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Giants-Padres Series Preview: Laugh...

San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Rebecca Sasnett/Getty Images

If someone had told you before the season started that the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres would head into the final week of the season with exact same record, chances are you would’ve thought things had gone very, very well for the Giants despite everything that went down in the offseason.

Of course, for some of you — like, say, me — disaster is always right around the corner, and if someone had told me that, I would’ve assumed almost exactly this scenario. It’s no surprise that the Padres have flopped — that seems to be their whole deal. It’s no surprise that the Giants aren’t very good, either — they’re now firmly one of those “wait ‘til you see ‘em three years from now” teams.

But here we are at the point in the season where the Giants tried to use two winning months to prop up a real flop of a season. Player development isn’t linear, they say, and the Giants seem committed to a path that resembles Jackson Pollock’s Number 1. It’s still the case that the Padres messed around for most of the summer and found themselves looking up at the Giants, only now the Giants have come crashing down to earth and are fast approaching fourth place.

All you can do is laugh.

It’s just more proof that the talent behind San Diego’s inertia might be enough to push them past the Giants, who are only in the position they are because of their decision-making. To me, that’s evidence that talent is the extra 2% that the granular management of a Baseball Operations department needs to really look like a pack of geniuses. Instead, we’re really watching an intellectual exercise by some overmatched brainiacs optimizing deployment of a bunch of 40-50 grade players. The Padres roll out of bed with 55+ers as their starting point. This season series wasn’t supposed to be this close.

Oh wait, it’s not. The Giants are 4-6 against the Padres this season. They’re 5-5 against the Dodgers, went 6-7 against the Diamondbacks, and 9-4 against the Rockies. Odds are the Padres will win this series pretty easily.

Now, both teams kinda-sorta had a wild outside shot of stealing the third Wild Card if they got hot for the final two weeks and the Padres actually did flip a switch to put them in that position. I watched their extra innings loss to the Cardinals the other night that snapped their 8-game winning streak — at home in front of a sellout crowd. They could’ve won the game in the 9th but they really Giantsed it up.

It really does look like both teams are cooked, only the Padres face the White Sox in Chicago for their final three games of the season while the current 3rd wild card, the Cubs, has three in Atlanta and three in Milwaukee. It’s not probable but it certainly is plausible that the Giants could be just the doormat the Padres need to stun in the final weekend, but it’s also probable (though, after watching this overmatched squad play night in and night out feels less than plausible) that the Giants could end the Padres’ chances once and for all.

I mean, who cares though, right? The Giants stink and the Padres are a disappointed. Watching either of them back into a playoff spot makes the game feel even cheaper than the three-Wild Card system already makes it feel.

There will be plenty of time to pick over the bones of this Giants’ season. In the meantime, I guess we should just try to enjoy these final 54 innings we have left with this band of can’t hits. This band of losers. This band of failures. Maybe they’ll be accidentally entertaining at some point this week.

Series details

Who: San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres
Where: Oracle Park, San Francisco, California
When: Monday (6:45pm PT), Tuesday (6:45pm PT), Wednesday (6:45pm PT)
National broadcasts: Monday — Fox Sports 1, Tuesday & Wednesday — MLB Network simulcast

Projected starters:

Monday: Logan Webb vs. Blake Snell
Tuesday: Kyle Harrison vs. Seth Lugo
Wednesday: Sean Manaea vs. Matt Waldron

Where they stand


Record: 77-79 (tied-3rd in NL West)
Run differential: +91 (4th in NL)
Postseason standing: eliminated from division title, 5 games out of 3rd Wild Card
Momentum: 1-game winning streak; 9-1 in last 10 games


Record: 77-79, (tied-3rd in NL West)
Run differential: -33 (9th in NL)
Postseason standing: eliminated from division title, 5 games out of 3rd Wild Card
Momentum: 2-game losing streak; 2-8 in last 10 games

Players to watch

Logan Webb vs. Blake Snell: Ten days ago I wrote about how Logan Webb has no shot at even being in the Cy Young conversation thanks to a combination of his W-L record and his ERA (though, mainly, his ERA). Blake Snell was the frontrunner then and remains the frontrunner now. His 2.33 ERA is simply superior to the rest of the field. He’s struck out 19 Giants in 12 IP this season, and back in June, when the Giants were still basically a major league caliber baseball team, he punched out 11 and walked 0 in 6 shutout innings.

Meanwhile, Webb’s last two months:

10 starts
65.1 IP
3.03 ERA / 2.78 FIP

And the Giants are 4-6. If he doesn’t pitch a shutout, they lose.

Kyle Harrison: Final home start — final start period — of this season for the rookie whom the Giants probably didn’t want to bring up when they did this season but after seeing every single one of their plans go to crap they had no choice. He had a nice start against the Dodgers but at the beginning of the month the Padres took him to the woodshed. Can he get revenge?

Manny Machado: It’s like an alarm went off when September came around. He started the month with a .763 OPS, which would’ve been his fourth-lowest total of his career after his age-19-21 seasons with Baltimore. But, in 16 September games (72 PA), he’s hit .299/.347/.552 (.899 OPS) with 5 home runs; or, to put it another way: 20 hits in 16 games. Against the Giants this season (10 games): .325/.386/.700. He has 28 total bases against them, his most against any other team in 2023.

Juan Soto: It’s not fair to say he’s having a down season, but it’s only barely true compared to his previous standards. Still, his 157 OPS+ equals what he did in Washington last year before the Padres traded for him and he needs just one more home run to tie his career-best 34 (set in 2019). His September? .346/.441/.718 with 8 home runs. 27 hits in 21 games.

Michael Conforto: He’s going to sit out Monday’s game against Blake Snell because he’s a left-hander and so is Snell; so, if Gabe Kapler sends up a right-handed batter it’s called playing the percentages, and it’s what smart managers do to win ballgames. BUT, on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Padres will be featuring (or starting — if we’re still using that) two right-handed bulk (or starting) pitchers and there’s an opportunity for Conforto to really hit well enough to choose to opt out. The Giants could really use that extra $18 million to improve the roster.

Prediction time


Giants vs. Padres - How will it go?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    Padres sweep
    (29 votes)
  • 37%
    Padres win series, 2-1
    (37 votes)
  • 22%
    Padres somehow lose two games to the Giants
    (22 votes)
  • 11%
    Padres somehow lose three games to the Giants
    (11 votes)
99 votes total Vote Now