On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Rangers series during the 2012 season.
The Opponent: The Padres are once again spending their time in the NL West cellar, which is almost impressive given how awful the Rockies have been thus far this season. As always, the offense is the major culprit. The Padres have scored the least runs in baseball, something that never works out all that well as a strategy for winning.
Past 2012 Meetings: It's the first meeting since 2009 between two teams whose shared history is awfully slim. The Padres lead the all-time series 12-10 and they've won six of the eight games played at Petco Park.
Pitching Matchups: Monday - Matt Harrison (8-3, 3.54 ERA) vs. Jason Marquis (1-1, 1.46); Tuesday - Scott Feldman (0-6, 6.50) vs. Edinson Volquez (3-6, 3.70); Wednesday - RHP Yu Darvish (8-4, 3.57) vs. Anthony Bass (2-7, 4.88)
What's Hot: The health of the pitching staff has been described as a problem for the Rangers right now, but there's little evidence of it on the mound. They've allowed just 25 runs over the last nine games, resulting in a 7-2 record and stabilizing a team that seemed to be reeling a bit when June got under way.
The Padres haven't gotten Huston Street too many leads to close in the final innings, but he's done a nice job when he actually gets one. The fact that a closer has been the best player on a 24-43 Padres team tells you just about everything you need about the state of the roster.
The Rangers have won the last six games that Yorvit Torrealba has started at catcher. There's obviously plenty of reasons why the Rangers are winning these games beyond the fact that Torrealba is in the lineup, but it does make you think that there are wiser ideas than playing a mediocre defensive catcher for his bat when said catcher isn't hitting.
What's Not: The Mets got a no-hitter from Johan Santana, which leaves the Padres as the only team in the majors that has never had a pitcher do the trick. That's not a blight that this year's team seems likely to erase, which has its pluses and minuses. The minus, obviously, is that the Padres haven't done something that Hideo Nomo did twice. The plus is that it's kinda neat that baseball allows for strange little anomalies like this.
Ian Kinsler had a strong April, but the last six weeks have been a lot less productive for the second baseman. He's got a sub-700 OPS because he's neither getting on base nor hitting for power often enough to help the team put runs on the board. Other players have landed more criticism for the slow offense, but Kinsler deserves a moment on the stage.
The Padres signed Cameron Maybin to a five-year, $25 million contract before the start of the season. Maybin is hitting .207 with a 603 OPS so far this season. Maybin did plenty to justify the contract before signing it. It would be nice if he rediscovered that part of his game.
Familiar Faces: Volquez pitched just 80 innings in a Texas uniform, but he has a major role in the rise of the franchise to consecutive AL pennants. Trading him for Josh Hamilton jolted the Rangers into another level, something that probably doesn't happen if Volquez has his arm problems while still wearing a "T" on his cap.