The San Diego Padres’ surprising lead in the NL West is down to one-half game after they were swept over the weekend by one of their division rivals.
They’ve certainly had the upper hand on the team hot on their heels, however.
The Padres have taken all six meetings from San Francisco, but they’ll need to extend their streak in Monday night’s opener of a two-game set at Petco Park to stay ahead of the Giants.
Few counted on San Diego (22-15) to be a contender in the NL West, but it’s perhaps the most surprising division leader in baseball through six weeks.
The Padres wouldn’t be in first without their dominance of the Giants (21-15). San Diego has only scored 18 runs in the six meetings, but it’s held San Francisco to eight while recording a home sweep April 19-21 and winning three at AT&T Park last week.
The Padres couldn’t capitalize on the momentum of their latest sweep, however. San Diego scored four runs as it was swept by Los Angeles over the weekend, losing 1-0 Sunday despite allowing two hits.
“We’ve been on the other end of those as well,” manager Bud Black told the Padres’ official website. “We’ll keep plugging. Our guys are pitching well, but we have to get the offense going.”
The Giants bounced back quickly from their three losses to San Diego. San Francisco swept its second three-game series from Houston, outscoring the Astros 14-6 over the weekend.
“The most runs we’ve scored against (San Diego) is two runs,” Bochy told MLB.com. “You have to go out and do it; you have to find a way to win. There comes a time when the ball has to bounce our way. It shows a lot about the resiliency of this club. We were swept and then we came back. … Now we need to go to San Diego and try to grab one or two there.”
It won’t be easy to win Monday’s opener with Clayton Richard(notes) (2-2, 3.21 ERA) on the hill. The left-hander is 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA in two starts against the Giants, allowing two runs over seven innings in a 5-2 victory Wednesday.
His mound opponent should look familiar. Matt Cain(notes) (2-2, 3.38) allowed two runs over six innings at San Diego against Richard on April 19 but was wild in Wednesday’s rematch. The hard-throwing right-hander matched a career high with six walks and gave up five runs over 6 2-3 innings, dropping to 1-7 with a 3.68 ERA in 15 starts against the Padres since 2007.
“Mainly, I did a lot of things wrong,” Cain said. “That’s the reason we lost. … I take responsibility for what happened.”
One player Cain will want to watch out for is catcher Yorvit Torrealba(notes), who’s batting .397 (23 for 58) in his last 16 games against San Francisco. The former Giant is a career .367 hitter (11 for 30) with five walks against Cain.
The difficult season for San Francisco’s Mark DeRosa(notes) (.194), meanwhile, may just be getting worse. DeRosa could be headed to the disabled list with a left wrist injury that’s kept him out since May 8.