Sitting just out of first place in the NL West and barely
outside of wild-card position, the San Francisco Giants have a mild
uphill climb to make the postseason.
Their playoff push became significantly more challenging this
With Melky Cabrera suspended for the remainder of the regular
season following a positive test for testosterone, the Giants hope
Friday night’s series opener against a San Diego Padres team they
usually beat can help get their stretch drive back on track.
About 90 minutes before the start of Wednesday’s 6-4 loss to NL
East-leading Washington, Giants manager Bruce Bochy informed his
team that Cabrera was suspended for testing positive for the banned
performance-enhancing substance, violating MLB’s joint drug
prevention and treatment program. He will miss the final 45 games
of the regular season, and either the first five games of the
postseason or of 2013.
San Francisco (64-54), which is one-half game behind first-place
Los Angeles in the division and one game out of the second
wild-card spot, is trying not to dwell on the discouraging
“We’re disappointed,” Bochy said. “Our thoughts are right now,
we move on. That’s all you can do. That’s all you can do whether
it’s an injury or something like this. This team will remain
focused on trying to win ballgames. That’s where we’re at right
now. That never changes.”
Winning will be tougher without Cabrera. He had an NL-best 159
hits before his suspension and is tied for the league lead with 84
runs, batting .346 with 11 home runs and 60 RBIs. The Giants were
7-20 in games when Cabrera, the All-Star game MVP, didn’t get a
The Giants, who upgraded at right field at the trade deadline
with the acquisition of Hunter Pence, have moved former right
fielder Gregor Blanco to left in place of Cabrera.
“We are a team. We’re trying to make the playoffs,” third
baseman Pablo Sandoval said. “We’re going to fight.”
As long as Buster Posey is behind the plate and Matt Cain (11-5,
2.99 ERA) is in the rotation, San Francisco – which has won 17 of
the last 23 meetings with the Padres (52-68) – figures to at least
Posey had led the way in nine matchups this season, batting .323
with three homers, three doubles and 10 RBIs. He is hitting .343
with four home runs and 12 RBIs in his last eight games in San
Cain made his lone start of the season series at Petco Park on
June 7, yielding three unearned runs while striking out nine in
seven innings of an 8-3 win. He improved to 2-3 with a 2.40 ERA in
his last seven games in San Diego.
The Padres return to Petco, where they’ve won four in a row and
10 of 12, after being outscored 18-1 while losing the final three
of a four-game series at Atlanta.
Chase Headley, who finished the road trip in a 4-for-20 slump,
is batting .324 with three homers and nine RBIs in his last nine
home games. He is also hitting .321 with three doubles in 28
at-bats against Cain, who gave up two runs in 7 1-3 innings of
Saturday’s 9-3 victory over Colorado.
The Padres counter with Ross Ohlendorf (4-3, 6.41), who was
tagged for seven runs in three innings of Sunday’s 11-5 loss at
The right-hander, who made his lone career start against San
Francisco in 2010, signed with San Diego in June and has enjoyed
pitching at spacious Petco, going 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in three