When the San Diego Padres beat the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night, they guaranteed that the three-game series against the San Francisco Giants to end the year would be meaningful.

Exactly how meaningful remains to be seen, as the Giants continue to play good baseball.

With their own victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, the good guys maintained their two-game lead on the Friars in the loss column.

Should the Gents win again on Thursday, they’ll ensure that only a sweep would prevent them from reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2003 regardless of what the Fathers do in their finale with the Lovable Losers.

But, should SF lose and SD win, then the intensity for that final weekend will be unlike anything the City has witnessed around a diamond for almost a decade. Only a game would separate the clubs in that scenario.

Granted, the Atlanta Braves could kill all the suspense because they’re only one game ahead of the Pads in the loss column. The Bravos will face the Philadelphia Phillies while the National League West front-runners are renewing hostilities.

Nevertheless, the eyes of Major League Baseball will be on AT&T Park from Friday until Sunday as one of the two remaining pennants up for grabs gets decided by the two teams fighting over the flag.

What they’ll see is San Francisco charge into the playoffs for these 10 reasons (in no particular order).

And, yes, I’m knocking on wood as I type each paragraph…

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