The team that is expected to challenge the Dodgers’ domination of the National League West this season will be hosting the team that is doing so currently, when the San Francisco Giants visit the San Diego Padres for three games this weekend.
The 16-9 Giants are tied with the Dodgers atop the division standings, although almost 85 percent of the schedule is still to be played. The Padres, meanwhile, are off to an inconsistent 14-12 start, although they hold a 4-3 head-to-head edge on the Dodgers after two series.
The Giants have yet to play the Dodgers. But they have already had two series against the struggling Colorado Rockies (5-1) and Miami Marlins (3-3). The Padres, meanwhile, have played seven of their eight series to date against teams with .500 records or better — including losing two of three to the Giants in San Diego during the season’s first week.
One thing is certain, however. The Giants are a bigger threat than most observers predicted going into the season.
“I’ve said all along we can compete in this division,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said recently.
The strength of both the Giants and Padres has been pitching. The Padres lead the National League in earned run average (2.90) and WHIP (1.081). The Giants rank second in both categories with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.085 WHIP.
The series opens Friday night with a match of right-handers — the Padres’ Yu Darvish (2-1, 2.27 ERA in five starts) against the Giants’ Logan Webb (1-1, 4.03 ERA in five appearances, four starts).
Kevin Gausman was originally scheduled to start Friday, but his appearance has been pushed back to Sunday due to a slight groin issue. In the series finale, Gausman should be paired with Dinelson Lamet, who will be coming off the injured list after his first start of the year ended after 29 pitches on April 21 when recurring elbow issues sidelined him.
The 24-year-old Webb will be making his first appearance against the Padres this season. He has some mixed numbers against the Padres in the past. In three appearances (two starts), Webb has allowed only two runs to the Padres in 10 innings despite giving up 12 hits and four walks for a 1.600 WHIP and a .308 opponents’ batting average.
Webb last Sunday pitched seven scoreless innings against Miami, prompting Kapler to say, “Surprisingly I think there’s another gear …I’m sure you didn’t come out and expect me to say this about Logan.”
Darvish faced the Giants on April 6 in San Diego and held San Francisco to a run on three hits and a walk with seven strikeouts over six innings. The only run was a home run by Brandon Crawford.
The Padres, who had been struggling offensively, had 15 hits Wednesday in a 12-3 win at Arizona.
Earlier Wednesday, Padres manager Jayce Tingler said he was anticipating a breakout by the Padres’ offense.
“If the hitters are guilty of anything, it’s may be pressing and trying to do too much,” said Tingler. “It’s going to turn, it will play out over time, we’re going to have some guys heat up. The reality is, we haven’t had three or four of our cylinders firing at the same time. I know that will come. I think it’s going to happen sooner rather than later.”
–Field Level Media
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