Losing two of three to the team they’re chasing in the NL West race has dramatically increased the pressure on the San Francisco Giants.
Capitalizing on a seemingly favorable schedule before facing that team again would be the only way to change that.
San Francisco (73-67) slipped seven games back of first-place Arizona with 22 contests remaining after losing two of three to the Diamondbacks over the weekend.
“We’re still breathing. We’re hanging by a thread,” manager Bruce Bochy said after Sunday’s 4-1 defeat. “We know we’re running out of time, there’s no question about that. I thought it was critical we take the series. We all know it. We didn’t.”
The Giants will visit Arizona for a final three-game set later this month. Before then, they’ll likely need to win most of the next 16 games and get some help in order to remain in the race.
In that stretch, San Francisco faces San Diego (61-79) and Los Angeles six times each and has a four-game set at Colorado. All three division rivals own losing records.
Last year, the Giants won 20 of their final 30 games to erase a five-game gap and overtake the Padres in the division chase before going on to win the World Series.
This time, they realize the task is much more daunting.
Bumgarner (9-12, 3.43 ERA) is a good candidate to help San Francisco bounce back after winning his last two starts while allowing one run in 14 1-3 innings.
The left-hander was superb Wednesday, tying his career high of 11 strikeouts while allowing two hits in eight innings of a 4-0 home win over Chicago.
He’s 0-2 with a 4.35 ERA in his past five road starts, however, and 0-2 with a 3.67 ERA in six career starts versus San Diego.
Carlos Beltran(notes) went 8 for 11 with four extra-base hits, including one homer, while driving in three runs over the weekend against Arizona. He sparked a 2-1 win in the last meeting with the Padres on Aug. 24, going 2 for 4 with a solo homer off Monday’s scheduled starter Tim Stauffer(notes).
The Giants have won six of eight against the Padres.
Stauffer (8-11, 3.76) is looking to redeem himself after imploding in his shortest start of the season during Tuesday’s 8-5 defeat at Los Angeles. He was pulled with two outs in the second after surrendering seven runs in the inning and walking a career-high seven in the outing, with his six walks in the second alone setting a franchise mark.
“He was trying to throw strikes. It just didn’t happen,” manager Bud Black said.
Stauffer was charged with the loss to the Giants on Aug. 24, but he didn’t walk any while allowing two runs in six innings. He’s won three of four home meetings with San Francisco, losing the most recent April 6 after giving up four runs and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings.
The Padres ended a nine-game slide with Sunday’s 7-2 win over Colorado.