Losing in extra innings last night stung extra hard. But we can't dwell on it. The Padres once again find themselves on the verge of a sweep and will try to salvage a win today in the season finale against San Francisco. Quite the difference from last year's series finale, on game 162 of the season when the NL West and the playoffs were on the line. A win today would bring very little solace to us fans who struggled through the devastation of that loss last year, but we'll still take it, especially when you consider today's matchup.
Last year, on September 12th, the Giants won the finale of a four-game series to tie the Padres atop the NL West. The matchup on that day: Lincecum vs. Latos. Lincecum will try to repeat his performance from that day, when he held the Padres to just one run and struck out nine batters over seven innings. Mat Latos' didn't do so well, giving up five runs over four innings. Today he will seek redemption for that game, as well as last year's game 162 that cost the Padres a playoff appearance.
Latos is also trying to collect his first win against the Giants this year. In his two starts against San Francisco, both non-decisions, he combined for four earned runs on 10 hits in 13 innings of work. He has pitched much better than his 7-13 record this season, but, like most of the Padres' starting rotation, has been a victim of a low run support. But there are a few sources of hope on our offensive side. Nick Hundley is on a three-game multihit streak and continues to rake since his return from the disabled list last month. Cameron Maybin continues to be a threat on the base paths. And Jesus Guzman continues to come in clutch with runners in scoring position. However, the rest of the offense will need to contribute as well if they hope to beat Giants ace Tim Lincecum.
Lincecum has also been stymied by a poor offense. In his last start, he pitched eight innings of one-run ball, but got a no-decision. In 19 of his 30 starts this season, he has gotten two runs of support or less, which explains his 12-12 record despite his 2.68 ERA. On the Giants' offense, Pablo Sandoval is on an eight-game hit streak, including three homers.
The Giants refuse to go down without fighting and are looking at a sweep to end the season series with the Padres. On the other hand, the Padres will try to play spoiler and make the Giants' playoff chances even slimmer. The last time San Francisco won four in a row was back in July and we hope to keep it that way. This is already a pressure-filled game, considering the recent history between these two teams and the Giants having something tangible to play for. But with the extra innings last night, there is even more pressure on starters Lincecum and Latos to go deep into the game. Today is the 87th birthday of Padres broadcaster and national treasure, Jerry Coleman, so hopefully the Padres are able to handle the pressure and come out with a win for him today. BEAT SF!
GO FRIARS!! KEEP THE FAITH!! RUIN EVERYTHING!!