Ahead of the second Giants vs Padres series of the 2021 season, San Francisco leads the National League West. The Giants have the best record in the NL. San Diego has played some electrifying baseball, but they are 2.5 back in the division.
The Giants won two of three when these teams met a few weeks ago. Fernando Tatis was injured, however, and the shortstop phenom is back in fine form for this three-game set. Tatis lit up the Dodgers, and has reasserted his place in the NL MVP race.
San Diego is still the stronger team on paper. They are the ones with a real shot at the World Series. The Giants have benefited from a favorable schedule, but putting up wins is of value, regardless the opponent. San Francisco is in the mix early on, and they go into a difficult run knowing this is a chance to prove their credentials. They have already improved their playoff chances.
Baseball Reference puts the Padres at over 71% to make the postseason. The Giants are up at almost 50%, a massive increase from Opening Day.
Pretty productive off day 👀 pic.twitter.com/GtVVgR5H7e
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) April 30, 2021
A look over the rosters still points to San Diego when these teams matchup.
Giants vs Padres preview
The post-prime veterans of San Francisco hold no comparison to Tatis and Manny Machado. The names in the Giants rotation cannot matchup with the breakout of Joe Musgrove, the excellence of Yu Darvish and pedigree of Blake Snell. Don’t take these Giants starters lightly, though.
The Giants rotation leads baseball in ERA. Only the Dodgers and Mets starters have accumulated more fWAR. Logan Webb, Anthony DeSclafani and Kevin Gausman are not the biggest names, but all have pitched well early in the year. Webb is the least reliable of the trio, and how he gets this series up and running will be fascinating. Gabe Kapler would have loved to have Alex Wood on the mound.
Below are the Giants vs Padres pitching matchups for the upcoming series. For comparison, the Padres are fifth in starter ERA.
Giants vs Padres pitching matchups
- April 30th – Logan Webb vs Yu Darvish
- May 1st – Anthony DeSclafani vs Blake Snell
- May 2nd – Kevin Gausman vs Joe Musgrove (probable)
San Francisco faces the front of the Padres’ new-look rotation. Joe Musgrove is in line for the Sunday start, though it’s possible Dinelson Lamet takes the mound as he returns from injury.
Snell is still searching for some consistency, and these Giants could be the ideal lineup to do that against. The San Francisco bats are still relatively cold. Darvish has been as advertised, and Musgrove is enjoying a spectacular season, obviously capped off by a no-no.
Joe Musgrove's 13Ks from Last Night.
Complete filth. 😷 [And…none were on Fastballs.] pic.twitter.com/5rdWZQw92l
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 20, 2021
For the Giants arms, this is their greatest test so far. Shutting down the Rockies and Marlins is one thing. Keeping this Friars lineup quiet is a must sterner task – mistakes will be punished in a way other teams have not managed to do.
National League West standings impact
Much like the Kansas City Royals in the AL Central, the Giants are at a pivotal juncture. Early season overachievement can become legitimate postseason contention over the coming weeks. Slump to a series loss, or even a sweep, and the Giants will be pulled back into the pack. Extend their lead over the Padres, and Kapler and co will be rightly optimistic given how many winnable series they have to come.
However these games go, the Padres will still be expected to finish above the Giants. There’s no rush to close the gap, but losing the series would be an obvious blow, even with series against the Pirates and Rockies to come.
This Giants vs Padres matchup will not get the attention of Padres vs Dodgers or even Giants vs Dodgers. The reasons for that are obvious and understandable.
Still, though, these are a big few days in the NL West, and particularly so for the San Francisco Giants.