San Diego Padres vs. San Francisco Giants Preview and Pick – Jake Peavy vs. Matt Cain

San Diego Padres (9-4) Jake Peavy -125, 7.5 O/U at San Francisco
Giants (4-8) Matt Cain +115, 7.5 O/U, AT&T Park, San Francisco,
Calif., 10:15 PM EST, Tuesday

by Badger of

If baseball fans not living in the Pacific time zone are able to stay
up late enough tonight they should be treated to a great pitching
matchup when the San Diego Padres send ace Jake Peavy to the mound
versus their National League West rival San Francisco Giants and
young righty Matt Cain.

The Padres are off to a surprising start in 2009, which includes a solid 4-2 East Coast road trip they just finished through New York
and Philadelphia. After taking two-of-three from the Mets in the
opening series in new Citi Field to start the trip, the Padres added
a two-of-three series win over the Phillies to finish it when
Mondays finale against the reigning World Series champs was
cancelled due to rain.

The Giants arent off to as great a start as the Padres, but they are
sporting a little momentum of their own. Cain will be looking to
repeat the performance of veteran righty Randy Johnson, who took a no-
hitter through seven innings of Sundays 2-0 victory over the Arizona
Diamondbacks. The near no-no by Johnson gave the Giants their first
series win (two of three) since they took two of three games in their
opening series versus the Brewers.

The Giants will also be looking to get some revenge against the
Padres, as a big part San Diegos fast start to the season includes a
three-game sweep of the Giants in Petco Park. The Giants were
outscored by a 19-to-7 margin in that series, so there should be an
extra level of motivation for the Giants to save some face this time
around at home in AT&T Park.

Baseball oddsmakers opened the game with the Padres and Peavy as -120 favorites on the moneyline. Most of the online sportsbooks that offer dimelines have moved the number up to -125 in favor of the
Padres, although you can still find a few -120s if you shop around.
The Giants and Cain are +115 underdogs, and the over under total is
currently listed at 7.5 at most books on the Internet.

Peavy is off to a solid start in 2009 with a 2-1 record and a 3.98
ERA to go along with a 1.28 WHIP and a .310 opponents on-base
percentage. One of those victories came against these same Giants, as
he went 8.1 innings allowing seven hits and three runs while notching
10 strikeouts in the Padres 6-3 win in game two of the aforementioned
series at Petco.

Peavy has performed well versus the Giants in his career, and has done well at AT&T Park as well. Hes 12-8 in 24 career starts with a
3.30 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and a .242 OBA. Hes won two straight at AT&T
too, going 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in the open confines of the Giants
home park, even though both of those games were in his Cy Young
winning season of 2007 (he did not pitch there in 2008).

Cain is also off to a solid start this season, with a 1-0 record, a
2.08 ERA, a 1.31 WHIP and a .315 opponents on-base percentage. Cain
was outstanding his last time out, going 6 innings and allowing seven
hits and two runs versus the Dodgers, but he did give up four walks
and ended up with no-decision when the Dodgers came back to win the
game 5-4.

If you were to look at Cains career numbers versus the Padres (3-5,
2.92 ERA, 1.118 WHIP, .197 OBA) youd think hes been knocked around
a little. But after starting out 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his first
five starts versus the Padres, hes fallen on hard times of late,
going 0-5 with a 3.59 ERA in his last 10 starts against them. But, as
is the case every time Cain takes the hill, a lack of run support has
hurt him more than anything else as the Giants have scored only 16
runs in those last 10 starts combined (1.6 per game).

Offensively the Padres seem to be hitting their stride right now. For
the season they are averaging 4.92 runs per game (14th in MLB) and
hitting .261 collectively as a team (17th), but those numbers were
aided in part by a strong road trip to the East Coast. Shortstop
David Eckstein (.429, 9-for-21) and outfielder Jody Gerut (.381, 8-
for-21) both had excellent road trips, and first baseman Adrian
Gonzales hit four of his team-leading five homeruns on the trip as well.

The Giants on the other hand are having trouble scoring runs, just as
most baseball experts figured they would going into the season. The
Giants are second-to-last in runs scored per game (3.08), OPS (.646)
and in homeruns hit (six), and their .239 team batting average is
ranked 25th in baseball.

The good news is that there are a few Giants with solid histories
versus Peavy. Edgar Renteria (.368 in 19 AB) and Randy Winn (.263 in
38 AB) have longer histories, while youngsters Travis Ishikawa (3-
for-6, HR), Pablo Sandoval (2-for-7, HR) and Fred Lewis (3-for-7, 2B,
3B) have had success with a small sample size.

The Giants have won four straight against the Padres at AT&T Park,
and were 6-2 versus them at home in 2008. Six of those eight games
came in under the total as well.

Those trends fly in the face of the recent betting trends however,
because the over has cashed in at the window in the last eight head-
to-head meetings (all at Petco). The Giants are 1-9 in Cains last 10
starts versus San Diego.

Badgers Pick: I fully expect a pitchers duel tonight. Peavy will lock up a weak Giants lineup, and Cain should do the same to a Padres lineup that flew in from Philly overnight and could be suffering a
little jetlag. Take the under of 7.5.