When Padre fans everywhere rang in the New Year this year, I dont know how many of us would have predicted the Padres would be playing for the NL West crown on the last day of the season? Heck, I thought I was optimistic predicting that the Padres would finish 3rd at 82-80. I am definitely glad that I was wrong.
As we enter into the last game of the year there are a few things working for and against the Padres playoff chances.
The Braves have looked dead against the Phillies the last 2 days. The Phills usually toss out guys like Halladay, Hamels, and Oswalt, but it was a just turned 23 year old rookie named Vance Worley who crushed the Braves today. With Hamels pitching tomorrow (as well as a possible few inning cameo by Oswalt) and the Braves are in trouble, meaning that even a loss and the Padres will live again.
Mojo: The Padres are riding high after winning the last 2 games
AGon: The best player on either team, he has been smashing the ball which is a great sign for the Padres.
Padres @ SF: The Padres are 7-1 this year at AT&T Park in San Fran
Sanchez: 3-1, 1.17 ERA in September including a ND against the Padres on the 10th where he tossed 5 innings of 1 hit ball.
Mat Latos: 1-4, 6.21 ERA in September including 4 straight losses. He’s our ace but many people are believing he is tired and running out of gas fast.
GAB: Gregerson has thrown in 4 straight, Adams in 5 straight, and Bell in 4 straight. Gregerson still looks perfect, but Adams struggled yesterday, and Bell has looked extremely shaky of late. I know its the last game of the season but how much do these guys have left?
Keys to the game:
Patience for the Padres… Sanchez has been one of the Giants best pitchers, but he is prone to walking people.
Small Ball: Its been the Padres game plan all year, but they are up against a pitcher who hasnt allowed more than 2 ER since Aug 24th. 1 or 2 runs might be the final as 3x a Sanchez game against the Padres has ended 1-0 (Padres are 2-1 in those games). Get em over get em in!
Latos working deep into the game: The Padres have a great bullpen but none of them are as good as Latos when he is on. Quick outs, strike one, and hitting his spots could all be keys to the game, but they are all inclusive for Latos to succeed and get the win.
And the #1 Key to the game, which will arguably be the difference between a 3 game sweep and praying the Phills win is….
Ryan Ludwick: No doubt hitting behind AGon that he will come up, probably multiple times, with runners on base. If Ludwick can drive them in, the Padres will be nearly impossible to beat. If he strikes out, pops up, and does essentially everything he did today…and it might be a very VERY low scoring game for the Padres.
GO PADRES and KEEP THE FAITH