The first three starts of the season couldn't have gone much better for Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner.
They really couldn't have gone much worse for San Diego righty Edinson Volquez.
Volquez and Bumgarner take the hill on Friday night for the first of three games between the two National League West rivals at AT&T Park. Bumgarner is looking to stay hot, while Volquez is looking to get hot.
The Padres' Opening Day starter, Volquez (0-3, 11.68 ERA) has struggled this season, allowing a .356 batting average to opposing hitter. He has only made it into the fifth inning in one start and is coming off an outing that saw him allow six runs in just 3 1/3 innings against the Rockies.
"You're going to have some rough starts, and Volquez has had his right from the start," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Let's hope he can get it straightened out. Right now, his issues stem from ball-to-strike ratio, and getting ahead in the count. When you get behind, you can get in some trouble."
Meanwhile, Bumgarner sports a 1.77 ERA. Not only has he won all three of his starts, but the Giants have never trailed in any of those outings. He went 4-1 last April but has never started 4-0 in his career.
The numbers would appear to look bleak for the Padres, but things have changed a bit in San Diego since Volquez last took the mound on Saturday.
The Padres swept the Dodgers in Los Angeles, and suddenly the offense is producing, with 22 runs scored in those three games. Now they'll face a team with a penchant for surrendering big innings. The Giants have given up eight innings of three runs or more, and it has their skipper concerned.
"You look at the early go here, it's kind of been strange, the big innings we're giving up," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "I think we're fortunate to be [9-7]. We've had some good comebacks, but we get down a little bit more than we care to, to be honest, where we've had to make these comebacks. We've had a tough go here staying away from the crooked number. That's what beats you in a lot of games."
Padres: Headley returns
Third baseman Chase Headley made his 2013 debut on Wednesday, going 1-for-4 in his first game since he fractured the tip of his left thumb during Spring Training.
The club placed center fielder Cameron Maybin on the disabled list with an impingement of his right wrist, clearing the necessary room for Headley.
In 2012, Headley was without a doubt the Padres' best offensive weapon, winning the National League RBI title and taking home a Silver Slugger Award.
Giants: Posey not bothered by slow start
Reigning National League Most Valuable Player Buster Posey received the day off on Thursday. The catcher is batting just .213 with a .634 OPS.
Posey submitted an 0-for-4 on Wednesday, and he tallied just two hits on San Francisco's seven-game road trip. He contends, however, that he feels fine in the batter's box.
"I felt as good as I've felt at the plate," Posey said.
• Chris Denorfia and Jesus Guzman have had plenty of success against Bumgarner. Denorfia is hitting .406 against the left-hander and Guzman is batting .391 with a .739 slugging percentage.
• Volquez has limited current Giants hitters to a .192 batting average. Among players with more than five at-bats, none are hitting above .200.
• The Giants have won each of the last two season series against the Padres.