Arizona Diamondbacks (55-76) vs San Francisco Giants (71-59)
The D-Backs have been providing some excitement over the past week, with 3 walk off wins since last Monday. They still aren't all that good, going 5-6 against three of the worst teams in the NL, but at least they're giving us something fun to watch.
State of the Giants
After leading the majors in wins at one point, the Giants are in the midst of a nice little 10-15 August, and find themselves trailing the Dodgers by 2 games for the NL West lead. The pitching has taken a decline, allowing 4.43 runs per game since August 14, taking them from one of the best pitching rotations to a very average one. The Giants probably deserve a record better than the one they have, however. Over the last 2 weeks, the Giants have gone 5-10, but yet they have a +6 run differential.
Offensively, the Giants are looking healthy at the moment, with all 8 of their regular starters off the injury report. The two main threats are, unsurprisingly, Buster Posey and Brandon Belt. You know how it goes with the Giants, there aren’t any super weak spots 1-8 in the order. In their optimal lineup, their worst hitter has an OPS+ of 86, so the Giants are doing well. One name you will not see is Matt Duffy, who was traded to the Rays for Matt Moore. Other than that, it’s the usual suspects.
- The Giants are 28th in homers, so instead of giving up homers, D-Backs pitchers will be crushed by single after single after single. Yay.
- The D-Backs offense is on a good run, with three batters hitting over .380 in the last 2 weeks.
- It seems like Jake Lamb has been finding himself in this section week after week. In his last 52 plate appearances, he’s batting just .170.
- Buster Posey is hot, and you never want to face him when he’s on a roll. He’s hitting .390 in his last 11 games, although with not much power.
Nothing new for the D-Backs to report on.
Hunter Pence is currently day-to-day with hamstring tightness. Outfielder Gregor Blanco, reliever Derek Law, and starting pitchers Matt Cain and Jake Peavy have all been recently placed on the DL.
Game 1: Zack Greinke RHP (11-4, 4.29 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) vs Johnny Cueto RHP (14-4, 2.86 ERA, 1.08 WHIP)
Greinke hasn’t quite been the same since returning from injury on August 9. Even if you throw out his awful explosion against the Red Sox, he has had a 4.26 ERA since coming back. This would be a very meh number for any pitcher, let alone your ace. I don’t have any worries about a long term problem, but he’s just struggling to get his feet (er, obliques) back under him.
The Johnny Cueto signing is working out wonderfully for the Giants. His ERA is top-10, and WHIP is top-15 in the majors. He is known for all the little shimmies and shakes he does during each delivery, which I’m sure you’ll hear all about on the broadcast. Cueto has faced the D-Backs 3 times this year, going 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA. Should be a pitchers’ duel, and I’ll give the edge to Greinke.
Game 2: Robbie Ray LHP (7-12, 4.28 ERA, 1.43) vs Matt Moore LHP (8-10, 3.95 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)
The D-Backs actually don’t have anyone listed to pitch yet on Wednesday, but if they continue the order they have, it should be Ray. He has been getting a lot of positive attention, rightfully so, for his recent success and high strikeout numbers. It’ll be wonderful to have a solid number 2 to back Greinke up next year, if he continues his success.
Matt Moore put up the best start of his career last week, taking a no-no 8.2 innings before allowing a bloop single to end the no-hit bid. :-(. Obviously, not all his starts have been that great, but he has been solid since coming to San Fran from Tampa Bay, a 3.41 ERA in 5 starts. He has a tendency to allow more fly balls than most pitchers, which won’t hurt him too much in AT&T Park. Advantage to Ray.
Key to the Series
D-Backs Starting Pitching- I’m excited to see what Greinke and Ray can do in this series. Hopefully will be a preview of what’s to come next season.
D-Backs win both games.