Padres/Giants series preview

USA TODAY Sports

The Giants and Padres are meeting for the 144th time this season, and this time it's painful.

The Giants are hosting the Padres for a three-game series. Here are the starting lineups for Monday's game:

Giants
LF - Gary Brown
C - Hector Sanchez
CF - Darryl Hamilton
2B - Freddy Sanchez's severed head
1B - Brett Pill
RF - Glenallen Hill
3B - Chris Dominguez?
SS - Tomas de la Rosa
P - Shane Loux (left-handed)

Padres
CF - Will Venable
LF - Max Venable
RF - Ozzie Venable
1B - Cito Gaston
C - Look, the point is that everyone on these two teams is injured
3B - Chase Headley
SS - Except for Headley, of course
2B - Even though he's been close to the worst hitter in that lineup
P - Pitcher with fraying ligament

Look, the point is that everyone … oh, right. Covered it. The Giants are without Pablo Sandoval, Marco Scutaro, Angel Pagan, and Ryan Vogelsong. The Padres are likely without Jedd Gyorko, Cameron Maybin, Yonder Alonso, Carlos Quentin, Everth Cabrera and 342 different young pitchers.

Unless Scutaro comes back. He might come back any day now, you know.

This means we'll see a lot of Abreus and Ariasises and Denorfias and Kotsapi. Neither team is at full strength, so at least it's kind of fair. Just one of those things, I suppose.

Except maybe it isn't just one of those things. The Padres led the universe in DL time last year, and they're at the top of the list for the three-year span from 2010-2012, too. Casey Kelly, Joe Weiland, and Cory Luebke are all pitchers who were supposed to help the Padres contend by now, but they've needed Tommy John surgery in the past year.

By comparison, the last three Giants starters to need Tommy John surgery were Eric Surkamp, Russ Ortiz (the second time around), and Jesse Foppert. Technically, Shane Loux should be on that list, but he would've spoiled the Jesse Foppert reveal. And if you don't want to count Ortiz's second turn on the Giants, we get a Joe Roa reference.

Maybe that is absolutely just one of those things. Of the hundreds and hundreds of pitchers in professional baseball, maybe Kelly/Weiland/Luebke had three of the weakest ligaments out there. Maybe they were doomed from the moment they threw their first pitch in Little League, a bad combination of body and form. I have no idea. I'm certainly not qualified to drop a bunch of "should of"s on any organization after one of their players gets hurt, even if we're talking about Dusty Baker's Cubs. There are too many variables to come up with a direct correlation/causation analysis for any team going through injury problems.

If I were a Padres fan, though, I'd be a little skeptical. I don't know if training staffs and major- and minor-league and programs are pretty much equally competent , or if you can get some real weirdos mixed in there. To put it another way: Are all staffs basically backup catchers, with some distinctly better than others, but they're mostly interchangeable and impossible to notice unless something goes wrong? Or can one team have a Mike Trout training staff while another team has an Eugenio Velez training staff, with bobbled shoulders, dropped knees, and elbows picked off first in a tie game?

I err toward the former. Which is to say, some training staffs are David Ross and some are Jeff Mathis, but the differences in value can be grossly overstated.

If the latter is true, though, it would be the kind of problem that would derail rebuilding plans and extended runs of major-league success alike. And I'm not sure how an organization would analyze this stuff, either. Glad it's not my job.

For years and years, the Giants have excelled at keeping starting pitchers off the disabled list. There's one there now, but he got there by attempting to bunt. The Padres can't keep starting pitchers off the disabled list. Is that a fluke, one of those things, or something that hints at a larger success or failure for both organizations?

I don't really care about the Padres. I just want to know how much we should be crediting the Giants for keeping their pitchers healthy instead of making fun of them every week when they refuse to DL a position player. And maybe I care about the Padres a little, what with them being divisional rivals, and all.

The Padres are a game over .500, even after the injuries. They're a good team, even if Jason Marquis is basically Barry Ztio before the inevitable freefall. But they're pretty banged up, just like the Giants. I wonder if that's something we should keep expecting, or if teams just get sucked into the injury vortex through little fault of their own. Don't ask me. I use baseball as a vehicle for jokes. That's all I do around here.

Hitter to watch
Kyle Blanks might be the most made-of-glass player on the Padres, which is saying something. He's had just over 1,200 at-bats since the start of 2009 -- that's minor-league and major-league combined -- which is about what a healthy player will get in two years. Michael Young had about the same amount of ABs in 2011 and 2012, for example, as Blanks has had at every level combined from 2009 to now.

But Blanks is healthy and hitting. He's also the most terrifying looking hitter in baseball. So gigantic. He's one of the largest position players of all time, actually. Yet he'd be an undersized power forward. Basketball is so weird.

Trivia question: The Giants have had two hitters as tall as Blanks (6'6") in franchise history. Name them! And then remind me to give you the answer when I forget.

Pitcher to watch
I've given the Padres enough grief for trading Anthony Rizzo away for a sore-armed reliever, but if the Padres can turn Andrew Cashner into a live-armed starter -- and it looks like they have a shot -- I'll shut up. And Cashner's fun to watch, too. Those 100-m.p.h. guys usually are.

But he looks like he's going to quit baseball and challenge Chad Gaudin to a squirrel-eating competition. For no good reason, here is a wall of beard:

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Sorry. But when you're in the mood to post a wall of beard, you generally have no choice but to post a wall of beard.

Prediction
Bloops. All the bloops. Except the Padres can hit now, just like the Giants. And they can't really pitch these days (with a few exceptions), just like the Giants.

Still, all the bloops. It's a Padres series.

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