I just looked at the first NL game tomorrow with playoff implications; now it’s time to see what the Padres/Giants game has in store.
Normally, I’d do a complex breakdown of batters and pitchers and such, but here’s the deal: it’s really whoever blinks first.
Pretty much every time I’ve previewed a Latos game this year, I’ve essentially said “Yeah, he’s got all the weapons he needs to get anyone out.” And he does. But September hasn’t been kind to the righty, who’s running out of gas in his first full season and has had his composure called into question.
Sanchez has had similar questions dog him for years, but like Latos, when he’s on, you’re not touching him. The man has a no-hitter to his credit, after all. And while he’s a notch below Latos in the stuff department, he also faces an easier lineup which is particularly soft against lefties and fastball-oriented pitchers, of which Sanchez is both.
I don’t usually resort to cliches or intangible talk, but I can’t help but feel this is really going to be a mental game, and the outcome depends on which versions of Latos and Sanchez show up. If both are all over the place, it’s a shootout. If both are locked in, we’re looking at 0-0 in the eighth, and a battle of the bullpens. If one’s there and the other isn’t, it could be over fast.
Speaking of the bullpens, it’s important to note that the Padres’ bullpen triumvirate of doom–Gregerson/Adams/Bell–has now worked in two straight games, so they could be at something less than full strength tomorrow. It’s certainly something to bite your nails about if it’s 1-0 in the seventh. On one hand, it’d be freaky to have a tired Adams out there in the 8th, but how much would you sweat watching Ed Mujica pitch those crucial at-bats? So, don’t party until the fat lady has finished her warmups.
Best of luck to the Padres tomorrow; hopefully, this won’t be the last game preview I write this year.