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Series Preview #4: D-backs vs. Giants

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The Diamondbacks head west to face a division rival with a lot to prove.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants
It’s everyone’s favorite Pirate, only this time he’s orange and I still hate him.
D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off a series win against the Cardinals in St. Louis, the Diamondbacks head to the City by the Bay to open a three-game set against a Giants team hungry to put a disastrous 2017 season behind them. The Giants finished a rain-shortened two-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday, each team taking a game. Interestingly, both of these matchups went into extra-innings: the Giants took the first — a 14 inning marathon — thanks to a walk-off home run by Andrew McCutchen, while the Dodgers took the latter in a much more reasonable 10 innings.

Starting Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: RHP Zack Godley (1-0, 1.29 ERA) vs. LHP Derek Holland (0-1, 5.40 ERA) - Godley will be making his second start of the year after pitching a gem against the Dodgers last Tuesday, giving up 1 run (which was earned) on 4 hits and a walk while striking out 3 over 7 innings of work. Holland is also coming off of a start against the Dodgers, though his was decidedly less impressive: 5 runs (3 earned) on 3 hits and 3 walks. He punched out 4 in a 5 inning loss.

Giants hitters have seen some success against Godley, though the sample sizes are all pretty small. Of note are Hunter Pence, who’s 4-5 with 2 homers, and Andrew McCutchen, who has 3 hits in 4 at-bats against Zack.

Holland is an unfamiliar face in the NL, having spent most of his career in the Rangers and White Sox organizations. Only two D-backs have any experience against the lefty: Jarrod Dyson has been held hitless in 2 at-bats while Ketel Marte is 2-11 with an RBI.

Advantage: D-backs

Game 2: LHP Patrick Corbin (2-0, 1.38 ERA) vs. RHP Johnny Cueto (1-0, 0.69 ERA) - Corbin is coming off an incredible start against the Dodgers during which he threw 7.1 innings of 1-hit ball, walking just 1 while striking out a career-high 12 batters. The only Dodger to reach base against Patrick was the prodigal son Matt Kemp, returned to the NL West to wreak havoc upon its- oh, he’s 33 now. Huh.

Cueto is making his third start of the year, his last being a 6 inning stint against the Mariners. He gave up 1 run on 8 hits and 2 free passes, striking out 1.

Corbin has been adopted by Hunter Pence and must now refer to him as ‘Daddy’ at all times lest he risk having his pudding pops taken away: the 34-year-old outfielder owns a .480 batting average against Patrick in 25 plate appearances with 2 homers and 7 RBI. Brandon Crawford and Pablo Sandoval have also given Corby a few headaches.

As for Cueto, Paul Goldshmidt has hit the righty well, posting a batting average of .292 in 24 plate appearances with 2 homers and 6 RBI.

Advantage: Giants

Game 3: LHP Robbie Ray (2-0, 5.73 ERA) vs. TBD - The Giants still haven’t decided who they’ll be starting for this game. Back when the season started, Giants’ skipper Bruce Bochy announced that the team didn’t plan to roll out a fifth starter until April 10th. Seeing as that’s slated to be Cueto’s start, the aforementioned fifth starter should make his debut in this game on the 11th.

To start the season, Robbie Ray has been, well, Robbie Ray. The hard-throwing lefty has struck out 17 in 11 innings of work, but has also issued 8 walks and struggled locating his fastball. He’s coming off a good start against the Cardinals during which he went 6 innings, giving up an earned run on 2 hits and 5 walks, striking out 9.

A number of Giants have hit Robbie well, headlined by, say it with me folks, Hunter Pence. Mr. Pence, who I’m hearing has recently opened a shelter dedicated to helping battered snakes get their lives back on track, has hit .538 against Ray with an RBI in 13 AB’s. Andrew McCutchen and Joe Panik have also given Robbie trouble.

Advantage: Hunter Pence

Giants’ Key Contributor:

Joe Panik single-handedly won the Giants their first two contests of the season, homering off of Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen in back-to-back 1-0 wins. He leads the team with a .344 batting average and 3 homers. He is, however, susceptible to LHP’s and has yet to walk in 32 plate appearances.

Who to look out for:

Tony Watson has been lights-out to start 2018. In 4.2 innings-pitched the lefty has given up only 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7.

Keys to the Series:

Game 1: Strike Early - The faster our offense can put pressure on Holland, the faster he’s out of the game and Bochy has to turn to a bullpen that’s been depleted by back-to-back extra-innings affairs.

Game 2: Be Patient - Cueto is not a strikeout pitcher. If our batters can lay off breaking balls meant to induce weak contact and force the righty to throw more pitches in the zone, we could be looking at a short night for Johnny.

Game 3: TBD

Prediction:

Based on how well our starters have pitched coming into this series, 2 out of 3 should be attainable. If two or more of the starters have an off day and Hunter Pence continues to feast on D-backs pitching, we could be looking at 1 out of 3 or face getting swept.

Poll

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

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    0 wins (Swept...)
    (7 votes)
  • 9%
    1 win
    (16 votes)
  • 60%
    2 wins
    (100 votes)
  • 25%
    3 wins (Sweep!)
    (41 votes)
164 votes total Vote Now