Few starting pitchers have been better than Madison Bumgarner thus far. There may not be one off to a worse start than Edinson Volquez.
Those two squaring off appears to give the San Francisco Giants a big edge Friday night at AT&T Park, as might their recent history against the San Diego Padres going into the season series opener between these NL West foes.
While the Padres (5-10) are coming off an impressive three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium, outscoring Los Angeles 22-7, the Giants (9-7) were swept in three at Milwaukee this week while allowing 21 runs.
Bumgarner (3-0, 1.77 ERA) could give them a good chance to bounce back. He's looking to become the first NL pitcher to reach four wins after yielding four runs through his first three, spanning 20 1-3 innings.
The left-hander held the Chicago Cubs scoreless for six innings Saturday and was removed after allowing a two-run homer with two outs in the seventh, but the Giants hung on to win 3-2.
"All the pitches felt pretty good today," Bumgarner said.
While the Giants have not trailed in any of Bumgarner's outings, the Padres have been outscored 29-8 in three games started by Volquez (0-3, 11.69).
His ERA was the NL's worst among pitchers with at least three starts through Wednesday. The right-hander has allowed at least four runs in each of his three and failed to get through four innings twice. He's given up 21 hits and seven walks in 12 1-3 innings.
"Over the course of 33 starts, you're going to have some rough ones," manager Bud Black said. "Volky has had them right out of the get go. Let's hope that he can get it straightened out."
Volquez is 2-5 with an 8.84 ERA in his past eight road starts, losing the last four. He has a 5.40 career ERA versus the Giants.
The Padres have gone 6-12 against them in each of the past two seasons, not winning any of the 12 series in that span and losing two of three games in every one last year. San Diego has dropped 12 of 16 in San Francisco, averaging 2.9 runs while hitting .218, since its last series win over the Giants - Oct. 1-3, 2010.
However, the Padres enter off a breakout series, hitting .339 in the sweep of the Dodgers after batting .233 during a 2-10 start. Chris Denorfia and Kyle Blanks had five hits apiece in the series and his first homer of the season in a 7-2 win in Wednesday's finale.
Chase Headley, who led the NL with 115 RBIs last year, had an RBI single in his season debut after being sidelined by a broken thumb.
"It was a well-played series by us, with some guys starting to swing the bats," Black said.
Everth Cabrera had three hits Wednesday and is batting .387 with two homers in his last eight games. He's 0 for 11 versus Bumgarner, who went 3-1 with a 3.86 ERA versus the Padres last year.
Denorfia is a career .406 hitter against him and Headley is at .308.
Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford has an 11-game hitting streak after going 7 for 12 with two homers at Milwaukee.
Buster Posey, meanwhile, is 2 for 18 in his last six games and was given the day off Thursday as the Giants fell 7-2. The reigning NL MVP is batting .213 without a homer.
"It's a matter of keep on grinding and keep working," Posey told the team's official website Wednesday.