The Giants head into the weekend games 2.5 games behind the Dodgers for the NL West title with a game in hand.Â They are two games up on Pittsburgh and 5.5 up on fading Milwaukee for one of the two wild card berths.Â Meanwhile San Diego hasn’t had anything to play for in weeks.
This one should be a no-brainer you say?Â Not so fast.Â The Giants send converted reliever Yusmeiro Petit to the bump.Â Petit, 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA in 4 2014 starts, faces hard luck Andrew Cashner, who is 4-7 in 2014 (albeit with a 2.20 ERA, such is the San Diego offense) but 2-1 with a 1.85 ERA in five starts since coming off the DL.
Cashner has enjoyed pretty good success against most of the Giant batters in his career.Â Hunter Pence, such a key part of the Giants attack, is 1-12 in his career against Cashner.Â The one Giant who gives Cashner trouble is Buster Posey, who is 5-12 with two homers against him.Â Posey is also on a roll, and against a weak San Diego offense one home run might be enough.Â Still, if Cashner can deal with him, he has a good shot at the W.
Given that Petit is a reliever, no Padre hitter has an extensive history against him, though Seth Smith does have a home run in three at bats.Â Will Venable is 0-5.
In weighing a reliever getting stretched as a starter and at risk of fatigue against a healing, wanna-be ace with something to prove, I’ll take the Padres at home.