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San Diego Padres (77-84) at San Francisco Giants (87-74)
Sunday, September 28 - 4:05 PM EST
AT&T Park, San Francisco, California
Buster Posey is expected to return to the starting lineup when the playoff-bound San Francisco Giants host the San Diego Padres in Sunday’s regular-season finale. Posey has missed the last two games due to a sore back, but an MRI came back clean and he was available off the bench both days. Giants manager Bruce Bochy rested many of his regulars Saturday after his team clinched the National League's second wild card on Friday, but he said most of the starters will play in Sunday’s contest.
Brandon Crawford is hitting .371 with 16 RBIs this month for San Francisco, which will play next Wednesday’s wild-card game on the road against either St. Louis or Pittsburgh. Giants management has several difficult roster decisions to make for the wild-card contest, but rookie reliever Hunter Strickland has likely earned a spot after not allowing a run in his first nine appearances. San Diego's new general manager A.J. Preller faces a busy offseason as he works to improve the majors’ lowest-scoring team.
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FSN (San Diego), CSN Bay Area (San Francisco)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Padres LH Robbie Erlin (4-4, 4.53 ERA) vs. Giants RH Chris Heston (0-0, 0.00)
Erlin is making his second straight start in place of Tyson Ross, who was shut down due to strained muscles in his right forearm. Erlin, who missed four months earlier this season with a sore elbow, allowed two runs over four innings on Tuesday against Colorado. Posey is 4-for-9 with a home run against the 23-year-old, who 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in three career starts against the Giants.
Heston is set to make his first major league start after making two relief appearances earlier this month. The 26-year-old earned the nod following a strong season at Triple-A Fresno, where he was second in the Pacific Coast League in wins (12) and ERA (3.38). “Good for this kid. He’s had a good year,” Bochy told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We want to take a better look at him.”
1. The Padres are 60-1 when leading after six innings.
2. If the Giants win Wednesday’s wild card game, RHP Jake Peavy would likely start the NL Division Series opener at Washington.
3. San Diego RHP R.J. Alvarez has not allowed a run in his last nine appearances covering 7 1/3 innings.
PREDICTION: Giants 7, Padres 4