SAN DIEGO -- Time is of the essence for the San Francisco Giants.
They are 6 1/2 games off the pace in the National League West with a third of the season to go. They also have two other teams standing between them and the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Giants won Sunday to snap a four-game losing streak, but they are 3-8 in the last 11 games to fall below .500.
Clearly, the Giants need something to get them back on track. And the schedule makers might have come up with the perfect springboard.
The Giants open a two-game series against the Padres on Monday night in San Diego. And no NL team is going worse than the Padres at the moment.
Having just been swept at home by the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Padres have lost five straight games. They are 2-12 in their last 14 games and 8-26 since June 15.
The Giants are 6-5 against the Padres this season but only 1-3 in their first four games at Petco Park. After this series ends Tuesday afternoon, the Giants will have two home-and-home series with the Padres -- but not until the final two weeks of the season.
The short series opens Monday night with a matchup of left-handers Derek Holland (5-8, 3.92 ERA) of the Giants against Padres rookie Eric Lauer (5-7, 5.29 ERA).
But being at home hasn't necessarily helped the Padres, who are 18-33 at Petco Park this year and 1-16 in the first game of their 17 series there. Overall, the Padres are 7-27 in series openers.
Holland, 31, will make his fourth career start against the Padres. He is 1-1 with a 7.04 ERA against San Diego. Two of the three previous starts came this season and he allowed six runs in 9 2/3 innings for a 5.59 ERA.
Holland will make his 23rd appearance of the season. He started the year in the rotation but moved to the bullpen on July 1 when starter Johnny Cueto came off the disabled list. Holland has moved between the bullpen and rotation since.
Holland has a 2.43 ERA in his last eight games, which is split evenly between four starts and four relief appearances while allowing eight earned runs in 29 2/3 innings.
Lauer, meanwhile, will make his 18th start of the season. The 2016 first-round draft pick (25th overall) has struggled in his last two outings, giving up 11 runs, 11 hits and four walks with eight strikeouts in just six innings. They are his two shortest outings since June 1.
Lauer will face the Giants for the third time. In the first two meetings, he gave up four runs, 11 hits and three walks with 11 strikeouts in 11 innings. He didn't get a decision in either start.