SAN FRANCISCO — Madison Bumgarner‘s comeback from a broken finger continues Thursday night when the San Francisco Giants open a four-game series against the San Diego Padres and a pitcher with whom they are quite familiar, Tyson Ross.
The Giants will take a two-game winning streak and the Padres a four-game skid into the series, the third of the season between the National League West rivals. San Diego has won four of the first seven head-to-head games.
Bumgarner (0-2, 4.67 ERA) wasn’t around for either of the earlier series against San Diego, having been hurt in his final spring training tuneup. He’s made just three starts since being activated off the disabled list, with the Giants having lost all three games.
The outings have included hard-luck losses to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers, and an effort at Miami last week in which he was ejected after running out of gas in the sixth inning, blowing a 4-2 lead.
Bumgarner hasn’t seen the seventh inning since his return, which could be cause for concern for a Giants team that blew leads in all four losses they suffered against Miami in the past 10 days.
One of those blown leads featured a Hunter Strickland meltdown in the ninth inning Monday, after which he punched a door and, like Bumgarner, broke a finger.
Sam Dyson stepped into Strickland’s closer role and picked up his second save of the season in Tuesday’s 6-3 win over the Marlins, but then he had to be pulled Wednesday after allowing two ninth-inning runs that allowed Miami to pull within 6-5.
Reyes Moronta was summoned to record his first career save.
The Padres had ninth-inning troubles of their own during their two-game home sweep at the hands of the Oakland Athletics.
Closer Brad Hand got within one strike of a 2-1 win in the series opener Tuesday night before serving up a game-tying home run to Stephen Piscotty in a game A’s went onto win 4-2 in 10 innings.
Ross (5-4, 3.51) has twice pitched the Padres to wins over the Giants this season, getting credit for one of the victories.
He limited the Giants to just one unearned run in a 5-1 home win in April, then left with a 2-1 lead in San Francisco on May 1, only to see San Francisco tie the game before the Padres won it off Strickland in the ninth.
Ross, a San Francisco Bay Area product, is 4-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 12 games (10 starts) in his career against the Giants.
He has gone head-to-head with Bumgarner three times, winning once.
Ross has pitched well of late, allowing three or fewer runs in seven consecutive starts.
Bumgarner got the better of Ross in a pitchers’ duel in their last head-to-head, winning 2-0 in 2015.
The Giants’ ace has pitched 31 times, including 30 starts, against the Padres in his career, registering a 10-9 record and 3.46 ERA.
Bumgarner hasn’t recorded a win against the Padres in his last six starts against them dating back to May of 2016. He’s 0-4 with one no-decision during the drought.