The Padres complete the home portion of the regular season Wednesday afternoon hoping to clinch the right to open the playoffs at home in San Diego.
Right-hander Mike Clevinger (3-2, 3.10 ERA) will start for the Padres against right-hander Jaime Barria (1-0, 3.26) of the Los Angeles Angels, who still retain a playoff shot.
The 34-21 Padres have clinched the No. 2 playoff berth in the National League West. What they are still playing for is the No. 4 seed — and the home-field advantage — in the first round of the National League playoffs. Their magic number for the No. 4 seed is two, with competition provided by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Meanwhile, the 25-31 Angels cling to the slimmest of playoff hopes. The Angels moved past Seattle into third in the American League West Tuesday night. But they trail two teams — Houston for second in the division and Toronto for the eighth and final berth — by 3 1/2 games in the playoff hunt with only four games remaining. The Angels’ elimination number is down to two. Even after Tuesday night’s win, the Angels are just 9-16 on the road … with only road games remaining.
The home field at Petco Park has been quite an advantage for the Padres this season, although they have lost four of their last six games at home.
Overall, the Padres are 21-10 at Petco Park — a mark that includes three extra games against the Mariners when last weekend’s three games scheduled for Seattle were shifted to San Diego due to poor air quality in the Pacific Northwest.
Padres manager Jayce Tingler decided to start Clevinger in Wednesday’s game after he threw a bullpen session on Monday’s day off. Clevinger had experienced some biceps soreness after his last start. It will be Clevinger’s final tuneup before the playoffs.
Clevinger is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts since being acquired from Cleveland at the trading deadline. His first outing as a Padre was at Anaheim Stadium on Sept. 3. He allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk with two strikeouts in six innings to be charged with the loss. In his most recent outing, Clevinger allowed two hits in a seven-inning complete game in the first half of a Sept. 18 doubleheader against the Giants.
Tingler already has the Padres in semi-playoff mode. Three recent returnees from the disabled list — first baseman Eric Hosmer, left fielder Tommy Pham and relief pitcher Austin Adams — all played Tuesday night.
“That’s a plus for them going forward,” said Tingler.
Adams made his first appearance as a Padre and gave up a hit and a walk before striking out two in a scoreless inning.
The Padres offense has been in a bit of a funk.
“Before tonight, I could feel the group pressing a little . . . wanting it a little too much,” Tingler said, which is headed to the postseason for the first time since 2006. “We had better at-bats early (Tuesday night). But Griffin Canning got us out of whack and the strikeouts began mounting up.”
Barria is a 6-foot-1, 24-year-old Panamanian who is in his third Major League season. In fact, he faced the Padres once before in a 2018 start, allowing one run on six hits and a walk with seven strikeouts over five innings to earn the win. This season, Barria has made six appearances with four starts. He has given up 11 runs on 24 hits and nine walks with 27 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings. He has a 1.088 WHIP with a .214 opponents’ batting average.
–Field Level Media