|The smile of a man whose rivals are a fluke of Diamondbacks.|
Earlier today, thanks to @grumpyowl, I learned that the collective noun for magpies is "tidings," as in: "I saw a tidings of magpies." I responded that a few, lesser-known collective nouns include:
A bar-full of writers.A murder of philosophers.*
No, seriously, look it up. You'll find support for this somewhere--probably, uh, right here. In any case, somewhere a Padres fan is trying to get "a spoiler of Padres" in The Oxford English Dictionary of Sport.** Yes, the magic number is three, and while the Padres can't prevent the Dodgers from stinking it up against the Reds this weekend, they can turn the next three games--and possibly three more in San Diego--into a mess of bloops, stolen bases and importune line drives. Maybe even a home run or two. Giants losses rather than wins. Sure, they don't have the greatest record, and you probably won't forget that part in April when they dropped six of seven against the Dodgers, but the Padres have an ax to grind. This probably has something to do with 2010, though I'm sure that this spoiler of Padres would also love to clinch a NL West rivalry with a team other than the Diamondbacks or the Rockies.
It's the Giants' job to let that lucky team be the Dodgers***--I mean, the Dodgers have Adrian Gonzalez! He's rightfully the Padres'. Right? No? Whatever?
But beating the Padres cannot be taken for granted. Since the start of August, they've gone 28-17. Since those first two series against the Dodgers, they've gone 5-2 against LA. The Giants are 8-4 against San Diego, and if you're reading this, you probably share my interest in watching at least three more wins. Chalked up as soon as possible.
Nevertheless, here's a lineup of potentially irritating Padres:
Cabrera SS, Forsythe 2B, Headley 3B, Grandal C, Alonso 1B, Guzman LF, Venable RF, Maybin CF and Kelly RHP
Especially Headley. And probably Alonso. And Carlos Quentin at some point, though each Padre has a touch of potential spoiler within him. I say let him spoil sometime between September 25th and 27th.
As far as pitching goes, while they no longer have Mat Latos--he'll face the Dodgers on Saturday--they have a starting rotation, but not with any of the guys you remember, since they've all been injured. In the bullpen they have Luke Gregerson, and they just activated Huston Street from the DL. Bud Black has commanded them to spoil, because the Padres have six more games against San Francisco, and he knows that Bruce Bochy is three games away from peppering his lineups with Pennies, Burrii, Pegueros and Pills. That's no way to play a rivalry.
* Hegel said that somewhere. I promise.
**This doesn't exist, but if it did, it would be a prescriptivist's nightmare, with adverbial/adjectival jive such as "hitting the ball good" and "thank you very nice."
***It's like adding another wild card. The Giants are the Dodgers' first rivalry (always and forever), and the Padres would be the second.