Offensive Struggles

With their offense struggling and coming off a difficult stretch against interleague opponents, the San Diego Padres hope the return to National League play will help the team out of its recent slump.

The Padres (42-32) open a three-game series against Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants on Monday night at AT&T Park.

Oddsmakers have made San Francisco -115 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 8.5 total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 55% of bets for this game have been placed on San Francisco -115 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

San Diego completed a 2-4 homestand against Baltimore and Boston with a 4-2 loss to the Red Sox on Sunday. Four of the Padres' last five series were against AL opponents, and they lost eight of their last 12 interleague games after dropping two of three to the Red Sox over the weekend.

The Padres are one game behind the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place in the NL West.

Their offense is a big factor in their slide, being held to three or fewer runs in four of its last five games. San Diego has the worst batting average (.246) in the NL.

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez is in a 4-for-24 slump for San Diego, newcomer Michael Barrett is 2-for-12 since making his San Diego debut on Thursday and Russell Branyan and Kevin Kouzmanoff each went 2-for-14 on the Padres' homestand.

San Francisco (32-42) has also struggled on offense, sporting the second-worst average in the league at .249.

The Giants come into this series after winning the final two games of a three-game weekend series with the New York Yankees after a season-high eight-game losing streak.

Bonds went 4-for-8 in the series, including his 749th homer in Friday's 7-3 loss. He's six homers shy of tying Hank Aaron's all-time record, and 10 of his 15 homers have been hit at home.

The San Francisco slugger has 86 homers against San Diego - his most against any team. He's 4-for-18 with one homer in six games against the Padres this year.

On Sunday, San Francisco won 7-2 despite stranding 11 runners and going 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position. The Giants were more effective with their running game, stealing a season-high five bases.

"We ran the bases well, got hits, got the bunt down," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We played a good brand of baseball today, and that's what it takes to beat a team like that."

San Diego has won four of six meetings against the Giants this season, including two of three in San Francisco in early April.

The Padres will send Justin Germano (5-1, 2.63 ERA) to the mound in the opener of the series, as he looks to bounce back from his first lost of the season. The right-hander allowed three runs and five hits in six innings last Wednesday against the Orioles in a 7-1 loss.

Germano gave up three runs and four hits before recording his first out.

"They came out and got some balls through," manager Bud Black told the Padres' official Web site. "After that, he was outstanding. He retired 16 of 18. It was great ... sort of like we've seen all season."

The 24-year-old Germano, who was picked up off waivers in May, has never faced Bonds or the Giants.

San Francisco will counter with rookie Tim Lincecum (2-2, 5.88), who is winless in his last five starts and has posted a 15.26 ERA in losing his last two.

The 23-year-old right-hander allowed six runs and five hits in four innings on Tuesday in a 6-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. It was the third straight start that Lincecum was unable to make it through the fifth inning.

"I was getting up on the mound pretty quick after a pitch without taking a breath and focusing," Lincecum said. "I need to take my time because every pitch has its purpose."

Lincecum has never faced the Padres.

by: Michael Cash - – Email Us

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