The Padres are in the playoffs. The Padres are in the playoffs.
Despite losing for the fourth time in six straight home games Sunday, San Diego clinched its first full-season playoff berth since 2006 when the Milwaukee Brewers lost. They still have work to do, however, as they begin a three-game home series against the San Francisco Giants on Monday to conclude the regular season.
Now, the Padres will partake in a baseball version of “Let’s Make A Deal.”
As it stands now, the Padres (87-72) hold a one-game lead over Philadelphia in the race for the second National League wild card berth. The second wild card will play the loser of the New York Mets-Atlanta Braves battle for the National League East title. The No. 3 wild card will play National League Central champion St. Louis.
All of the Padres’ best-of-three, first-round wild card series will be on the road. The question is, would the Padres rather open at St. Louis, which goes into the season’s final three games with a 92-67 record? Or would they rather start at the New York Mets (98-61) or the defending World Series champion Braves (100-59).
The Braves send the Mets into the No. 1 wild card spot with one more win. However, the Phillies haven’t clinched the second wild card berth. They need one more win (or Brewers loss). And since the Phillies hold a 4-3 season series edge on the Padres, they would end up with the No. 2 seed if the Phillies and Padres tie.
So, what will the Padres want to do as the series with the Giants opens Monday with right-hander Joe Musgrove (10-7, 3.03 ERA) starting for the Padres against Giants’ right-hander John Brebbia (6-2, 3.14), who will be making his 10th start as an “opener” in a season that has seen him work in 74 games, which ties him for the most in the National League.
The Padres are 11-5 thus far against the Giants thus far this season — a record that includes a pair of back-to-back series sweeps in San Francisco. The Padres hadn’t swept the Giants are their home field since 2016.
“We’d love to get back at them at their place to finish the season,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said of the Padres after the second sweep in August.
Meantime, Padres manager Bob Melvin was in a “thank you” mood during the Padres’ postgame celebration.
“Success is always more meaningful when it’s been difficult … and this has been a season of a lot of ups and downs,” Melvin said. “And it’s great to be able to share this moment at home with our fans, because they have been tremendous and behind us every step of the way.”
Melvin said he would announce his playoff plans in a couple of days, but Musgrove figures to be in line to start the decisive rubber-match of the wild-card round if the series goes three games.
Musgrove will be facing the Giants for the fifth time this season. He is 2-0 against San Francisco with a 1.30 ERA and a .151 opponents’ batting average. He has held the Giants to four runs on 14 hits and nine walks with 25 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings. The Padres are 4-0 when Musgrove starts against the Giants this season and 18-11 overall in his starts.
His career record against the Giants is 4-3 with a 3.44 ERA in 11 starts.
Brebbia worked one inning in each of his nine starts and has yet to give up a run. He has a 1.80 ERA in five relief appearances against the Padres, and in his career, he is 0-1 with a 2.81 ERA in 13 relief appearances.
–Field Level Media