09/15/10 1:33 AM ET
Sandoval faces tough test vs. Billingsley
By Andrew Pentis / MLB.com
Sandoval, the Giants' third baseman, would like to help his club reach the postseason, but, right now, even he would tell you that he is not helping.
He is batting .332 this season at China Basin -- the site of San Francisco's series this week with the Dodgers -- but over his last 11 games batted .097 (3-for-31).
"With Pablo, if you look at the last three, four weeks, he's been swinging the bat better, and it's been different at home," hedged his skipper, Bruce Bochy. "That's one thing you have a tough time explaining, but he's faced [Clayton] Kershaw and he's had good at-bats against him. He has been swinging the bat better, really on both sides."
Sandoval, however, went 0-for-3 and his 'mates managed just four hits against Kershaw in a 1-0 loss Tuesday. And he's likely to have similar results against the Dodgers' starter Wednesday. Sandoval is batting .167 (4-for-24) for his career against right-hander Chad Billingsley, who is 2-0 with a 0.61 ERA against San Francisco this season.
The Giants could use greater production -- at home, on the road, wherever -- from the slugger who batted in the three-hole in 2009 but has dropped to sixth and seventh in 2010. After all, San Francisco is in the thick of it. Because the Padres fended off a ninth-inning Rockies rally to win, 7-6, on Tuesday night, the second-place Giants are 1 1/2 games off the National League West pace.
"They're all big. We've been saying this for quite a while," Bochy said. "We're going to have to play our best ball against this club, just like any team. We're going to see some good pitching on a good team and it's not easy. It doesn't matter who you're playing, and we're playing a good club right now. We're going to have to continue to play the type of ball we were playing on the road."
The Giants had won seven of their last nine games against the Dodgers before Tuesday's defeat. Los Angeles, obviously, has nothing to lose.
"It is a strange feeling," skipper Joe Torre said of his club's status of spoiler. "In a lot of ways, it's relaxing, I hate to say. We're in position now that other clubs have been in against us. We can play havoc with the teams in it; that's our job. I expect us to play that way."
Dodgers: Podsednik's season likely over
Outfielder Scott Podsednik will probably miss the rest of the season with plantar fasciitis, Torre announced Tuesday. Podsednik, acquired from the Royals for two Minor Leaguers, had an MRI on Monday and will fly to Dallas on Wednesday to get a second medical opinion. Surgery is a likely option. Jay Gibbons, who will see more playing time in left field with Podsednik out of the mix, played first base and went 0-for-3 on Tuesday night. But he is hitting .326 (15-for-46) with five home runs and 15 RBIs in 27 games since being promoted from Triple-A. ... Center fielder Matt Kemp was caught stealing for the 15th time this season in Tuesday's game. Kemp has been caught the second-most times among NL basestealers.
Giants: Cain cruising of late
Matt Cain opposes Billingsley on the mound Wednesday. San Francisco's right-hander has won four straight starts while sporting a 3.68 ERA over that span. Like Sandoval, he usually benefits from being at home: Cain has a 2.70 ERA at AT&T Park this season. ... Freddy Sanchez was in the lineup Tuesday, but said some fluid buildup in his surgically repaired left knee perhaps could need to be drained as soon as after the game. He went 2-for-4 and, after singling in ninth, was pinch-run for.
Los Angeles and San Francisco will have their last head-to-head matchup of 2010 on Thursday. Entering play Wednesday, the clubs had split their first 16 matchups evenly, 8-8 . ... Major League Baseball's regular-season schedules for 2011 were announced Tuesday. In Interleague Play next season, the Dodgers will oppose the Angels, Twins, Indians and Tigers. Subbing their own nearby rival, the A's, fellow NL West competitor the Giants will also face the trio of American League Central clubs.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.