Giants-Padres Preview

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

be competitive.

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