SAN DIEGO -- There's too much at stake for the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night for Madison Bumgarner to be, well, Madison Bumgarner.
While their National League West title chances fade with every Los Angeles win -- the Dodgers' magic number is two -- the Giants are locked in a three-way battle for the two National League wild-card berths with the New York Mets one game ahead and the St. Louis Cardinals one-half game behind.
The Padres should be easy prey for any playoff bound team, except for the fact that San Diego has won seven of its last eight games against the Giants -- a fact that has had much to do with San Francisco's second-half plunge.
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Also, Bumgarner has not had the greatest career marks against the Padres (10-7, 3.27 ERA in 27 games and 26 starts) and at Petco Park (4-5, 3.87 ERA in 13 games and 12 starts).
On Saturday night, however, the 27-year-old left-hander attempts to become the third-youngest Giant to win 100 games.
This should be Bumgarner's game to win, unless ...
In his last start, for example, Bumgarner decided to take on the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig while apparent cruising to a victory in Los Angeles. Well, the wheels fell off that one in a loss for the Giants after Bumgarner had departed.
The Giants certainly don't need a repeat performance Saturday night, although Bumgarner has already been party to one ugly incident at Petco Park this season.
On May 18, Bumgarner stared down Wil Myers after striking out the Padres' main threat in the third inning. Myers' offense was glancing up at the video board to check the velocity and the replay. When he noticed Bumgarner's reaction, Myers said: C'mon man, don't stare me down." A benches clearing face-off ensued. Bumgarner later said: "I just wanted to be mad for a second."
Bumgarner and Myers made up later in the game when the pitcher reached first.
Now there's a rematch, and Myers is one of the few Padres holdovers from that May 18 lineup that Bumgarner faced. Two nights ago, the 25-year-old Myers was the veteran of a Padres lineup that numbered six rookies.
Bumgarner is 14-9 with a 2.57 ERA. He ranks third in the majors in ERA and strikeouts (241). Bumgarner needs four more strikeouts to pass Cy Seymour as the Giants' single-season record holder. Seymour's record of 244 has stood for 118 seasons.
Bumgarner is 2-2 with a 3.18 ERA against the Padres this season. He was 2-0 in the first half with a 1.72 ERA as the Giants beat the Padres nine straight times. He is 0-2, 4.97 in the second half.
Starting for the Padres Saturday night will be right-hander Jarred Cosart, who is 0-3 in eight starts for the Padres with a 5.45 ERA. He will be facing the Giants for the first time as a Padre.