Tuesday, January 31 2023

Giants’ September race might be with D-backs, not Padres originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO — The swings this time of year are enormous and Joc Pederson knows that better than just about any player in the big leagues. In his eight previous seasons in the big leagues, Pederson was on a division-winner eight times. Now, he’s watching very faint Wild Card hopes slip away from his current team.

After a 6-5 loss to the San Diego Padres, the Giants are a season-high 8 1/2 games out of a playoff spot. They lost a winnable game to the team they’re chasing, wasting an opportunity to take a small chunk out of their deficit.

“It’s not great,” Pederson said. “It’s not great.”

That just about sums it up for a group that won 107 games last season but now is five games under .500. The Giants long ago gave up hopes of repeating as division champs, but this series presented an opportunity to take their last bit of fight directly to the Padres, who have stumbled through August after a blockbuster-filled trade deadline.

Before the game, manager Gabe Kapler talked about the Giants having a “chip and a chair.” Their stack is just about all gone, and if you wanted to ask them to get up from the table, you wouldn’t be wrong.

The Giants entered the day with a 0.8 percent chance of making the postseason, per FanGraphs, but they felt slightly better than those odds given the situation. They had Carlos Rodón and Logan Webb lined up for the first two against the Padres, but Rodón picked a bad time to have a rough time.

The Padres scored three runs in the first and two more in the fourth. Rodón was done after that inning, leaving far too big a hole for a lineup that has struggled in recent weeks but did threaten the Padres in the late innings.

Rodón said the Padres took “a really good approach” up to the plate in the early innings. Like the others who have gotten to Rodón this season — and it’s a small list — San Diego fouled off pitch after pitch and kept him from getting into a rhythm. Rodón needed 94 pitches to get his 12 outs.

“That lineup is one of the better lineups in the game and they definitely gave me a run for my money today,” he said.

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The Giants hoped Rodón could get them back on track, but he ended up taking the loss in their fifth straight defeat. Kapler is not one to make grand statements, but he acknowledged in the afternoon that the latest skid had put his team in an awful spot.

“I don’t think our chances are great by any stretch,” he said, “But I don’t think we’re dead.”

Technically, the Giants are still alive. But after Monday’s loss, they are also just one game ahead of the fourth-place Diamondbacks. They’ll be in a race in September. It just looks like it will end up being a race for third in the division.

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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