Padres Fail to Bring Giants Down From Perch

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May 17, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres first baseman Wil Myers (4) and San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) talk during the ninth inning after Bumgarner reached first on a walk at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
May 17, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres first baseman Wil Myers (4) and San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) talk during the ninth inning after Bumgarner reached first on a walk at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Padres looked futile offensively against some great San Francisco pitching in the second sweep by the Giants against the Padres this season.

The Padres pitching matched up well in the three game set, allowing 5 runs in the first game, just 2 in the second and 3 in the third. Problem is they ran into complete games from Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto in the first two games and Jeff Samardzija going 8 in the third. The Padres managed exactly one run in all three games as well. Consistency?

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With the three game sweep, the Padres are now 7.5 games behind the Giants in the West, who to their credit have won 8 straight to build their own 3.5 game lead over the Dodgers and Rockies who are tied for second place.

James Shields threw another quality start Thursday night and has now lowered his ERA to 3.07 despite a record of 2-6. He had to work around base runners as he allowed 9 hits in his 6 2/3 innings of work but struck out 7 and allowed one run, but it was just a solo shot.

For the Padres, they are still struggling just to get base runners. They tallied 13 hits in the three game set and got more bad news that second baseman Cory Spangenberg has hit a setback in his rehab. Alexi Amarista did return this week and picked up a hit and RBI in Thursday’s loss.

The frustrating part is that there isn’t that much of a difference between how the Giants and Padres are playing this season. The Giants have their impact players in Buster Posey and Hunter Pence. Padres counter with Matt Kemp and Wil Myers. Both teams have bullpens that have found their niches and pitched well this series. The Giants though have one pretty big difference: history.

The Giants of course expect to sweep the Padres in a series like this and establish their NL West dominance. They’ve done it 3 of the past 6 seasons and in another “even” year. Madison Bumgarner stared Wil Myers down in the first game and Myers cowered behind the safety of the umpire. Later as Bumgarner walked to first base Myers didn’t face the issue but didn’t hold the pitcher on or make any contact. Later Bumgarner said “he just needed to get mad” about something to pitch better. Mission accomplished.

James Shields was that guy when he came to the Royals three seasons ago, and the Padres hoped he would bring that mindset to the Padres. Instead his struggles keeping the ball in the ballpark has hindered his ability to stare down a Buster Posey and win the staring contest. Swagger does a long way.

Next: Padres Struggling for Attendance

Now the Dodgers come to town, struggling themselves at 21-21 and Yasiel Puig – who many expected to be their vocal leader, isn’t doing so well himself. He’s hitting just .235 with 4 HR, though by all accounts hitting the cut-off man more often. Adrian Gonzalez has never been the vocal leader and needs a Puig or Phil Nevin to take that mantle. Leading by example is one thing, but it isn’t what teams look for when they need a spark. The Dodgers should not be at .500.

The Padres have a golden opportunity to send a message and get revenge for the opening week blanking. Can they do it? Matt Kemp has hit very well against his former team this year and last – look for him to take a leading role in making sure the Padres win this series and get back out of the cellar in the NL West.

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