San Francisco is looking to clinch a playoff spot pretty soon. Thanks to a late-season downward spiral by the Dodgers (which has been super fun to follow, by the way), the Giants have a 10-game lead in the NL West and have cut their magic number down to three. However they could potentially lock up the division as early as tomorrow. So our Padres take the field at AT&T Park this weekend to do what they do best: Ruin. Everything.
Tonight our boys will start the series by facing Ryan Vogelsong, which is good because he has been the lone weak spot in the Giants rotation lately. Over his first 21 starts this season, he upheld an NL-leading 2.27 ERA. But over his last seven outings, he's racked up a 10.31 ERA. In that span, he has had four starts that lasted 3 1/3 innings or less. One of those starts was against San Diego. He gave up three runs on eight hits in just three innings of work. Vogelsong is 1-3 with a 7.47 ERA all-time against our Padres.
The Giants are coming off a four-game sweep of the Rockies. Pablo Sandoval went 8-for-16 during the series, homering three times and driving in seven runs. This was after he went 131 at-bats without hitting a home run. He hit one out of the park on Wednesday and last night had the fifth multi-homer game of his career.
Hopefully Casey Kelly can find a way to keep the ball in the park tonight and keep the Giants off the board. Kelly will make his fifth major league start, and first ever start against the Giants, tonight in San Francisco. He last pitched against Colorado on Saturday, earning the win to rebound from a couple of rough outings in a row. He kept the Rockies to three runs (two earned) on seven hits in six innings of work. He had held them scoreless for all six innings before allowing all three runs in the 7th without recording an out. Thankfully the bullpen was able to come in and stop the bleeding at that point, allowing our Padres to record the victory. That game marked the second straight start in which Kelly didn't issue a walk.
Our Padres are coming off a narrow win that prevented a sweep by the Diamondbacks. It was just the second time in ten series where we didn't come out with the series victory, and the first time since the end of August / beginning of September. However, we are still one of the hottest teams in baseball right now and third place is still well within our reach. We've won 10 of our last 14 games and have done a great job of playing spoiler this past month. Chase Headley got his 105th RBI yesterday to tie Ryan Braun for the National League lead in that category. Our lineup ranks 6th in the NL in runs scored over the last seven days, and it has the 4th best OPS in the NL for the month of September. Again, third place in the division is still a reasonable goal to attain here in this last week and a half of the regular season. And of course there is still that tiny glimmer of hope for that second Wild Card spot, which was brightened by a Cardinals loss this afternoon. And hopefully our Padres can follow that up with a victory tonight.