Thursday, May 13, 2010

San Diego (21-12) Vs San Francisco (18-14) Preview

San Diego (21-12) Vs San Francisco (18-14) Match Preview

San Diego (21-12) has been a surprisingly strong contender after going 75-87 last season. A 5-2 win over San Francisco (18-14) on Wednesday night gave the Padres a 2 1/2-game lead over the Giants in the NL West.

Strong play within the division has helped San Diego take an early lead. The Padres are 11-6 against NL West opponents - 5-0 versus the Giants - after going 33-39 last year.

“We’re just playing really good baseball right now, not just against the Giants,” said starter Clayton Richard(notes), who earned the win Wednesday. “When you play the way we’ve been playing, you’ll end up beating a lot of teams.”

San Diego has won nine of 12 against San Francisco.

“We have not played well against them, that’s the bottom line,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “Their pitching has shut us down and we’re making all the mistakes. They’re playing better ball than us, there’s no getting around it and we know it. We’re a better club than this. We’re just making way too many mistakes.”

San Diego is off to the second-best start in team history. The 1998 Padres - who were led by Bochy - began 22-11 and went on to win the division and reach the World Series.

San Diego catcher Yorvit Torrealba(notes), who began his career with San Francisco, is coming off a two-RBI performance but will likely be replaced by Nick Hundley(notes) due to the quick turnaround. Torrealba and Hundley have split time, handling a staff that has moved into the major league lead with a 2.69 ERA.

The Padres have a 1.57 ERA against the Giants this season.

Mat Latos(notes) (2-2, 4.19), who is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA in his last two starts, is set to take the mound for San Diego. He was particularly impressive Friday night, striking out a career-high nine and allowing two hits in eight innings of a 7-0 victory over Houston.

The 22-year-old right-hander also had a strong performance in beating the Giants 1-0 on April 20, surrendering four hits in seven innings. It was his first appearance against San Francisco.

The Giants will counter with Jonathan Sanchez(notes) (2-2, 3.00), who is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in his last two outings.

The left-hander didn’t receive a decision after allowing four runs and seven hits in seven innings of a 6-4 loss at New York on Friday night. Sanchez surrendered three home runs for the first time in 72 starts.

Sanchez is 2-3 with a 2.45 ERA in seven starts versus the Padres, getting one run or none to work with four times. He matched up with Latos last month and took the loss despite giving up one hit and one run while striking out 10 in seven innings.

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