San Francisco’s Jonathan Sanchez(notes) is confident his team will overtake San Diego for the NL West lead by the end of the weekend. To do that, the Giants must play better than they have against the Padres this season.
With Sanchez on the mound, San Francisco looks to avoid a sixth straight home loss to San Diego when the division rivals open a three-game series Friday night.
Earlier this week, the left-hander, who no-hit the Padres last season, said the Giants will sweep San Diego (67-46), which holds a 2 1/2-game lead over San Francisco.
“We’re going to beat them three times,” Sanchez told the Giants’ official website. “If we get to first place, we’re not going to look back.”
Though the Giants (66-50) just won three of four from the struggling Chicago Cubs, they’ve totaled 16 runs while losing seven of eight to the Padres this year. San Francisco was held to four runs while being swept by San Diego at home May 11-13.
The Padres, with the best record in the NL and riding a four-game winning streak after sweeping Pittsburgh at home, prefer to let their play speak for itself.
“We’re feeling good about ourselves,” said pitcher Jon Garland(notes), the winner in Thursday’s 3-0 victory over the Pirates. “We can’t get a little overexcited. We just need to go up there and continue to play the baseball we’ve been playing and let it go the way it’s going to go.”
There are 10 meetings left between the teams, including six in San Francisco.
The Giants are a different team than the one that struggled against San Diego in April and May. A big reason is the presence of veteran Pat Burrell(notes) and rookie Buster Posey(notes), neither of whom was on the roster for the first eight games with San Diego.
Posey is batting .331 with eight homers and 41 RBIs since being recalled from the minors May 29. Burrell is hitting .299 with 10 home runs and 28 RBIs in 53 games for the Giants, who acquired him after being waived by Tampa Bay.
Burrell hit two homers, including a grand slam, in an 8-7 win over the Cubs on Thursday. He has homered three times in two games and is 11 for 25 with 10 RBIs in his last seven.
The 34-year old Guillen was hitting .255 and led the Royals with 16 home runs and 62 RBI in 106 games before being designated for assignment on Aug. 5. The Giants will be Guillen’s 10th major league team.
Though Sanchez (8-7, 3.55 ERA) is 0-2 in three starts against the Padres this season, he has a 2.57 ERA in those games. The Giants have been shut out in both losses.
To help make good on his prediction, the left-hander likely will need to improve upon his outing Sunday when he allowed four runs in four innings of a 6-3 loss at Atlanta.
Though Richard is 2-0 in his last three outings overall, the left-hander looks to bounce back after he allowed five runs in 3 2-3 innings of 6-5 loss at Arizona on Saturday.
Ryan Ludwick(notes) will face the Giants for the first time in a Padres uniform. Though the former All-Star is 9 for 39 in 11 games with his new team, he homered three times and drove in five runs in the series with Pittsburgh.
He is a lifetime .311 hitter against San Francisco but is 7 for 33 at AT&T Park.