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Series Preview #51: Diamondbacks @ Giants

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The last road series of the year

A view of Oracle Park from McCovey Cove during a day game Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images

The season is rapidly coming to a close, and soon we won’t even have bad Diamondbacks baseball to watch. Instead, we’ll be watching other, despised teams play in the post season and then we’ll get to watch millionaires and billionaires fight over whether or not we get any baseball. That should be fun.

Before all that, however, this series is going to play a pivotal role in whether or not the Dodgers or Giants will win the NL West. It’s not exactly how we wanted to be front and center in the deciding who wins the division at the end of September, but it’s better than nothing. Depending on how the games play out, we might see the Giants clinch the division, as this thread on Twitter gives them about a 11% chance of clinching in the last game of this series.

Game 1: Luke Weaver (3-6, 1.15 WHIP, 96 ERA+) vs. Logan Webb (10-3, 1.11 WHIP, 136 ERA+)

This will be Weaver’s fifth start back from the IL, and he has been remarkably consistent, giving up three earned runs in three of his four starts so far. His defense didn’t do him any favors as he gave up an additional two unearned runs in his last start against Atlanta, but you can’t defend against home runs, which he gave up three.

Logan Webb has had a phenomenal season for the Giants. He has had a couple of rough outings in the past couple weeks, including his last start where he only lasted four innings and gave up four runs to the Padres. He’ll be looking for a bounce back start against the Diamondbacks this time around and to finish the regular season on a high note.

Game 2: Merrill Kelly (7-11, 1.28 WHIP, 92 ERA+) vs. Alex Wood (10-4, 1.21 WHIP, 103 ERA+)

Kelly has struggled since his return from the COVID list. His first start back was against the Dodgers, where he was tagged for four runs in 4.2 innings. The Braves got to him even worse, however, getting him for six earned runs in six innings. He’ll be looking to replicate his start against the Giants from August 5th, where he held them scoreless for eight innings.

Alex Wood has made two starts since returning from the IL for unspecified (probably COVID) reasons. Both starts have been short, as he has been building back up after the time off the mound. While short, both starts have been effective, giving up no earned runs or hits in his first, three inning, start, and only two earned runs in his second, four inning, start. My educated guess is he’ll be available for about 80 or so pitches this time around.

Game 3: Madison Bumgarner (7-10, 1.16 WHIP, 92 ERA+) vs. TBD

Madison Bumgarner has had a very up and down season all year. He’s had stretches where he has looked nearly as good as the Cy Young Award winning version of yore, and he’s had other stretches where shipping him to Greenland would be a mercy rather than a punishment. His last start against the Braves was right in the middle, where he went five innings and allowed three earned runs. He’s only pitched one other time against the Giants this season, and he held them to one run over seven innings.

Conclusion

My main hope for this series is to keep the Giants from clinching. I believe, if my understanding of magic numbers is correct, to keep that from happening, the Dbacks have to win one game and the Dodgers have to win a game in the same span, but I’m not positive. I do think the Diamondbacks will eek out a win, either in the Kelly game or the Bumgarner game, but no more than one. So that’s my prediction, Giants win the series two games to one.