Friday MLB Preview: Giants at Padres

The Padres dropped the first game of this crucial four-game set and will now look to hold onto their divisional lead at Petco Park.

San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres

San Francisco moved within a game of the San Diego Padres after a 7-3 win in Thursday’s opener at Petco Park.  The Giants have a 3-9 record against the Padres this season, including a 2-4 mark at tonight’s venue.  “We’ve had some bad times against these guys, so winning the first one is big for us,” said last night’s starter Matt Cain.  Offensively, the team blasted four home runs in the spacious park, marking the first time in 61 games that San Francisco accomplished that feat.  With their seventh win in nine games, the Giants also moved within a game of Wild Card pacesetter Atlanta.  “They’re all important games…you just don’t want to put ‘do or die’ in any game,” manager Bruce Bochy stated.  The club is now 37-36 on the road this season (+300) and the total is 39-33 O/U in those contests.

Giants starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez is 10-8 with a 3.39 ERA in 29 games (28 starts) and he picked up a victory in his last outing.  In that start, he tossed seven shutout innings and scattered three hits, while walking just a single batter and collecting nine strikeouts in a 3-0 road win over the Dodgers.  The left-hander has a solid 5-4 record and 3.12 ERA in 14 starts away from the Bay Area, as opposing hitters have combined for a .205 average.  He is slated to make his 11th career start (18th appearance) and fifth start of the 2010 season versus the Padres, producing a 2-5 record and 2.84 ERA in 10 starting assignments.  Sanchez is 0-3 with a 3.08 ERA in his four starts against San Diego in 2010, receiving a total of four runs of support.

San Diego dropped last night’s contest due to starter Jon Garland allowing three of the Giants four home runs, the first time he has done so in a start since August 14, 2007.  “I got knocked around the yard,” said Garland.  “Terrible, especially to start a series.”  The Padres are in the midst of playing 16 straight, 19 of 23 and 22 of their final 33 games against NL West opponents.  So far this year, San Diego is 31-29 against divisional opponents (+80) and the total is 26-33 O/U in those games.  If the ball gets in the hands of closer Heath Bell in this series, the club will be in good hands, as he has converted each of his last 26 save opportunities and ranks second in the NL with 39 on the season.  The team has compiled a solid 26-16 mark against southpaws in 2010 (+1,120) and the total is 19-22 O/U in those contests.

Padres starting pitcher Clayton Richard is 12-6 with a 3.43 ERA in 28 starts this season and the team has dropped his last two games.  In those starts, he has allowed six runs (three earned) and 13 hits over 13.2 innings, with the offense providing just two runs of support.  The left-hander is a respectable 6-4 with a 2.85 ERA in 15 home starts, surrendering seven home runs in 94.2 frames.  In five career outings versus the Giants, Richard has compiled a 3-1 record and 3.56 ERA, including a perfect 3-0 mark and 2.05 ERA in four starts in 2010.

Bettors will be interested in knowing that the Giants are 7-1 in Sanchez’s last eight road starts and the under is 7-3 in the team’s last 10 games versus the division.  San Diego is a brilliant 9-2 in Richard’s last 11 starts against the NL West and the over is 7-2-1 in his last 10 home starts as a favorite.

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