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Gameday Thread, #109: 8/1 vs. Giants

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Ian Kennedy
RHP, 12-3, 3.22

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Matt Cain
RHP, 9-6, 2.91

Getting this one up early, since I suspect a lot of people will want to chat tonight. Really, if the prospect of this series doesn't get your pulse racing, you probably have a fondness for brains and a top speed of 1.2 mph. It's probably the most important set of games for the team since September 2008, when the Dodgers came to Chase for the first weekend, with the D-backs clinging to a 1.5 game lead. However, Haren lost 7-0, Webb 7-2, we were swept in the six-game homestand and never tasted first again. Time to reverse that, and beat the division leaders on their own turf, as Operation Giant Killer enters its final, most crucial phase...

Oh, and, of course: Goldschmidt happens...

But we should note, it's probably not going to be decisive. About the only result that would be is a Giants sweep, which would leave the D-backs five back, and in a deep hole, with only six games against SF left. Even if we were to drop two of three, Arizona would be three behind, which could be overcome. On the positive side, taking two of three brings us within one - and the Giants then welcome the NL best Phillies. Of course, the perfect scenario is a sweep, but I'm not even thinking about that until we get there. One step at a time, folks:

  1. Avoid the sweep
  2. Take the series
  3. Sweep
  4. Profit.

Both starters come into the game with a streak of four consecutive quality starts, so I'd be taking the 'under' as a prop bet on the runs tonight. Kennedy is 4-0 with a 2.42 ERA; Cain, 2-1 with a 1.44 ERA. However, it's worth nothing each pitcher's results against the opposition in 2011. Ian has yet to allow a single earned run against San Francisco, over 16 innings - they've been limited to eight hits, with a K:BB ratio of 18:4. Cain, on the other hand, has seen the D-backs three times; while he has won all three games, he has allowed eight runs in 20.1 innings, a 3.54 ERA. We've got 19 hits, with a 14:5 K:BB ratio.

Last time, in particular, Arizona did well, tagging Matt for five runs in 6.2 innings on eight hits and two walks, and only the Giants scoring six runs gave Cain the W. They've haven't got past four in his eight starts since, and indeed, have only reached six, five times in the 41 games since that evening - as a yardstick, the Diamondbacks have hit the taco level of offense twice as often over the same time-frame. But make no mistake: Cain is a good pitcher - our roster hit a collective .225 off him, lifetime - and the team must a) play sound, fundamental baseball, without giving up outs or handing San Francisco extra ones, and b) take advantage of their opportunities.

Here's the AZ line-up.

  1. Willie Bloomquist SS
  2. Kelly Johnson 2B
  3. Justin Upton RF
  4. Miguel Montero C
  5. Chris Young CF
  6. Ryan Roberts 3B
  7. Paul Goldschmidt 1B
  8. Gerardo Parra LF
  9. Ian Kennedy RHP

Remember where you were tonight, for the first game of the Goldschmidt era.