With one goal accomplished, the San Francisco Giants can turn their attention to two more as they continue a four-game home streak against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.
The Giants (94-50) became the first majors team to land a playoff berth this year, beating the Padres 9-1 in Game 1 of the series.
The victory secured San Francisco, which has the best record in baseball, no worse than a wild card spot in the National League playoffs.
On an eight-game winning streak, the Giants are still battling for two other highly regarded postseason positions: the NL West title, which would allow them to avoid potential wildcard play and the best major league record, which would give them an edge on the field throughout the playoffs.
San Francisco currently has the upper hand in every chase. The Giants are 2.5 games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers (92-53) in both races, with the Milwaukee Brewers (89-55) and Tampa Bay Rays (89-55) leading the ‘AL East. the two five games behind.
Even with just 18 games to go and each potentially having meaning, Giants manager Gabe Kapler gave his guys the go-ahead to celebrate following Monday’s win.
“I think it’s great to take a step back and recognize that we’ve accomplished something special,” he said. “We have a long way to go and a lot of work to do, but what they have accomplished so far is worth celebrating.”
Despite four consecutive defeats, the Padres (74-69) still find themselves at the heart of the NL wild card race. San Diego and the St. Louis Cardinals (74-69) are each behind Cincinnati (75-69) by half a game in the race for second place in the NL wild card, with the Philadelphia Phillies (72- 71) just 2 1/2 games behind the Reds.
The Padres lost more than ground in the standings on Monday when they had to put one of their best pitchers, Chris Paddack, on the injured list due to an inflammation in his right elbow.
“The best thing, we thought, is to give him nine or 10 days off and see where we’re at,” San Diego manager Jayce Tingler said of the move. “(We’ll see) if he can start when we get back (home) for this series from San Francisco (next week).”
Tuesday’s Giants-Padres rematch will be a duel between former NL Central fighters Anthony DeSclafani (11-6, 3.33 ERA) of the Giants and Jake Arrieta (5-12, 7.04) of the Padres.
DeSclafani, who started five seasons for the Reds, and Arrieta, who was on the Chicago Cubs’ starting squad for six seasons, will face off for the third time. They split their decisions in 2015, with the DeSclafani Reds winning 3-2 on April 14 before the Arrieta Cubs turning things around 12 days later with a 5-2 victory.
DeSclafani hasn’t earned a win in three starts against the Padres this season, allowing seven runs in 16 1/3 innings (3.86 ERA). The Giants have won two of the three games.
The 31-year-old right-hander is 1-1 in his career against the Padres with a 2.90 ERA in seven starts.
Arrieta faced the Giants while still with the Cubs earlier this season, bombed for six runs in two innings in an 8-5 loss on June 4. He gave Steven Duggar a two-run homerun and Alex Dickerson a three-runner in the beating.
The 35-year-old right-hander will make his 12th career start against the Giants, after going 5-4 with a 3.98 ERA in the top 11.
– Field level media