The San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres open up a crucial National League West four-games series Thursday night at Petco Park
San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres
San Francisco may lead the NL West by three games heading into the second half of the season, but the defending World Series champions are far from perfect. The Giants offense is 25th in the league with a .243 batting average, which has directly resulted into 76 of their 92 games being decided by three runs-or-less. The club of course can continue to distance itself from the competition by continuing to dominate the division, posting a 22-13 record in such contests. San Francisco has recorded a solid 27-21 record against losing opposition and is an even 24-24 away from AT&T Park.
Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner is 4-9 with a 3.87 ERA in 18 starts this season and has led the club to three consecutive victories. Over that span, the left-hander has allowed seven runs and 20 hits over 20 1/3 innings of work. He will be making his 10th road start of the year, coming in with a losing 3-4 record and 2.65 ERA. Bumgarner has made five lifetime appearances (five starts) versus the Padres, entering with a winless 0-2 mark and 3.86 ERA, including a no-decision effort last time out. He allowed five runs and nine hits in six innings of work at AT&T Park, as San Francisco captured a 6-5 win.
San Diego sits in last place in the division and is likely to become a seller heading into the trade deadline later this month. The Padres have been blanked a Major League-leading 15 times this year and have managed to scratch just a single run over the plate in 13 other instances. “Usually, what you need is to have four or five guys swinging it well at the same time,” said Padres manager Bud Black. We’ve had that sporadically, but haven’t had that enough.” With the departure of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox, the team possesses little pop in the lineup, ranking dead last in baseball with just 48 home runs. San Diego is 11-15 versus left-handed starters this year.
Padres starting pitcher Adam Harang is 7-2 with a 3.45 ERA in 14 starts this season and provided a brilliant performance in his first outing off the disabled list last time out. The right-hander threw six no-hit innings on the road in a no-decision effort against the Dodgers last time out, issuing just three walks and striking out six. Harang has been very solid at home, posting a 5-2 mark and 3.28 ERA, while holding opponents to a .255 average. In 14 career outings versus the Giants, he is an even 6-6 with a 3.40 ERA, picking up a 3-1 home victory in his season opener on April 5.
Bettors will likely back the Giants due to their 13-3 record in Bumgarner’s last 16 starts as a road underdog, while the Padres are 9-19 when opening a series