If you’ll recall a similar series a little over a month ago, the red-hot June Diamondbacks were tasked with facing a similarly hot Giants team. Be it by complacency, cooling off, or a little bit of both, the Snakes were completely outmatched before ultimately being swept at home in three games and seeing their division lead drop from 3.5 games over the Dodgers and 5.5 games over the Giants to 2.5 over both. And while the Giants are considerably less formidable now than during that late June series, so too is the Diamondbacks’ spot at the top of the division. It can be argued that this is just a series at the beginning of August, but in a division as tight as the NL West every game matters, and as such there is a much smaller margin of error than there was even a month ago.
A few things have contributed to the Giants more or less falling out of the playoff discussion. Brandon Crawford has cooled off since the start of July, when he was triple slashing .315/.377/.507 with an OPS of .884. Since July 1st Crawford has slashed .200/.283/.242, good for a putrid .525 OPS. He has had only four extra base hits all month, all doubles.
The Giants pitching staff has remained about league average, a severe detriment in a division rife with great pitchers. It’s important to note that this Giants staff has still performed better over the last month than the Diamondbacks’, but considerably worse than both the Rockies’ and the Dodgers’. This can be contributed to a poor Diamondbacks bullpen (which has posted a 4.41 ERA in the month of July, a far cry from its early-season dominance) and the emergence of Dereck Rodriguez (4-1, 2.70 ERA) and return of Madison Bumgarner (3-4, 3.06), who have served to stimulate an otherwise mediocre Giants staff.
Starting Pitching Matchups
Game 1: LHP Madison Bumgarner (3-4, 3.06 ERA) vs. RHP Zack Greinke (12-5, 2.96 ERA)
Game 2: TBD vs. LHP Patrick Corbin (7-4, 3.26 ERA)
Game 3: TBD vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (4-1, 2.65 ERA)
Game 4: TBD vs. LHP Robbie Ray (3-2, 5.05 ERA)
It’s hard to have any expectations other than “win some games” when only one starting pitcher in a four-game series has been decided on, so these predictions will be based on the Giants offense in relation to the Diamondbacks pitching. Since July 1st the Giants offense has slashed .239/.304/.350, good for an OPS of .654. In that same time frame the Diamondbacks staff has a collective 4.34 ERA (nearly a full run greater than its June ERA) while averaging 9.2 SO/9 and 3.3 BB/9. Given the Giants offense’s relative strikeout tendency (7.7 SO/9) and low power numbers against a revamped Diamondbacks pitching staff featuring one of the hottest pitchers in all of baseball in Zack Greinke (7-0 with a 1.53 ERA, .91 WHIP, and 53 strikeouts over his last 8 games), 3 out of 4 and a series win is a definite possibility. If Robbie Ray can pitch more like two starts ago in Chicago and the hot Diamondbacks offense can figure out Giants ace Madison Bumgarner and flame-throwing reliever Reyes Moronta, a series sweep could be in order.
How do you think the D-backs will fare against the Giants?
This poll is closed
0 wins (Swept...)
4 wins (Sweep!)