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San Francisco/San Diego over 3.5 even:
As these two clubs continue to play out the string, the only motivation perhaps left is avoiding to finish the 2013 season in the NL West basement, especially for the defending 2012 champs who like most others have been marred by injuries and inefficiency all over the roster. San Francisco takes on San Diego in the second of a three game series with both clubs sporting identical 61-76 records. San Diego took yesterday's opener 4-1 despite mustering just 4 hits, though Ronny Cedeno and Chris Denorfia (.273 9 41) had two-out singles that produced a three-run second inning to put it away early.
The Giants send Madison Bumgarner (11-9 2.91) to the hill this evening who is looking for his first win in just over a month. He's lost his last 3 decisions with a 5.00 ERA and virtually receiving little in the way of run support. His last outing on Wednesday he gave up 4 runs over 5 innings in a 5-4 loss at Colorado. Bumgarner has however won 6 of his previous 7 outings against the Padres. San Diego is hitting just .248 collectively while averaging about 3.8 runs per contest. Helping to move in the Petco Park fences has helped their overall production and power numbers, however subpar pitching will make the opposition come back to bite you as brutally. Will Venable (.273 20 49) is tops on the club in HR and RBI with 14 of his long balls hit at home. Venable among others did lose lineup protection due to the success of Everth Cabrera (.283 4 31) only later resulting in a 50 game biogenesis suspension. San Diego also lost a lot of speed in Cabrera due to his 37 steals in 49 attempts (76%). Jedd Gyorko (.247 16 43) had one of his better months hitting half of his HR and driving in 18 despite hitting just .253 in August. Yonder Alonso (.281 6 45) leads the club in hitting but has missed a couple of days listed as day to day with a hand injury. Chase Headley (.240 8 36) has endured a nightmare season and was kept out of the lineup for a 6th straight game due to lower back stiffness. Alex Amarista (.265 5 29) has been getting the playing time as of late and Kyle Blanks (.253 8 34) has returned from an achilles injury.
San Diego counters with Robbie Erlin (2-2 5.97) who despite yielding just as many runs (13) as innings pitched won his last start against Arizona. Erlin gave up only a run on 6 hits over 6 IP as the Padres topped the Diamondbacks 5-1 last week at Chase Field. Erlin faces a Giants lineup who is hitting .260 overall but features a lack of power and production as evident by their 80 HR, 42 less than their opponents this evening. Free-swinging Hunter Pence, who looked attractive as deadline trade-bait to clubs desperate for power is still having a good season (.284 17 69) though the AT&T dimensions could have the upper hand on his ability to produce even more. Buster Posey (.307 14 69) leads the club in hitting but is nowhere near his 2012 MVP caliber numbers with just 25 games remaining. Truth be told there is a lot of balance in this lineup efficient wise, but a lot of potentially big innings have gone to waste by the middle and lower part of the lineup. Marco Scutaro (.296 2 28) is having a lot of success at the top of the lineup, however Angel Pagan (.261 3 24) was just activated from the 60 day DL due to a hamstring injury, and can only build on what's left of the regular season. Pablo Sandoval (.271 10 64) and Brandon Belt (.280 15 53) had big series in Colorado last week, but have been mired by slumps during critical parts of the season. Brandon Crawford (.260 8 40) got off to a fast start but is just 2 for his last 25 including a tough August which has seen his average drop some 18 points.
We get a bargain of a price here this evening in one of the NL cathedrals, but we remain optimistic that this could be a spot where 2 pitchers who haven't been at their best season wise could be vulnerable under the lights late. The Padres do have some heavier hitters in the lineup capable of producing big innings, while SF can keep stretches alive by putting together strings of hits in a park that's similar to their surroundings. We look for our 5th straight win this evening and hope we can continue a season where it seems like nothing could go wrong to tally on the left side adding to our career success. Best of luck however you play!
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