Apr 25, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Robbie Erlin (41) pitches during the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
The San Francisco Giants play host to the San Diego Padres tonight at AT&T Park, with Robbie Erlin (1-3, 6.35) going for the Padres against Tim Hudson (3-1, 2.19) of the Giants. Game time is 7:15 PM. Erlin is attempting to get back on track after beginning the season strong, he’s struggled over his past two starts. The Padres need him to have a strong outing to stay within striking distance of the Giants.
San Francisco currently holds first place in the NL West at 16-11. The Padres sit in fourth place at 13-15, but are only 3 1/2 games back of the Giants.
The Padres look to get back in the win column, after taking the last game of the Washington series on Sunday, then beating the Giants 6-4, before being shut out in last night’s contest. A win tonight would mean a series win for the Padres, who have not won a series on the road against the Giants since 2010.
San Diego’s defeat last night was disappointing, as the Padres were looking to make a serious dent in the Giants’ hold on first place in the NL West. The loss set them back, and even with a win on Wednesday, the best the Friars can hope for is to leave town down only 2 1/2 games in the standings.
The Giants’ scheduled starter, Matt Cain was a late scratch due to a cut on his index finger, and Yusmeiro Petit picked up the torch and dominated the lackluster offense the Padres continue to display early in 2014. San Francisco jumped on Eric Stults early, and didn’t let him off the mat, having allowed 5 earned runs in only 2 2/3 innings work. A five-run lead to the Padres might as well be a 10-run lead thus far in the season. The San Diego bats were held to just three hits, one of which came from a relief pitcher.
The Padres have played more games decided by 2 runs or fewer than any team in the big leagues this year, and have an 11-7 record in those games. Back to the anemic bats, if the Pads score first, they have a record of 11-0 in 2014, and are five games under .500 when they don’t, coming in at 5-10.
Erlin knows that he is going to have to be on top of his game in tonight’s start, especially with the Giants being a right-hand-heavy lineup:
"It’s a good lineup,” Erlin told Joe Popely of MLB.com. “Definitely have to keep the ball down and mix it up — mix up speeds, mix up locations. They’re a good lineup. There’s a lot of right-handed bats, so you just got to take it as it goes and throw to situations.”"
Erlin struggled against the Washington Nationals this past Friday, pitching 5 1/3 innings, while allowing 13 hits. Needless to say, that wasn’t his best outing of the season. Erlin added: “Been getting a lot of good work in in between starts and feel like I’m definitely improving every time. Last one was definitely a rough one. Got some room to improve, see what we go out there and do…”