There is no longer a path — hypothetical, mathematical or otherwise — for the Giants to reach the postseason this season.
Although their tragic number at one in the MLB standings, San Francisco’s 80th loss clinches the club’s fate: for the sixth time in the past seven years, the Giants won’t play in the postseason. The Giants now need to win each of their last four games to finish above .500 on the season.
Juan Soto launched two home runs — one against opener John Brebbia and another against rookie Ryan Walker — and Seth Lugo came one out away from his first career complete game to hand the Giants (78-80) a 4-0 defeat.
Brebbia opened the game, serving up a solo home run to Soto before exiting after four outs. When Gabe Kapler reached the mound to summon Alex Wood from the bullpen, he and Brebbia exchanged goofy pleasantries consistent with Brebbia’s idiosyncratic persona.
The Soto home run, the outfielder’s 34th of the year, came on a poorly located slider over the middle from Brebbia. The Giants weren’t planning on starting Brebbia, but top prospect Kyle Harrison (illness) got scratched 30 minutes before first pitch.
Shortly after Wood relieved Brebbia, the Giants lost one starter. J.D. Davis left the game in the third inning after getting shaken up in the first when he tried to slide into third base. Davis held his strained left shoulder and got replaced at third by utility player Tyler Fitzgerald.
That was a physical issue, but mental ones accumulated in the third frame. Rookie shortstop Marco Luciano appeared to forget how many outs there were when he opted against trying to turn a double play. Then Fitzgerald didn’t cover third base, allowing Xander Bogaerts to steal third unimpeded.
Wood still escaped from the inning having allowed only one run, but the miscues forced him to throw unnecessary pitches. Yet the lefty rebounded, dealing 4.2 scoreless innings. Although he walked three, the southpaw routinely danced out of traffic on the base paths with timely strikeouts.
A night before, the Giants faced a slim deficit akin to the 2-0 score Wood held the Padres at. Marco Luciano ripped a key double and Michael Conforto poked the go-ahead hit in a Giants win, rewarding Logan Webb’s complete game masterpiece.
This time, the Giants struggled to even put the ball in play forcefully. Seth Lugo struck out seven Giants, including three who went down looking at fastballs. San Francisco earned just five base runners against Lugo all game, on three hits and three walks.
Meanwhile, Soto’s second homer — an opposite field shot off rookie Ryan Walker — put San Diego up 4-0.
Given the Padres’ desire to reduce their payroll, rumors about them possibly trading Soto in the offseason are bound to surface. The Giants, in need of star power and middle-of-the-order thump, got a first-hand look at what the 24-year-old hitting prodigy might look like in Oracle Park.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the Giants were one loss away from mathematical elimination. Because the best they can possibly finish is 82-80, and Chicago owns the tiebreaker, they have been officially eliminated.