The Padres look to avoid a losing streak tonight and even up the series in San Francisco. Clayton Richard will toe the rubber in his fourth start of the season. In his most recent start, he kept the Rockies to just two hits and no runs in six innings of work. In 12 career starts against the Giants, he has a 6-5 record and 3.86 ERA. Last year he led the team with 14 wins, and he will seek his first of 2013 tonight against San Franciso.[UPDATE: Andrew Cashner will make the start in place of Richard who has flulike symptoms.]
Richard will need some better run support from the lineup at AT&T Park. In his start against the Rockies, the Padres could only score one run and he was tagged with his second straight no-decision. Our offense combined for just two runs last night in the loss. Our 5th-8th hitters, Yonder Alonso, Jedd Gyorko, Kyle Blanks, and Nick Hundley, failed to show up at the plate and went a combined 0-for-13. Chase Headley's performance was encouraging, however. He went 1-for-3 with a homer and 2 RBI last night in his second outing of the season. He's hoping to continue hitting well off Tim Lincecum tonight, against whom he's hit 7-for-20 with a couple of homers since 2010.
Like Richard, Lincecum is also coming off a no-decision. He gave up a couple of two-run home runs in the first inning on Sunday, but then settled down and tossed four shutout frames before handing the ball to the bullpen. In 19 career starts against San Diego, Lincecum is 10-5 with a 2.44 ERA. But he struggled against them last year. After winning his first start against the Padres in 2012, he was hit hard in his other three, giving up a total of 14 runs in 16 2/3 innings.
The Giants have been successful this season when getting on the board first. In the eight games where they have scored first, they are 7-1. Richard will need to keep them off the board early and then let our bullpen finish the job. Despite a few mistakes early this season, the Padres relief corps has been huge. They are second in the NL in strikeouts with 51 and have held up great under the big work load they were put under in the first week or so this season. Hopefully Richard can go deep tonight and give them some more rest while leading the team to a victory.