Longest homestand kicks off against the Giants

<u>SAN DIEGO</u> --- The Padres open up their longest home stand of the season Monday when the San Francisco Giants come in to town as part of a two-week stretch that will prove to be an exciting time in San Diego.

The 13 game stretch starts with the Padres tied for the National League Wild Card with the Giants, and 3 _ back of the western leading Dodgers. The Giants are in town for 4 games and the Dodgers come in over the weekend for a 3 game series. While the National League West was once considered the weakest division in baseball, a true pennant race has come alive in the state of California. This week will be the last time these three teams will see each other until late September and could mean the difference in a very tight race. There will definitely be a playoff atmosphere in Petco Park these next couple of weeks.

After sweeping the Giants in two games in San Francisco, the Padres look to take the wild card lead with their dominating pitching. Peavy, Wells, Lawrence, and Valdez (who has been very good at home) will be taking on the Giants in a wild west battle, while the Padres will see Rueter and Schmidt, the two pitchers who the Padre beat in San Francisco.

Trade talks have also picked up some momentum. The Diamondbacks have been reluctant in trading Steve Finley back to San Diego, so Kevin Towers is trying to work in a three-way deal with other teams. The trading deadline is less than a week away and having Finley during the west showdown could prove to be a big difference.

Padres upcoming schedule

July 26 vs. San Francisco
Peavy (7-3) vs. Rueter (5-8)

July 27 vs. San Francisco
Wells (6-5) vs. Schmidt (12-3)

July 28 vs. San Francisco
Lawrence (10-7) vs. Hermanson (4-3)

July 29 vs. San Francisco
Valdez (9-6) vs. Tomko (5-5)

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