The San Diego Padres are headed to the playoffs, although they still don’t know where they will be playing next weekend.
The San Francisco Giants also have some unfinished business as they play the penultimate game of their 2022 season in San Diego on Tuesday.
With national attention focused on Aaron Judge, Albert Pujols and the wild-card races, the Giants’ late-season run went relatively unnoticed. Even with a 7-4 loss to the Padres on Monday, the Giants (80-80) are 11-3 over the past two weeks.
In fact, they weren’t officially eliminated from the National League wild-card race until Saturday.
“We’ve got an excellent shot at really finishing strong,” said Giants manager Gabe Kapler, whose team would wind up above .500 by winning its last two games.
Step one will come Tuesday night as the Giants send left-hander Carlos Rodon (14-8, 2.88 ERA) to face the Padres and left-hander Sean Manaea (7-9, 5.15).
A 15th win for Rodon would clinch at least a .500 season for the Giants.
Rodon, who threw a no-hitter for the Chicago White Sox in 2021, has had an exceptional season for the Giants with a 1.028 WHIP and a .202 opponents’ batting average. In 31 starts, Rodon has worked 178 innings, allowing 59 runs (57 earned) on 131 hits and 52 walks with 237 strikeouts.
That’s a league-leading 12.0 strikeouts per nine innings.
Rodon hasn’t been quite as dominant against the Padres (88-72). He is 1-2 with a 3.79 ERA three career starts vs. San Diego, all this season. He has a 1.158 WHIP in those games, and the Padres are batting just .177 against him.
Meanwhile, Manaea could be pitching for a spot on the Padres’ postseason roster. He is San Diego’s fifth starter and has had his turn skipped and pushed back this past month as he has struggled. Since the All-Star break, Manaea is 2-5 with a 7.19 ERA, a 1.539 WHIP and a .313 opponents’ batting average.
For his career, Manaea is 2-3 with an ERA of 3.33 in 10 starts against the Giants, including an 0-1 mark with a 4.76 ERA this season in three starts.
Padres manager Bob Melvin has discussed the composition of his roster for the three-game wild-card round. The starting pitchers look to be Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove. Melvin’s 26-man roster will be either a 14/12 or 13/13 split between position players and pitchers.
“We’re probably leaning more toward 14 position players and 12 pitchers,” Melvin said. “Again, we have to see how we get through these final three games and who is available on what days. Who is the extra starter, the extra reliever? There are a whole lot of things to consider.”
Including the immediate future of Nos. 4 and 5 starters Mike Clevinger and Manaea.
“It is important to get the pitching spots right, but you can’t forecast extra-inning games either,” Melvin said. “You can’t forecast the starter that you expect will give you seven innings and might not. So, you do the best you can with what you think the best composition is. The personnel might be different.”
Before Monday’s game, Melvin said he would use the final three games to give some of his regulars a day off. Third baseman Manny Machado, left fielder Jurickson Profar and catcher Austin Nola got Monday off.
“We’ve got to see if we can get some guys like Trent Grisham going,” Melvin said. “Grisham is going to get some at-bats against the Giants. There are some guys who we need to get going or need to evaluate.”
Grisham went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts in the series opener, ending an 0-for-25 skid with an eighth-inning double that sparked the game-deciding, seven-run rally.
–Field Level Media