The final game of the 2022 regular season in San Diego seems to be more important to the San Francisco Giants than to the Padres.
The immediate future of the Padres (89-72) already has been determined. They will open the National League playoffs on Friday in New York against the Mets as the No. 2 wild card. Wednesday’s game just closes the book on the regular season.
As for the Giants (80-81), they need a win to not only finish at .500 but also to end the domination of the season series by the Padres. San Diego has won its last seven games against the Giants and holds a 13-5 season edge.
“Finishing .500 is better than finishing below .500,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said.
The only problem is that the Giants used Wednesday’s scheduled starter, Alex Cobb, to pitch Tuesday night, when 14-game winner Carlos Rodon was scratched before the game with an unspecified illness.
While the Giants haven’t named a starter for their season finale, the Padres will send out right-hander Mike Clevinger (7-7, 4.33 ERA) on short rest for several innings. Clevinger started last Saturday night, holding the Chicago White Sox to one run on three hits and no walks, with three strikeouts over six innings in a win.
“We still have to determine what the roster composition looks like,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said Tuesday night.
With Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and possibly Joe Musgrove penciled in as the starters against the Mets, the Padres are looking at Sean Manaea and Clevinger as long relievers.
Manaea allowed one hit and a walk and retired the last 17 Giants he faced Tuesday night.
Over his last five appearances (three starts), Manaea has given up six runs on 13 hits and four walks, with 16 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings for a 2.75 ERA. In his two relief outings, he surrendered a run on three hits and no walks, with five strikeouts over five innings.
Clevinger’s last four starts have been a roller coaster.
He has given up 12 runs on 21 hits and five walks, with 10 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings for a 5.22 ERA. In two of those starts, he gave up one run over 11 2/3 innings. In the other two, he gave up 11 runs in nine innings. His ERA has climbed in four of his last six starts from 3.59 to 4.33.
A victory Wednesday would give the Padres 90 wins for the season, tied for the fourth-highest total in franchise history.
“You don’t ever want to say these game are meaningless,” Melvin said. “The guys are leaning on it to finish strong.”
Melvin said several decisions are still to be made on the first-round playoff roster.
“There are a couple roster spots we’re still looking at with the construction of the bench,” Melvin added. “It’s more about how many pitchers we are going to take and how many on the bench. We’re still trying to configure it. There are not many decisions to make.”
–Field Level Media