Remember that first series after the All Star Break where the Giants beat the Diamondbacks for two out of three games? That was their last series win at home. Times were better then: the Dodgers weren’t leading the division, the Dodgers weren’t in first, and the Dodgers hadn’t gone on some insane winning streak on the road yet to help catapult them into first and get some breathing room there as well. Come back to the present and now the Giants are tied for the sixth-worst record with the Cubs and Phillies (hello, more draft pool money!). Today the Giants throw out Matt Cain to go up against former Houston Astro and trade target of the Giants, Bud Norris. Here’s who Cain will be up against this afternoon:
I’m sure there’s a good reason for Nick Markakis batting third over Chris Davis. Has to be a good reason.
Aug 1, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; After his first win as a member of the Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Bud Norris (25) gets a shaving cream pie in the face after a game against the Houston Astros at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Astros 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Bud Norris, this is what you get today:
Despite Brett Pill being able to crush RHP in his possibly small sample size set of numbers that you will see linked there, the lightning rod and possibly “hot bat” Brandon Belt is batting third. Roger Kieschnick and his nearly fifty-percent K% will bat seventh. Fifty-percent. I would rather have him start than Jeff Francoeur though, so don’t take that as me complaining we have someone clearly better to use.
Back to the topic of today’s starting pitchers, since Bud Norris has left the Land of First Overall Draft Picks, he’s had two starts of six innings, keeping the opponents at bay with two walks in each start and surrendering only five hits or less. Granted, his opponents were the Astros and Padres, but let’s not kid ourselves that the Giants offense is anything so spectacular that we should expect the Giants should blow up on him. If they get shut out, the people will say, “classic Giants!” If they take out Norris before the fifth inning, they’ll say, “This is what they’re capable of!” Norris has thrown at least five innings in all but one of his starts when he went 0.2 IP against Oakland in April.
Second half Matt Cain has it going on right now, putting himself in a prime position to be Cained in each of his four outings. Two earned runs or less each time, eight baserunners or less, and at least seven innings pitched in three of his four starts. The Giants are 2-2 in those four games he has pitched. Before his home run that he allowed in his previous start, he had gone six consecutive games where he did not allow a dinger, his longest stretch of the season.
In other news, Happy Birthday, Panda!
Sunday’s rubber match begins at 1:05PM PST. After the game, the Giants have a day off before getting ready for an East Coast trip in Washington and Miami.