Padres-Giants Preview

The San Francisco Giants acquired Carlos Beltran prior to the

non-waiver trade deadline with hopes he could provide pop to a

scuffling offense.

Beltran is eager to show he is up to the task. The feeling is

mutual for the Giants.

Activated from the disabled list, Beltran is expected to start

for struggling San Francisco on Wednesday night against a San Diego

Padres team looking to extend its season-high winning streak to six

games.

The Giants (68-61) are 8-17 since trading for Beltran, and have

gone from leading the NL West by three games to trailing

first-place Arizona by two. Granted, Beltran has been sidelined for

much of this stretch with a strained right hand and wrist, but he

hasn’t been much of a factor when healthy, batting .239 with two

RBIs in 12 games.

“This is where I wanted to be – on a team fighting to go to the

playoffs, and we have that opportunity,” he said before Tuesday’s

game.

Out since Aug. 8, Beltran returned to Giants on Tuesday and

failed to come through in a clutch situation. With runners on first

and second and the score tied at 5 with one out in the eighth,

Beltran entered as a pinch hitter and promptly popped out to

shortstop. San Francisco went on to lose 7-5, its fourth defeat in

five games.

The Giants are last in the NL in runs with 444, and this anemic

offense victimized scheduled starter Tim Lincecum (11-10, 2.53 ERA)

in his last outing.

Lincecum has pitched brilliantly lately, giving up two runs or

fewer in each of his last eight starts, yielding one or less seven

times. He has a major league-best 1.36 ERA in 11 starts since June

23, but is 6-4, receiving one total run of support in those

defeats.

The four-time All-Star had no help Thursday against Atlanta. He

allowed a homer to Chipper Jones and four other hits over seven

innings but was saddled with a 1-0 loss.

Lincecum has faced San Diego twice over his impressive stretch

since late June. He gave up three runs and seven hits in five

innings of a 5-3 home loss to the Padres on July 4, and fared much

better in San Diego 11 days later, allowing one run and three hits

in six innings of a 6-1 victory. His 2.16 career ERA versus the

Padres is his lowest against any NL West opponent.

Like San Francisco, San Diego (60-70) also ranks near the bottom

of the NL in most offensive categories, but is starting to heat up

at the plate.

The Padres have scored 32 runs while batting .285 during five

straight wins. Kyle Blanks, who homered Tuesday, is batting .316

with three home runs and eight RBIs in the last five, while Orlando

Hudson is hitting .412 with five runs.

Hudson has had some success against Lincecum, batting .360 with

three doubles in 25 career at-bats.

The Padres counter with Tim Stauffer (8-9, 3.43), who gave up

one run and five hits in seven innings in Thursday’s 3-1 victory

over Florida. The right-hander was tagged for season worsts of nine

runs and five homers in three innings in his previous start, a 13-1

loss to Cincinnati on Aug. 13.

“I was looking forward, after that game, to getting back out on

the mound as soon as possible,” he said. “I thought I pitched the

kind of game I was capable of.”

Although Stauffer has pitched well for the most part this

season, he hasn’t been particularly sharp against the light-hitting

Giants, going 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA in two starts.