(Cue “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas)
The Padres and Giants have followed two very different paths coming into this weekend’s final series. On September 1st, the Padres were 76-56 with a three game lead over the Giants. Now, twelve wins and fifteen loses later, the roles have been reversed and the Padres find themselves down three on October 1st. To show you what kind of month we just finished, I’ve made another graph, this one including how the Giants did:
Where the lines diverge is where the Padres began a streak in which they lost four of their last five and the Giants won four of their last five, completing the flip-flop. San Francisco is only one win from clinching the division. But how did we get here?
How did we get here, Ray?
For the season, neither team has bad a strong offense, with the Giants and Padres posting similar wOBA of .318 and .304 respectively (note: don’t forget about park factors). And in September, not much changed. Both teams stumbled but stumbled equally, with the Giants falling to .303 and the Padres to .280. Honestly before I looked this up, this is where I figured the difference came. But that’s why we crunch the numbers.
If you’re dead set on blaming the offense and are upset with the last paragraph, there is hope. Despite their team’s general struggles, the heart of San Francisco’s lineup has been doing their part. Pat Burrell (.373 wOBA), Aubrey Huff (.370), and Buster Posey (.367) have stayed hot, hitting 17 home runs between the three of them this month. As for their San Diego counterparts, Adrian Gonzalez’s September has been solid, if not to his usual standards. His .346 wOBA is second to everyone with regular at-bats, behind only the playing-out-of-his-mind Will Venable (.363). Miguel Tejada’s also doing his part (.327) but his fellow deadline darling is another story. Ryan Ludwick’s time here in San Diego has been something of a disaster–and his September wOBA of .289 is hard to swallow. Jed Hoyer recently committed to bringing Ludwick back and while I’m glad he has (Ludwick’s really battled bad luck here), I understand if you aren’t. I also understand if you’re less than pleased with Chase Headley as well. His .223 wOBA (with a .305 BABIP) is awful– it’s been a horrible end to what was an otherwise excellent season for Chase.
Pitching-wise, the Padres have the edge in FIP (3.66 to 3.74) and the Giants take the edge in ERA (3.37 to 3.41) but over the past month, the Giants’ pitchers have been unhittable (2.75 FIP and 1.78 ERA). This is due in large part to their five starters, who had a combined 2.90 FIP and 2.04 ERA. Our guys didn’t fare as well, ending up with a 3.85 FIP and 4.15 ERA. If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that we’ll avoid the Giants’ two hottest pitchers,Madison Bumgarner (1.96 FIP) and Tim Lincecum (2.18) but really, it’s more of a bronze lining at best.
The season’s not over, but it’ll take a miracle for the season to continue into next week. Against such a formidable opponent, we can only hope that our team’s October goes a bit better than their September.