The math is hard. The concept is simple. Here's how the Padres can clinch a spot in the post-season on Saturday night:
Beat the Mariners at Petco Park while the Reds lose to the White Sox in Cincinnati.
That's it. That's all it would take for the Friars to get their 34th win and lock up at least a National League Wild Card spot. They still have the inside track at the automatic spot that comes with being 2nd place in the West and very likely the 4th seed in the playoffs, which means they'd host the best-of-3 first round series, but that's just icing on the cake.
Of course, the Friars can only control the game they're playing. They were planning on sending out their new ace to get it done but Mike Clevinger was scratched from the start due to biceps tightness. Instead it'll be a battle of talented rookies. Luis Patino gets the start against Justus Sheffield.
Patino will have the benefit of a red-hot Manny Machado in the lineup. Machado hit two home runs in Friday night's 6-1 win over the M's to run his hitting streak to nine games and put his name right at the top of the National League MVP conversation.
In another slight surprise (this one good, though) 1st baseman Eric Hosmer was reinstated from the injured list. Hosmer suffered a broken finger on a bunt attempt on September 7.
First pitch is set for 6:10 pm at Petco Park. The Reds get underway about two hours earlier so at some point during the game the Friars will know just how close they are to their first playoff appearance since 2006.
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