NL West foes will close out a crucial four-game series on Thursday afternoon when the San Diego Padres visit the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park. San Francisco leads the series 2-1 after San Diego was able to get on the board on Wednesday night with a 9-6 win to cash in as a -106 favorite. San Diego is one game behind in the NL Wild Card race at 75-70, while the Giants own the best record in baseball at 95-51.
These teams are set to meet often over the final three weeks of the year, with the Giants leading the 2021 season series 7-5 so far.
Padres offense finally comes to life in huge winIt's been a huge struggle for the Padres since the trade deadline, and they entered Wednesday night having scored a total of six runs during a five-game losing streak, but finally came to life with a huge win over the Giants. Adam Frazier broke out of his huge slump with a two-run double in the first before Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer added RBI singles an inning later, with Jurickson Profar later going deep for insurance.
How far? Profar! pic.twitter.com/OojPhxVJFj— San Diego Padres (@Padres) September 16, 2021
Joe Musgrove delivered a quality start to pick up the win, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks while striking out four. Fernando Tatis Jr. had a big game, going 4-5 with a double and two runs scored, while Frazier added four hits.
“That was a sign of who we’ve been and what we can be,” Musgrove told MLB.com. “It just feels good to be back in the win column, man. It’s been awhile.”
Few teams in baseball have been worse to bet on, as the Padres are 68-77 against the spread and down a massive amount on the money line after looking like one of the best rosters in the league heading into the year. Overs are 77-67-3 for the Padres, and five of their last seven games have gone over the betting total even with the scuffles at the plate.
The slump has dropped San Diego's numbers to 4.52 runs per game with a 0.717 team OPS, both slightly below the MLB average. San Diego's pitching staff is inside the top 10 with a 3.89 collective ERA, including a mark of 3.34 from a bullpen that has navigated a ton of injuries to still be effective.
It will likely be a bullpen day to close out the series, with Ross Detwiler the expected opener after making his Padres debut with a scoreless inning on Tuesday, allowing three hits while striking out two. The 35-year-old, who was recently DFAd by the Miami Marlins, is 2-1 with a 4.86 ERA in 47 appearances including five starts. Tatis Jr. is an NL MVP candidate with a 0.984 OPS, 35 homers, 25 steals and 92 RBI in just 113 games to lead the Padres offense.
Outfielder Jorge Ona is the only San Diego position player on the IL as he recovers from elbow surgery. The pitching staff is a far different story, as starter Chris Paddack recently went down with elbow inflammation while Blake Snell left his last start with a strained adductor, in addition to Adrian Morejon and Mike Clevinger undergoing Tommy John surgery early in the year. A whopping eight Padres relievers remain on the IL, including some important arms like Drew Pomeranz (torn flexor), Matt Strahm (knee inflammation), Keone Kela (Tommy John surgery) and Dan Altavilla (Tommy John surgery).
Giants lose ground as bullpen faltersEven a nine-game winning streak entering Wednesday wasn't enough to get much separation from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West race, and the Giants lead was trimmed to 1.5 games following the loss to the Padres. After the Giants trailed 5-1 early, Thairo Estrada, Kris Bryant, Steven Duggar and Brandon Belt all launched solo homers to make things interesting, but it wasn't enough as the pitching struggled on a bullpen day.
"IT IS OUTTA HERE" pic.twitter.com/TkjjhbcpAU— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) September 16, 2021
Dominic Leone took the loss as the opener, allowing two runs on two hits while getting just one out. Five of the seven Giants relievers that were used overall gave up at least one run. Belt had a multi-hit game and scored twice, while Bryant was on base three times.
“It’s not ideal,” manager Gabe Kapler said to MLB.com of the biweekly bullpen games as the rotation deals with injuries. “We have to make the best of it, and I think thus far we’ve been able to do that. Tonight was definitely not that. We just got beat.”
No team in baseball has been kinder to gamblers, as the Giants are 89-57 against the spread and up huge on the money line after most expected a .500 team at best entering the year. Overs are 66-75-5 for the Giants with three of their last four games going over the betting total.
San Francisco's lineup has easily exceeded preseason projections with an average of 4.95 runs per game while slugging an NL-high 218 home runs as a team. The Giants' pitching staff has also been elite with a 3.24 ERA to trail only the rival Los Angeles Dodgers for the best mark in baseball while walking an MLB-low 2.64 opposing batters per nine innings.
Opening Day starter Kevin Gausman is expected to get the nod on Thursday after beating the Chicago Cubs last weekend, allowing three runs on eight hits and no walks while racking up nine strikeouts across six innings. Gausman has slumped somewhat in the second half but is having an excellent year overall with a 14-5 record, 2.65 ERA and 201 strikeouts across 170 outings. Darin Ruf is one of several Giants veterans having a massive season at the plate with a .280/.400/.538 line, 13 homers and 41 RBI in 109 games.
The Giants are down a couple of regulars, as outfielder Alex Dickerson has a strained hamstring while second baseman Donovan Solano is in COVID protocol. Starting pitcher Johnny Cueto suffered a strained elbow near the end of August, and Alex Wood is also missing from the Giants rotation due to COVID protocol. Relievers Tyler Chatwood (COVID protocol), Dedniel Nunez (Tommy John surgery) and Sam Delaplane (Tommy John surgery) are all on the IL.
San Diego is:
- 7-20 in its last 27 games against the NL West.
- 5-16 in its last 21 road games.
Trends via Covers.com. San Francisco is:
- 5-1 in its last six games against a team with a winning record.
- 36-15 in its last 51 games overall.
- 47-23 in its last 70 home games.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This is a brutal spot for the Padres, who have completely fallen apart at the plate, are starting a veteran relief pitcher they just added as a free agent, and taking on the best team in baseball. Fading San Diego has been a profitable play since the All-Star break, and Gausman will ensure the Padres' spiral continues here.
While Gausman has not quite matched his Cy Young form of earlier in the season, he's still been good enough overall to win a lot of games with a dominant 22.4 K-BB%. The Giants provide plenty of support in other areas, as the bullpen is among the game's elite while the deep offense has taken over the NL lead with a 108 wRC+ on the season.
Detwiler was DFAd from one of baseball's worst teams for a reason as he's had a rough go as a starter with a 15.26 ERA, and the Padres offense has shown nothing lately to indicate it can keep up with the Giants. San Francisco continues to bring in massive profits for gamblers and can handle the struggling Padres easily in this matchup.
Full-Game Total Pick
While Detwiler might struggle here, the good news for the under is that he won't stick around long, and the Padres only strength right now is the bullpen with veterans like Mark Melancon, Craig Stammen and Pierce Johnson all turning in strong seasons. The Giants bullpen won't have any trouble here either, as it currently leads baseball with a 3.01 ERA and will only have to use its best arms as Gausman can typically get deep in the game.
It's been an extended slump for the Padres who have just an 80 wRC+ as a team since the start of August, as deadline acquisition Frazier has been a total bust, while even Tatis Jr. has hit the skids in September. While the Giants have a powerful offense, it's difficult to hit homers at Orcale Park, and San Diego's lineup won't get much done against a great pitching staff.