With the Los Angeles dominating the National League West with a 32-12 record, the numbers being put up by the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants have largely gone unnoticed.
The Padres (28-17) are currently the No. 4 seed in the playoffs. They have won four straight games and 17-5 of their last 22.
The Giants (23-21) have climbed into the No. 7 seed in the playoffs by going 15-5 over their last 20 games, including five straight wins.
Starting Thursday night in San Diego, the Padres and Giants will meet in a four-game series that is more make-or-break for the visitors. These teams will meet again for the final three games of the regular season in San Francisco.
The Padres hold a 2-1 edge in the season series, but those games were played back in July. Both teams have changed significantly since then.
“We’ve come a long ways since the first weeks of the season,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said recently. “We’ve recognized the opportunity as a team. Anything is possible.”
While the Giants only recently moved into the playoff picture, the Padres have been thinking postseason since the opening of the 60-game season.
“We know the importance of every series . . . and as the season winds down, every game,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said Wednesday night after the Padres completed a three-game sweep of the Rockies to put a serious hurt on Colorado’s playoff hopes.
Although the Padres have a 4 1/2-game lead on the Giants for the second playoff berth from the NL West, the chase isn’t over. Not only do the Giants have seven games remaining with the Padres, the Dodgers come to Petco Park for three games immediately after San Francisco departs on Sunday.
This weekend’s showdown begins Thursday in a duel of right-handers — Chris Paddack (3-4, 4.75 ERA) starting for the Padres against the Giants’ Trevor Cahill (0-0, 2.65).
This has been a tough season for Cahill, who was a Padre in 2017. He missed most of summer camp and the start of the season with a fingernail issue on his right index finger. More recently, he has been hampered by inflammation in his left hip to the point where his availability Thursday was initially in question.
Cahill has made five starts. But he has pitched only 17 innings and worked past four innings only once. He has allowed five runs on nine hits and 11 walks with 20 strikeouts in 17 innings.
Cahill didn’t face the Padres earlier this season. He has a 2-4 career record against the Padres in 12 appearances (nine starts) with a 3.54 ERA, a 1.59 WHIP and a .247 opponents’ batting average. But he has a 5-2 record at Petco Park with a 1.74 ERA in 10 appearances (nine starts).
Paddack was the Padres’ Opening Day starter as the emerging staff ace.
In his second start of the season, he allowed the Giants two runs on six hits and no walks with six strikeouts over five innings on July 29. One of the runs came on a homer by Mike Yastrzemski, one of two home runs Yastrzemski hit that day.
But Paddack has struggled recently and might not be in the rotation if the Padres make the playoffs. He is 1-4 over his last six starts, having given up 20 earned runs on 35 hits (including eight homers) and eight walks over 30 1/3 innings for a 5.93 ERA and 1.40 WHIP.
–Field Level Media