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Series Preview #6: D-backs vs. Giants

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The Snakes return to the desert to open a six-game homestand against a pair of division opponents.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Due up first: the San Francisco Giants.

The Giants arrive at Chase Field fresh off a series loss to the lowly San Diego Padres which saw San Fran’s offense disappear after a 7-0 clobbering of the Dads in game 1 and their Bum-and-Shark-less starting rotation hammered to the tune of 11 earned runs in 20.1 innings pitched, good for an ERA of 4.93. As I write this, Bruce Bochy is scouring Silicon Valley in search of some way to clone Johnny Cueto.

The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, open the set following their 5th consecutive series win to start the season, this time over the Los Angeles Dodgers. No sweep this time though, as starter Zack Godley churned out a real stinker against Clayton Kershaw in the series finale. The bigger loss, however, is Taijuan Walker, who exited his start on Saturday after the 2nd inning due to on no, oh geez, “right forearm tightness”. Happy thoughts, folks, happy thoughts…

Starting Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: LHP Patrick Corbin (2-0, 2.45 ERA) vs. RHP Johnny Cueto (1-0, 0.69 ERA) - The man of the nice ERA returns to the Giants’ rotation following a brief stint on the disabled list thanks an ankle sprain. Ideally, Cueto’s rustiness on the mound will translate to a fairly easy victory against an opponent who has held Arizona hitters not named Paul Goldshmidt or AJ Pollock in check for most of his career.

Corbin is coming off of a shaky start against these same Giants during which he cruised through 5 innings before hitting a roadblock in the 6th, ultimately conceding 3 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks, though he also struck out a commendable 9 batters. Hopefully we see less of that Corbin and more of the one who pitched 7.1 shutout innings on a hit and a walk with 12 K’s against the Dodgers at Chase two weeks ago.

Advantage: D-backs

Game 2: LHP Robbie Ray (2-0, 5.74 ERA) vs. RHP Chris Stratton (1-1, 2.60 ERA) - Stratton is a 3rd starter turned ace who has taken on the role without a hitch. In 17.1 innings pitched, the righty has given up only 5 earned runs. His most recent start saw him take a one-hit shutout into the 8th against the Padres.

Robbie Ray has continued to be difficult to start the season. The hard-throwing lefty struggled against the Giants in his last outing before exiting with 2 outs in the 4th following a two-run blast by Buster Posey. That being said, I can’t help but feel like Robbie is due for a return to form and that this will be the game he does so.

Advantage: D-backs

Game 3: RHP Zack Greinke (1-1, 5.29 ERA) vs. LHP Ty Blach (1-2, 4.43 ERA) - Ty Blach has been wildly inconsistent to start 2018. After a respectable 5 inning duel with Kershaw on Opening Day, Blach has given up 11 runs (10 earned) in 15.1 innings pitched. He has a practically clean slate against the D-backs, however, so it’s tough to tell which Blach we’ll be getting.

In no way is Zack Greinke a bad pitcher. To suggest as much is dumb and should be met with a suitably dumb laugh track a la Big Bang Theory, hahah, Sheldon, yes “bazinga” hahah yes “Zimbabwe”. That being said, the 14-year vet has recently seen his velocity fall hard, thus forcing him to rely much more on precisely painting the outside corners of the strike zone with low-90’s fastballs and various types of breaking balls, and while he’s seen a ton of success with this approach, he’s also seen an influx in the number of long balls he yields. In only 3 starts, Zack has already given up 4 home runs. If he’s going to keep the title of ace, he needs to limit the homers and limit them soon.

Advantage: Even

Breakout Candidate: Evan Longoria

The Giants have adopted the “Arizona Cardinals” style of talent acquisition: do whatever you can to get as many dudes on the wrong side of 30 on your team as possible and pray they play the way they did when they were 25. That being said, the Giants’ trade for Evan Longoria does make some short-term sense: he’s not that old, and he patches a huge hole the Giants had last season at 3rd base while providing some much needed pop to a lineup that was putrid in 2017.

Er, he’s done the former at least. The team is still waiting for his bat to show up, and their wait seems to be paying off, with the 3rd baseman picking up 4 hits in his last 7 at-bats. However, Longoria’s lack of consistency at the plate has been very unlike Longoria, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he went ham this series… or a respectable 4-12 with a couple of walks. Either way, keep an eye on the vet.

Prediction:

Unless something goes terribly wrong (which, let’s face it, is perfectly likely), I can’t imagine finishing this series without winning at least 2 out of 3, and if Corbin can recover from his shaky exit last Tuesday, we could be looking at a sweep.

Poll

How do you think the D-backs will fare against the Giants?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    No wins (Swept...)
    (18 votes)
  • 14%
    1 win
    (31 votes)
  • 49%
    2 wins
    (109 votes)
  • 28%
    3 wins (Sweep!)
    (62 votes)
220 votes total Vote Now