The San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants find themselves in semi-rare territory atop the National League West standings in the middle of August. Equally uncommon is the importance of this weekend’s series between the two. Giants starting pitcher, Jonathan Sanchez, took it upon himself to make sure the Padres are properly focused.
The Padres have beaten the Giants seven of the eight games played this year. Despite this, in an interview with The San Francisco Chronicle, Sanchez said of their upcoming series, “We’re going to play San Diego, and we’re going to beat them three times.”
Sanchez was wrong; almost completely. The Giants won one time. Following Sunday’s game, John Kruk, of ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, whimsically said of the Giants and the prediction, “They swept the second game.”
In the series the Padres out hit, out scored, out pitched and out performed the Giants over whom they now hold a 3.5-game lead in the West. With some fifty games remaining, the margin is not insurmountable. But, of the seven head-to-head matches remaining, four are in San Diego, and beginning with the upcoming road trip to Philadelphia and St. Louis, the Giant’s have an unfavorable schedule.
The Padres and Giants don’t meet up again until the four-game series in San Diego, September 9th. This gives Jonathan Sanchez a month and about four starts before reporters start hounding him for another prediction.
Last month in Los Angeles, against the then second place Dodgers, and now in San Francisco, the Padres are proving they can win when in counts. They are likely thus content to let others do the talking.
Christopher's articles also appear on SPORTS HAZE.