Series Preview: San Diego Padres

(Courtesy of Ian Martin)

Coming off a disheartening three-game series against the Giants -- where they lost two games, getting blownout in one and losing the other in the ninth -- the White Sox will host the 20-47 San Diego Padres for a three-game set.

Opponent: San Diego Padres
Record: 20-47, .299, 22 GB (NL West)
Place: U.S. Cellular Field
Time & TV: Game 1: 7:05 p.m. (FSN+); Game 2: 6:05 p.m. (WGN); Game 3: 1:05 p.m. (FSN)
2002 Record vs Sox: 0-0
2003 Record vs Sox: 0-0

THE LATEST
The Padres, in a word, stink. They have the worst record of any baseball team not named the Detroit Tigers. However, they are not all that bad at the plate. San Diego comes to Chicago with a .263 batting average, led by Rondell White's .301. Teaming up with White is Ryan Klesko, who leads the team with 12 homers and 35 RBIs. The pitching staff is in need of some sort of consistency. The Padres have had appearances this season by 22 different pitchers, half of which have started one or more games. The team ERA is sky-high at 5.50. Brian Lawrence leads the rotation with an ERA of 4.47, while Jake Peavy has the most wins with five.

WHO'S HOT (Last 7 days)
Brian Buchanan, RF: .500, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R, .550 OBP, 1.606 OPS
--Buchanan has raised his batting average .044 points in the last week, while bringing up his OPS by .158 points. Expect to see him at the DH-spot in this series.

WHO'S NOT (Last 7 days)
Gary Bennett, C: .130, 2 hit in 23 at-bats, 1 BB, 4 K's, .167 OBP
--Bennett's batting average has been dropping like a rock, from near .300 to .238, with an on-base percentage of .277.

PITCHING PROBABLES
Game #1:
Esteban Loaiza (9-2, 2.06, 74 K) vs. Kevin Jarvis (First appearance this season)
--Jarvis is coming off the disabled list for his first start and appearance of the season. Opponents have a career batting average of .292 against the righty.

Game #2:
Danny Wright (0-3, 5.87, 20 K) vs. Brian Lawrence (4-7, 4.47, 57 K)
--Lawrence has lost six of his last ten starts, but has also steadily lowered his ERA and WHIP (think Mark Buehrle pre-last start). He has been prone to the longball, and while striking out a good number, is known for control problems. He has been pitching deep into the game as of late, averaging just under eight innings in each of his last six starts.

Game #3:
Jon Garland (4-5, 5.29, 37 K) vs. Brian Tollberg (0-2, 6.97, 2 K)
--Tollberg has only started three games so far this season and has disappointed in each start. He gave up six runs in a 1/3 of an inning in his last start and is soon expected to be dropped from the rotation.

KEY TO THE SERIES
Attack the Padres' starters. Of the three going in this series, only one of them has pitched more than 11 innings this year. If the Sox can score early and often, they should be able to pull out a series win.

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