The Giants return to San Francisco feeling good about a successful road trip, and admit things will be looking even better if they can take advantage of a home heavy portion of their schedule.
They seem to have a good shot of starting things off on a positive note with Ryan Vogelsong taking the ball in the first game.The NL West-leading Giants look to win their eighth straight at AT&T Park behind Vogelsong in Monday's night's series opener with the San Diego Padres.San Francisco (53-42) took two of three in Atlanta and Philadelphia to return home with a 1 1/2-game division lead over Los Angeles."We're getting contributions from one through nine, which is why we had a good trip," Buster Posey said after Sunday's 4-3, 12-inning loss to the Phillies.Posey has been the biggest contributor to the offense, batting .517 with 11 RBIs in his last seven games.Fellow All-Star Melky Cabrera has also been no slouch, hitting safely in 14 of 15 games this month, batting .383 with three homers and 11 RBIs.San Francisco now looks forward to a 10-game homestand, and plays 16 of 23 at AT&T Park, where it's 29-16 -- tied for the majors' second-best home record. The Giants have won eight of their last 10 home games with the Padres but San Diego is 7-1 in its last eight on the road, averaging 6.7 runs in those victories."If we come out on top on this homestand and hit August running, it'll be a positive thing for this team," reliever Jeremy Affeldt told the Giants' official website.Vogelsong (7-4, 2.31 ERA) pitching twice on the homestand would seem to bode well for San Francisco. He has a 1.43 ERA in nine games at AT&T Park, and the Giants have won his last seven there since a loss to Miami on May 3.In Atlanta on Wednesday, the right-hander gave up a run and four hits while striking out seven in a 9-4, 11-inning win. He owns the majors' fourth-best ERA, but also has baseball's third-worst run support average at 3.16.Vogelsong has made 45 starts for the Giants since the start of last season, but hasn't appeared in one of the 24 games against San Diego. He last faced the Padres in 2006 in a relief role, and his last start against them was in 2004.San Diego (41-56) arrives in San Francisco after beating Colorado 3-2 on Sunday for its seventh victory in nine games. Chase Headley drove in his team-leading 50th run, and has three homers and eight RBIs in the last nine.The Padres turn to Clayton Richard (7-10, 3.86) on Monday in the opener of a 10-game road trip with 17 of their next 23 contests away from Petco Park.Richard came within two outs of his first complete game in two years Wednesday against Houston, allowing four runs and nine hits in an 8-4 win. It was the second time in four starts he pitched into the ninth."We've talked about Clayton's work ethic and what he does between starts, and he's equipped for a complete game," manager Bud Black said.The left-hander leads the NL in innings with 135 1-3, but has been quite susceptible to serving up the long ball. Richard surrendered two more homers Wednesday, raising his total to 19, tied for fourth-most in the league.Keeping the ball in the park wouldn't figure to be a problem against a Giants team that has a major league-low 15 homers at home, but he has given up one in each of his two starts against them this year. He has a 5.68 ERA in losing both outings, with Gregor Blanco and Pablo Sandoval each hitting solo shots.
Clayton Richard is 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA and only three strikeouts in two starts against the Giants this season. Entering Sunday, Pablo Sandoval is hitting .341 against left-handed starters, and his only homer against a lefty this season came off of Richard.