About a month ago, I brought up the topic of “Postseason Spoilers” and discussed how the Padres were in a unique position to ruin their upcoming opponents’ postseason hopes and dreams during their final 38 games. Unless you have been living under a rock (or the East Coast for that matter), San Diego has actually gone on a bit of a successful run as of late, and have definitely stuck it to some postseason hopeful teams like Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Los Angeles, over the course of their last twenty-five or so games.
While the Friars might not be mathematically eliminated at this point, at 72-78, San Diego is almost assuredly destined to be at home when the regular season comes to a close. Despite the fact that the Padres are unlikely to advance, San Diego’s opponents (Giants, Dodgers, and Brewers) over their final 12 games are all in dead heats to secure postseason berths. Thus, while some might not recognize it now, the Padres still remain players in determining the landscape of the 2012 N.L. postseason picture.
Versus San Francisco
San Diego plays San Francisco six times over the season’s final two weeks, and each series (one in San Francisco starting today and one in San Diego as the final homestand) should feature some excitement. San Diego would get the chance to avenge the “Ghosts of 2010,” and could hopefully receive a huge confidence boost heading into 2013 if they play well against a postseason bound team like the Giants. At 10 Games up on Los Angeles and in first place, San Francisco is almost assured of taking the Divisional Crown this season. But how sweet would it be for the Padres to take 3-6 games from the Giants at the end of the season to hinder their chances of clinching as quickly as possible, and to all but assure they do not achieve the National League’s best record?
Versus Los Angeles
Although they trail the Giants, right in the thick of the Wild Card race are the arch-rival Dodgers. At 77-73, Los Angeles sits only 3 Games (as of 9/20) behind the Cardinals and Brewers, and are in almost “win at all costs” mode after they began the season on such a hot streak. San Diego plays their second to last homestand of the season against the Dodgers, so hopefully Petco will be packed for the three-game set. It would make me smile to see the Dodgers sitting at home along with the Padres come October, and I am sure that many others in the San Diego area would be all smiles as well. Watching teams with gargantuan payrolls fail in October is one thing, but watching teams with gargantuan payrolls fail to make the postseason when they have been a long-standing rival of your favorite ball-club is simply tops. Because of this, of the three opponents left on San Diego’s schedule, the Dodgers are the team I hope the Padres can beat the most and prevent from making the playoffs.
At least to me, I thought Milwaukee had no realistic shot to make the postseason when I wrote my first post. Much to my chagrin however, the Brewers have played some outstanding baseball as of late, and are currently only 2.5 Games (as of 9/20) behind St. Louis for the final Wild Card berth. The Brew Crew have caught fire since September began, have passed Pittsburgh for 3rd place in the N.L. Central Division, and will close the season with a 3-game set against the Padres. At 77-72, the Brewers have thrust themselves into postseason contention and appear poised to stay in the race until the final series. It will be intriguing to watch their progress over the next two weeks and see if the season’s final series will actually mean anything in regards to postseason play. If this inevitably happens, the Padres will be the only thing standing in Milwaukee’s way as they seek to make the postseason for a second consecutive season, and for the third time in the last five.
Although it makes me sad to see the Padres on the verge of yet another losing season, all is not necessarily lost. Sure, losing seasons mean no postseason contention, and no postseason contention means the team has no big effect on the postseason races. Still, our Friars have been playing competitive baseball as of late, and still have the chance to play spoiler down the stretch and do a bit of damage. The final two weeks should be fun to watch, and I am sure all of San Diego’s players will be competing for “next season.”