replacing, Kevin Gausman.
Brandon Belt: Belt has cooled off significantly since his hot start to the season. He hasn’t hit a home run in exactly a month (though he missed a chunk of time), and since returning from a bout of COVID he’s hit just 7-35 with one extra-base hit, a double. With two righties on the mound, this would be a lovely weekend for Belt’s bat to get going again.
Joey Bart/Curt Casali: The Giants catchers have both been above-average offensively this season, with Casali sporting a wRC+ of 139, and Bart at 107. Getting offense from the back of the lineup has been a huge part of the team’s success this year, and Casali and Bart have played a huge role in that. Bart has been the starter most of the season, but in Colorado the Giants switched it up after Casali had a two-homer day. They’re worth watching for many reasons: to see who gets the bulk of the starts; to see if Bart can cut back on his 44.0% strikeout rate while maintaining his 14.3% walk rate; and to see if they can continue to give the Giants excellent offensive production from an unlikely place.
Three Padres to watch
Manny Machado: How good has Manny Machado been? Better than anyone else, it seems. With 2.8 fWAR, Machado has provided more value than any other position players in the Major Leagues this year. Only one other National League position player, Nolan Arenado, has more than 2.0 fWAR.
Sean Manaea: The Giants saw Manaea, the lone lefty the Padres are starting in this series, earlier in the year, and he did strong work, allowing just a baserunner per inning, with a strikeout per inning, and giving up just two runs in six innings of work. He’s having a quality year, with a 3.77 ERA and a 3.26 FIP, with 50 strikeouts in 43 innings.
Joe Musgrove: But Manaea hasn’t been as good as Musgrove, who has been sensational this season, with a 2.20 ERA, a 2.70 FIP, and 47 strikeouts to just six walks in 45 innings. His WHIP is just 0.933, so the Giants will have difficulty just getting runners on base, let alone scoring them.
Who wins the series?
This poll is closed
Giants win 2-1
Padres win 2-1