AT&T Park, San Francisco, CA
The San Francisco Giants are coming off of a productive series against their rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, taking three out of four in San Francisco. They have been playing much better of late, winning seven of their last ten with an 8-6 record at AT&T Park.
The San Diego Padres will look to get things straightened out after losing nine of their last 12, dating back to the series win against the Giants on 04/12-04/15, where the Padres won three of four at Petco Park.
Since July 15, 2016, the Padres have had the Giants’ number, beating them 23 times in 33 tries.
The Padres hope to continue that trend as they travel north to play in San Francisco for the first time this season.
Eric Lauer is the Padres 12th-ranked prospect on MLB.com. He will take the ball in game 1 for his second Major League start. The conditions were not exactly ideal for the young left-hander in his first outing at Coors Field in Colorado. He will look to make the necessary adjustments in a much friendlier park for pitchers.
Jeff Samardzija started the season on the disabled list for the Giants with a pectoral strain. His first outing against the Anaheim Angels went well, but the veteran right-hander was roughed up in his second start against the Washington Nationals, giving up six earned runs in four innings while only striking out three batters.
Tyson Ross has shown flashes of brilliance early in the season for the San Diego Padres. The veteran pitcher will look to build on a good start to his season, where in three of his six starts, Ross has struck out a minimum of seven batters while minimizing the long ball, allowing only two in 29.2 innings for the Padres.
Suarez is supposed to be the pitcher for the Giants in game 2. The 10th-ranked prospect in the Giants organization will be on the hill for the Giants in his second spot start of the season to keep the pitching staff on their usual. The left-hander went five innings, allowing four earned runs in his first start for San Francisco.
Clayton Richard’s last outing was arguably his best since his Opening Day start against the Milwaukee Brewers. The left-hander went 6.2 innings, allowing three runs, with two of those coming after he left the game. In his first match-up against the Giants and Holland, Richard did earn his first win of the season. He will look to do the same in the series finale.
Derek Holland has been an interesting case for the Giants. The veteran pitcher has seen his velocity creep back up to what it used to be, touching 93 in his last start against the Dodgers, but he could not seem to find the strike zone, throwing only 57% of his pitches for strikes, and he had to be removed in the fourth inning. The Giants will hope he can figure it out to close out the series against the Friars.
Hitters to Watch:
Christian Villanueva (SD): Although the Padres’ third baseman just had his 11-game hit streak snap, he will look to start a new one against the Giants, who will send two lefties to the hill in this series. The rookie is hitting .481 against lefties on the season with seven of his eight home runs coming against southpaws.
Eric Hosmer (SD): Hosmer has been on a tear in his last seven games; hitting .538 with a 1.392 OPS while only striking out twice. He will look to continue the trend against the Giants.
Jose Pirela (SD): Pirela is hitting .324 this season against left-handed pitchers. Combine that with a .300 average in his career against the Giants, and this may be a recipe for success.
Brandon Belt (SF): Belt recently made the news for his 21-pitch at-bat against the Anaheim Angels. As impressive as that is, the rest of his game has been just as good recently, with a .517 OBP in his last seven games, Belt will look to stay hot at home.
Buster Posey (SF): Posey has been a Padres killer in his career, hitting .303 with 19 home runs and 81 RBI. The veteran catcher is well known for his bat and will be a tough out for the Padres.
Evan Longoria (SD): Longoria has not been a version of his old self to start the season. The ex-all-star, who was acquired in the off-season by the Giants, has started out slow, but his average against left-handers is .300 this year. With the Padres sending two lefties to the hill this series, it may be what Longoria needs to get back on track.
Since he was a little kid he wanted to be one of those guys at the game who had the headset on, listening to the Colonel and Uncle Teddy, he has grown out of that, but the love is still there. Padres’ coverage will be biased at times, but mostly an honest dissection of the team he loves.