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Series Preview: San Francisco Giants open season in San Diego

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Franmil Reyes #32 of the San Diego Padres is tagged out at second base by Brandon Crawford #35 of the San Francisco Giants as he tries to stretch a single during the sixth inning of a baseball game at PETCO Park on September 17, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Franmil Reyes #32 of the San Diego Padres is tagged out at second base by Brandon Crawford #35 of the San Francisco Giants as he tries to stretch a single during the sixth inning of a baseball game at PETCO Park on September 17, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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It almost seems like eons ago that the San Francisco Giants were capping off another underwhelming season.

Now we’re back in action, and the San Francisco Giants begin their regular season against their division foe, the San Diego Padres. The Padres made a big splash this off-season, signing the notoriously touted infielder Manny Machado. Although last season the experts had the Padres pegged as one of the most improved teams, they still fell short in the NL West along with the Giants.

This series will be the first of many between the two clubs this season, and as luck would have it, it’s a four-game series. There is nothing quite like a momentum builder than the first series of the season, and although I’d favor the Giants a little more in this one, nothing is really guaranteed. The Padres have always been a thorn in the side of the Giants, especially on the road. But if this is anything like the previous series, this should be an exciting start to the 2019 season.

Game One: Bumgarner (Career vs. SDP: 12-9, 3.19 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) vs. Lauer (Career vs. SFG: 0-0, 3.94 ERA, 1.50 WHIP)

After missing last year’s Opening Day with a broken hand, the San Francisco Giants are sending Madison Bumgarner out for the first game of the season. Bumgarner did not have the best Spring, but the Giants still believe is the ace of this rotation and can handle his business. There are two guys in particular in the Padre’s lineup that present him with issues. Hunter Renfroe is a career 5-for-13 against Bumgarner, with two doubles and two home runs, although he likely won’t be in the starting lineup. His positional neighbor Manuel Margot has four doubles in 13 at-bats against the southpaw. Outside of that, the career numbers against the Padres pretty much speak for themselves, this should be a good matchup for Bumgarner.

This is the sixth time the Giants are seeing Eric Lauer. After a stellar Spring Training, the Padres have chosen him to be their frontman in the rotation for now. His biggest challenges come in the form of the Giants two veteran infield staples. Buster Posey, coming off hip surgery, is a career 4-for-8 against Lauer with two doubles. Evan Longoria, who had a decent spring, has two hits in five at-bats against Lauer. As you can see from above, Lauer has yet to get a decision against the Giants. However, all games Lauer started against them last season resulted in losses. In his only home appearance against the Orange and Black in 2018, he went five innings, giving up three runs on seven hits while striking out three and walking two.

Game Two: Holland (Career vs. SDP: 1-2, 6.23 ERA, 1.65 WHIP) vs. Lucchesi (Career vs. SFG: 1-0, 3.27 ERA, 1.18 WHIP)

After last season’s performances and his chemistry around the team, Derek Holland seems to be the best suitor for the second spot in the rotation. His history at Petco Park is not the best, even though the Giants went 2-1 in Holland starts at AT&T Park South last season. Outfielders Jose Pirela and Franmil Reyes present problems for Holland, but neither are likely to be in the starting lineup, let alone on the 25 man roster. Eric Hosmer and the ever-so-familiar Manny Machado also have solid career numbers against Holland. However, if history repeats itself, he is perfectly capable of providing at least five quality innings for the Giants on Friday night.

Starting Friday night’s game is Joey Lucchesi, the second year pitcher who hails from Newark, California. Although his WHIP totals were high last season, he turned out to be a decent piece in the Padre’s shaky rotation, going 8-9 on the season with a 4.08 ERA. His two starts against the Giants were at Petco Park, and with some help from the offense, he was able to dominate them in his third career MLB start on April 15th. He did not get a decision in his second start against the Giants, giving up three earned run on seven hits over five innings…sounds familiar doesn’t it? The only Giant currently in the lineup to have a hit against Lucchesi is Longoria. Righties will favor the left-handed starter, with increased power numbers and a slightly better batting average.

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