Series Preview #43: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco Giants

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight, on a very special episode of Series Previews...

The 2013 San Francisco Giants are a bad team. They have more losses than anyone in the NL other than the Marlins or Cubs, and only Miami and Philly have worse Run Differentials. They could very well lose somewhere around 90 games.

Under different circumstances, they'd be the sort of team that you see coming up on the schedule that makes you something like, "If the Dbacks don't win 2 of 3, imma quit this team and watch Lotus F1 Racing instead."

And that's profoundly weird. Not the F1 Racing thing, soco, calm down. But the Giants won two of the last three World Series, and one of those came last year with almost exactly the same team.

They made a birthday cake last year and it was delicious, one of the best cakes of anyone's life. Then they came back the next year, combined the exact same ingredients in the same order, and came up with a cake that looked and smelled like a small pile of pencil shavings. It's just one of those things.

What the Stats Say (Courtesy of Fangraphs):


Arizona
(68-64)
San Francisco
(59-74)
Edge
Hitting (wRC+): 94 95 San Francisco
Pitching (ERA-/FIP-):
98/101 118/108 Arizona
Fielding (UZR):
40.1 23.7

Arizona


On May 13, the Giants completed a sweep of the Braves that brought them to 23-15 on the season. The pitching had been rocky to begin the young season, but the offense was hitting well thanks to a couple of surprise breakout performances, and the rotation had enough star power that things were bound to turn up.

Since that point, the Giants have gone 36-59, which would have them on pace for over 100 losses if it were extrapolated over the course of a full season. With the benefit of hindsight, it's possible we should have been more skeptical of an offense led by Brandon Crawford and Marco Scutaro. The pitching, if anything, got worse. And here we are.

Starting Lineups:

Arizona Diamondbacks

1. Adam Eaton, LF
2. A.J. Pollock, CF
3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
4. Aaron Hill, 2B
5. Martin Prado, 3B
6. Gerardo Parra, RF
7. Miguel Montero, C
8. Didi Gregorius, SS

San Francisco Giants

1. Gregor Blanco, RF
2. Marco Scutaro, 2B
3. Brandon Belt, 1B
4. Buster Posey, C
5. Hunter Pence, RF
6. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
7. Brandon Crawford, SS
8. Roger Kieschnick, RF

Just to keep pounding the point home, here was the Giants' most-used lineup in 2012, straight outta B-Ref:

10 Games

Pagan
Scutaro
Sandoval
Posey
Pence
Belt
Blanco
Crawford
Pitcher

Why that's...almost identical, actually. Sure Pagan hasn't been around for much of the season in 2013, which is a big reason why there's something called a Roger Kieschnick running around in Right Field. But jeez, the Giants won a World Series a year ago with this same damn lineup. And it was one of the better offenses in the league! Baseball's the stupidest thing, sometimes.

Starting Pitchers:

Friday: Randall Delgado (4-4, 3.87) vs. Tim Lincecum (7-13, 4.55)

Insightful Commentary: You'll never guess what happened to Randall Delgado in his last start. He pitched well for a while, and then allowed some home runs, and still came out of it with a kind of okay line. The nice thing about Delgado is that there's no mystery at this point. When he struggles, it's because he allows too many long balls. And when he doesn't struggle, frankly he's probably still allowing too many long balls. At this point I'm kinda hoping he struggles in a different way so I'll have something new to talk about.

I've said this before, but it bears repeating: over the past two years, Lincecum has a worse ERA+ than Ian Kennedy, and it isn't even close. His control has fallen off noticeably, and for some reason he's lost his ability to pitch with runners on base. He'll be thirty next June, and he's coming out of perhaps the friendliest pitching environment in baseball with the best pitching coach/space wizard in the game. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the fans that want their favorite team to sign Lincecum this offseason are probably going to be disappointed.

Saturday: Trevor Cahill (5-10, 4.39) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (3-4, 5.58)

Insightful Commentary: It's the Pitchers Trying to Rebuild their Mechanics And Salvage Something from a Bad Season Bowl, which is like the Sun Bowl, except that the Sun Bowl doesn't feature a mediocre team from Arizona playing in front of a half-empty stadium. Wait.

But both pitchers have been noticeably better lately, with Trevor's last two performances (the start and the weird relief appearance) yielding just one run in 11 innings, per the Diamondbacks' website. Vogelsong has been injured and abysmal for much of the season, but he's given up just two runs over his last 15 innings, which is almost enough for fans to pretend that he's turned a corner. Still, his 10:2 K:BB over that time is nice to see as well.

Sunday: Patrick Corbin (13-4, 2.79) vs. TBA

Insightful Commentary: For the first time this year, Patrick Corbin had a bad game. He struggled to open the game, and then looked like he was going to grind through it before a two-run homer in the fifth and a full meltdown in the sixth. You know, young pitcher stuff. I'm not worried about Corbin, since it's not exactly a trend for him, but he has blown through his professional innings high this year, so I wouldn't be surprised if fatigue was setting in a bit.

Rosters expand on Sunday, and I'm guess that's why the Giants are keeping this spot open. In my mind, every Giants pitching prospect is Eric Surkamp, so expect Eric Surkamp to make this start.

For People More Optimistic than I...

Dodgers (9.5 up) Upcoming Schedule:

C'mon guys let's be real for a second. We aren't catching the Dodgers.

Reds (6 up) Upcoming Schedule:

Road against Colorado

Friday: Bronson Arroyo vs. Jeff Manship
Saturday: Greg Reynolds vs. Jorge De La Rosa
Sunday: Mike Leake vs. Juan Nicasio

Playoff Odds (per Coolstandings.com): 10.1%

Giants Blog: McCovey Chronicles.

(All stats via Fangraphs or Baseball-Reference unless otherwise indicated.)

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