MLB Insiders: San Diego Padres

The Pirates open a three-game series in San Diego on Monday night. Right-hander James McDonald will be on the mound for the Bucs. The Padres will start right-hander Aaron Harang.

The San Diego Padres are looking to turn around last month's offensive struggles, and they got off to a promising start with a win to begin May.

A series against the Pittsburgh Pirates may continue to help their confidence.

The Padres hope to win their 10th straight over the Pirates on Monday night when they open a three-game series at Petco Park.

The Padres swept the six-game season series against the Pirates last year after winning the final three meetings of 2009.

They've averaged 5.8 runs during the streak, already their longest-ever string of victories against Pittsburgh.

Aaron Harang (4-1, 3.90 ERA) will take the mound against his former NL Central rival Monday.

Harang spent seven-plus seasons with Cincinnati before signing a free-agent deal with the Padres. He had a 1.88 ERA in winning his first four starts before allowing eight runs in six innings of an 8-2 loss to Atlanta on Tuesday.

Harang is 13-5 with a 4.08 ERA against the Pirates - his most wins against any opponent.

Like San Diego, Pittsburgh (13-15) is hoping it has turned the corner after securing its fourth road series win - matching last year's total.

The Pirates closed a weekend set at Colorado with an 8-4 win Sunday.

After losing three straight April 19-21, the Pirates have alternated wins and losses the last nine games.

Looking to snap that trend and a three-game losing streak at Petco Park, Pittsburgh will hand the ball to James McDonald (1-2, 7.66).

Coming off back-to-back ugly starts in which he allowed 15 runs in 7 1-3 innings, McDonald was sharp against San Francisco on Wednesday, yielding four hits in six innings of a 2-0 victory.

McDonald, a former Los Angeles Dodger, has struggled in two starts against the Padres, allowing seven runs in 6 1-3 innings.

The bottom two starting pitchers in the major leagues when it comes to run support are Padres right-handers Dustin Moseley and Tim Stauffer.

The Padres didn't score a run for Moseley over the first 26 2/3 innings and were shut out in each of his first three starts. His official run support number was a miniscule 0.57 runs per game going into Sunday's start at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

The Padres' three-run second represented one more run than the Padres had scored during Moseley's first five starts -- a span covering 31 2/3 innings.

Moseley allowed three hits over seven innings Sunday -- the three runs enough to provide him with his first win of the season.

Moseley's ERA has dropped to 1.63 and his ERA for four road starts is a miniscule 0.68.

Meantime, Stauffer's run support figure is 1.63. He has no decisions over his last three starts despite a 1.87 ERA over the 20 innings. The Padres scored only four runs while he has been in those three games.

On Saturday night, Stauffer equaled his career high of seven strikeouts for the second straight game. Moseley equaled his career high with six strikeouts Sunday.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Padres CEO Jeff Moorad Sunday said negotiations toward a new local television deal will have a "direct impact" on the Padres' 2012 payroll. A new television deal could result in an increase of 10-20 percent in the club's player salary obligations, which ranked 27th according to USA Today's opening-day calculations at $45,869,140. "There are several active discussions going on at the moment," Moorad said. "And we hope to have something concluded sooner rather than later."

--1B Brad Hawpe was 2-for-4 Sunday, 3-for-8 over two starts at Dodger Stadium and 7-for-20 over his last five games to raise his average from a dreadful .098 to a terrible .169. Hawpe's lifetime average of .362 (55-for-152) over 45 games at Dodger Stadium is the second highest in the storied history of the facility -- topped only by the .371 mark of Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente. "I've always enjoyed playing here, I like this ballpark," admitted Hawpe. Hawpe's two-run single off Jon Garland in the second inning Sunday equaled his RBI count for his first 67 at-bats of the season.

--RHP Heath Bell successfully converted his 40th straight save Saturday night to move into a tie for sixth on the all-time list of straight save conversions. If he converts a 41st straight, Bell will tie Trevor Hoffman's Padres record and move into a tie for fourth on the all-time list with Hoffman and Rod Beck.

--RHP Dustin Moseley picked up his first win Sunday. The biggest factor wasn't the seven shutout innings pitched by Moseley. It was the fact that the Padres scored three runs when he was pitching. The Padres didn't score a run for Moseley over the first 26 2/3 innings and were shut out in each of his first three starts. His official run support number was a miniscule 0.57 runs per game going into Sunday's start at Dodger Stadium. The Padres' three-run second represented one more run than the Padres had scored during Moseley's first five starts -- a span covering 31 2/3 innings. Moseley lowered his ERA to 1.63 and his ERA for four road starts is a miniscule 0.68.

--RHP Tim Stauffer is 0-0 over his last three starts despite a 1.87 ERA. He departed Saturday night's game with the score tied 2-2. Stauffer has the second-worst run support figure in the major leagues (1.61) to teammate Dustin Moseley.

--RHP Mike Adams worked a 1-2-3 eighth and has retired 42 of the 45 hitters he has faced this season.

--The 12 runs scored by the Padres the past two days equaled their run total for the previous eight games.

BY THE NUMBERS: 20 -- Times in 28 games that the other team has scored first.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was nice to play the type of game we want to play. As nice as those extra runs were, we were going to win that game with the three runs. That's what we're going to be... we're about winning 3-2, 2-1. With our pitching, we don't need a lot of runs." -- Padres 3B Chase Headley, Sunday after the Padres scored a 7-0 victory over the Dodgers.

ROSTER REPORT
MEDICAL WATCH:

--LHP Joe Thatcher (left shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He will have surgery May 2. If the labrum needs a cleaning, Thatcher will miss three months. If it needs to be repaired, he will miss nine months to a year.

--1B Kyle Blanks (Tommy John surgery in July 2010) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He began a rehab assignment with Class AA San Antonio on April 14, but he was limited to strictly batting.

--INF Jarrett Hoffpauir (right quadriceps strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. The injury was not considered serious.

--OF Mike Baxter (left thumb surgery in March 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 28. He might be able to return in late May.


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