In the series finale at AT&T Park this afternoon, the Padres will look to their most reliable starter so far this year in hopes of avoiding a sweep. Eric Stults will take the mound in his fourth start of the season. He is the only Padres pitcher to have lasted at least five innings in each of his starts this year, earning himself a 2-1 record while averaging 98 pitchers per start. In 16 total innings of work, he has collected 15 strikeouts and only issued three walks. In addition, he's had success at the plate as well this season. In his last outing, he blasted a three-run homer that helped the Padres to a 6-3 victory over the Dodgers. Stults is 4-2 all-time and 3-0 in his last three starts against the Giants and he will try to improve on that to help the Padres end their losing streak at two games and make it a happy flight back home to San Diego.
But Stults will need the rest of the lineup to get on board. Padres batters have been limited to just two runs and 10 hits in the first two games of the series in San Francisco, a complete turnaround from the explosive offense that scored 22 total runs in three games against the Dodgers last week. Last night, despite outhitting the Giants, they were unable to take advantage of baserunners, hitting 1-for-7 with RISP and failing to bring any runs home to back up a great effort from the pitching staff. Everth Cabrera was a bright spot in the lineup as he went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk and stole his fifth bag of the season. Not to mention his help on the defensive side with his parts in two double plays as well as this amazing running catch to end the inning in the 8th.
Cabrera has hit a career 2-for-8 against today's starter for the Giants, Barry Zito. The Padres have always caused some problems for Zito. He has a lifetime 4-9 record in 21 games (20 starts) versus San Diego. He's allowed 13 home runs and 114 hits in 114 1/3 total innings against them with a career 4.80 ERA. Zito is coming off a tough outing against Milwaukee last Tuesday. The Brewers roughed him up for nine runs on eight hits in only 2 2/3 innings, ending his streak of 16 starts (including three in the postseason) without recording a loss. Prior to Tuesday's game, however, he had pitched 14 scoreless innings and gone 2-0 through his first two starts of the season. He'll be looking to get back on track and complete the sweep against the Padres today.