Jun 25, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (right) celebrates with catcher Hector Sanchez (29) after throwing a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park. The San Francisco Giants defeated the San Diego Padres 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco Giants look to return to winning way against Cards

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The last time the San Francisco Giants played the St. Louis Cardinals, a four-game set ending on June 1st, the Orange and Black took three of four while still riding that incredible surge which saw them take 31 of 42 games.  Even though they were without Brandon Belt and Matt Cain, the Giants found a way to get it done.

Since then, the Cards are 12 and 10, including a five and five mark in their last ten games.  Since that series, the Giants are 9 and 16, going three and seven and their last ten games.  The Cards are 44-39 overall, and are six-and-half games back of the Milwaukee Brewers in the Central Division, while the Giants are 46-36, one-half game back of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The last three series the Cardinals have played included four against the Dodgers, four against the Phillies and three against the Colorado Rockies.  They split with the Phillies and took two of three from the Rockies, but won only one of the four games with L. A.  In the most recent series with the Dodgers, St. Louis scored a total of four runs in the four games, three of them coming in the lone victory.

In San Francisco’s most recent series against the Cincinnati Reds, the Giants scored a total of six runs in the four games, while giving up twenty.  If not for Tim Lincecum’s no-hit gem against the San Diego Padres, it would be painfully difficult to find any element of June that hinted of any kind of positive note for the G-men.

That being said, neither team is lighting up the scoreboard, and both are looking up at another team in front in the division, so both have motivation to succeed.  Any advantage the Giants may have at AT&T Park, has been difficult to spot in the last two home-stands, including the current one, during which they are a combined 5-12.  It looks like a series up for grabs.

Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals

Yadier Molina always plays tough against San francisco.  Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Yadier Molina (.280, 78 hits, 7 HR, 28 RBI’s), the Cards’ venerable catcher, went 3 for 16 in his last seven games, with one home run and two RBI’s.  Mike Adams (.325, 82 H, 9 HR, 33 RBI’s) at first base fared better, with six hits in twenty at-bats, and he also had one big fly and two runs batted in.  At second base Mark Ellis (.194, 26 H, 0 HR & 12 RBI’s) had five hits in twenty-two AB’s, with three doubles.  Shortstop Jhonny Peralta (.241, 68 H, 11HR, 36 RBI’s) contributed with two doubles, a home run and five RBI’s.  And over at third, Matt Carpenter (.281, 89 H, 4 HR,  31 RBI’s) also had a homer and two doubles, knocking in four.

In left field, our old buddy Matt Holliday (.264, 79 H, 5 HR, 39 RBI’s), had two doubles among his six hits, with no home runs and one run batted in.  Center fielder Jon Jay (.296, 56 H, 1 HR, 20 RBI’s) had three singles in fourteen AB’s with no RBI’s and right fielder Allen Craig (.255, 81 H, 6 HR, 40 RBI’s) had five base knocks with one double and two RBI’s.

The Giants will face Marco Gonzalez, who made his major league debut Wednesday against the Rockies, after being called up from Double-A ball.  Gonzalez rocked a 2.33 ERA prior to being called up.

San Francisco will also face Adam Wainwright (10-4, 2.01 ERA) and M. Wacha (5-5, 2.79 ERA) in the three-game series, beginning Tuesday night at AT&T Park.  Tim Lincecum will be making his first start after the no-hitter last Wednesday.

It’s no secret that the Giants are glad to be out of June.  With Angel Pagan and Brandon Belt nearing game-readiness, the Giants have every reason to believe they will be able to climb back into the winning bracket.   

Looking at the Dodgers’ 8-2 record in their last ten games,  San Francisco cannot afford to dawdle.  On the other hand, once back at full strength, look to see the Giants give the Dodgers a good battle.  San Francisco still owns a 7-3 lead in head-to-head meetings.

The Giants need to take this upcoming series from the Cardinals, and finish up strongly before the All-Star Break.  Then we’ll leave it up to Brian Sabean to determine if a move is needed.  I don’t think so, but that will be determined by whether or not the Giants can recover their mojo. 

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