It may sound like a broken record at this point, what with the usage of the word "critical," around here. Critical, crucial, and downright important are words you could use to describe every Giants series for the past couple months, but now that we've come down to it, this is the most crucial of all: the final three-game series of the season.
A homestand, against the NL West rival San Diego Padres, a team the Giants hold a three-game lead over in the division. The three game lead means the Giants need to only win one game to clinch the division, and the Padres would need to complete a three-game sweep, and then win the one-off playoff eliminator tiebreak directly after. The Padres are two games back of the wild card at the present time, as well.
Matt Cain is perhaps the Giants best pitcher at the moment, and he takes the mound tonight against the Padres. In four starts, Cain is sporting a 2.45 ERA with a 4-0 record in his last seven starts. He's allowed only two runs in his three starts and pitched a complete game against the Rockies last Sunday. In that game, he struck out eight, giving up two runs on three hits.
Cain has a losing record against the Padres overall, sporting a 5-8 record with 3.13 ERA in 22 starts against them. His last outing on September 9th was a 7-3 win, in which he gave up the three runs over eight innings.
Buster Posey, Pat Burrell and a resurgent Pablo Sandoval all have their eyes on Padre's pitcher Clayton Richard, who takes the mound tonight against the Giants. Richard isn't doing well in recent starts, going 1-4 with a 4.42 ERA in his last six outings. He lost to the Giants earlier this month, giving up only one run in a 1-0 defeat. He's 3-2 in six starts against the Giants, and is 7-3 in 15 appearances as the visitor this season. The Padres have defeated the Giants 10 of 15 times this year, including a 5-1 record at AT&T Park.
3 game series vs Padres @ AT&T Park
|Sat 10/02 - Tim Stauffer vs. Barry Zito
|1:10 PM PDT
|Sun 10/03 - Mat Latos vs. Jonathan Sanchez
|1:05 PM PDT