After squeaking by the Marlins in a three-game set, the San Francisco Giants have another series against the Padres.
The last time they squared off was over a month and a half ago when the San Francisco Giants bested the Padres over three games.
A lot has happened over the last month and a half, but both teams are still in the same places as when they last met.
The Giants are having a good amount of success at home. If they intend on making a run at the division, they’ll need to take care of the Padres in this series.
They will get their hot-handed shortstop Brandon Crawford back, who is coming off paternity leave for the birth of his fourth child.
This will also be the first time the Padres see Bumgarner this season, marking his 32nd appearance against this franchise. This is the most times he has faced a franchise, as he is currently tied between the Padres and the Diamondbacks.
Game One: Bumgarner (0-2, 4.67 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) vs. Ross (5-4, 3.51 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)
Tyson Ross is 1-0 against the Giants this season, and the Padres won both games he started. In each of those games, Ross went six innings and gave up no more than one run. The Padres are 10-4 when Ross starts, making him the “ace” of the rotation. Nick Hundley, Austin Jackson and Joe Panik don career batting averages over .400 against Ross, with Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt hitting well into the .300s against him.
Bumgarner is 10-9 in his career against the Padres and will look to regain some more of his command against them on Thursday night. Hunter Renfroe is the biggest challenge for Bumgarner, as he has two career home runs against the lefty. Renfroe’s numbers have been down from his rookie year, but the five hits in 10 career at-bats are nothing to scoff at.
Game Two: Stratton (8-4, 4.22 ERA, 1.35 WHIP) vs. Richard (6-6, 4.31 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)
Clayton Richard is on a hot streak this month. He has racked up over 20 innings and three consecutive wins, giving up only 6 earned runs and a home run. However, his last start against the Giants was no picnic. Richard only went four innings, giving up six runs, four walks, and eight hits. A lot of Giants have good history against Richard, including Andrew McCutchen and Buster Posey. Each of them have a pair of home runs against Richard.
Chris Stratton has been fairly impressive in the month of June, especially considering it was the Giants offense that got him most of his wins in May. He is 2-1 in June and has given up only six earned runs in those starts. In his last start, he staved off a hot Dodgers team to avoid a sweep on the road. In his only start against the Padres this season, he went seven innings, giving up only one hit and three walks. This should be pretty encouraging for Friday night’s game at AT&T.
Game Three: Suarez (2-4, 4.70 ERA, 1.23 WHIP) vs. Lyles (2-4, 4.46 ERA, 1.28 WHIP)
Due to the dire situation in their rotation, Jordan Lyles was asked in early May to convert from reliever to starter. Since then his numbers have ballooned quite a bit, and his outings have been inconsistent. Just when it looks like he has shades of dominance, he has outings where he gives up 4-plus earned runs and can’t get past the sixth inning. Lyles has seen the Giants three times, and all in relief appearances. The Giants have seen Lyles quite a bit over the years, with McCutchen having the best career numbers.
Andrew Suarez has fortified himself into this rotation. And after having a bleak May that saw him losing three consecutive starts, he really has turned it around. His best outing of the year by far was against the Phillies on June 2. Although, let us not forget his outing against San Diego on May 1. He went seven innings, gave up two runs and went home without a decision. Eric Hosmer hit a triple and eventually scored against Suarez and the Giants in the fourth inning. Ultimately, it was Hosmer who decided the game with his go-ahead solo shot in the ninth.
Game Four: Rodriguez (2-1, 4.56 ERA, 1.52 WHIP) vs. Lauer (3-4, 5.47 ERA, 1.84 WHIP)
Eric Lauer is having one hell of a rookie season. After having a May full of turmoil, June shines a little more brightly on the young lefty. Ironically, his first MLB career start came against the Giants, when he gave up three earned runs over five innings. He did not get a decision in that game, but he did get some experience against the Giants lineup. McCutchen when 2-for-2 in Lauer’s debut, with a triple and a walk. Posey had an RBI double in that game, and Austin Jackson had an RBI single. Lauer only gave up one run and three hits in six innings of work in his last start.
Dereck Rodriguez is arguably the fresh air needed for this rotation. Albeit his start against the Nationals was not great, he has otherwise kept the Giants in their games. He kept the pesky Marlins at bay for two starts in a row. The small sample size is what is the biggest question mark, but there is definitely a lot to be said for him. He’ll be tasked with keeping the Giants on the winning side of the equation before a much needed off day.
How can the Giants avoid the June Swoon?
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The ill-fated June Gloom hit the Giants, but not really in the loss column. The Giants will be without their starting third baseman Evan Longoria, opening up an opportunity for Pablo Sandoval and company. Alen Hanson just fouled a ball off his knee and might be visiting the disabled list. Hunter Strickland punched a door and has made his way to the disabled list. After his boneheaded play last Friday, Austin Jackson will likely never see regular time in center field again. Of course, Gorkys Hernandez having a hot bat doesn’t help his case much either.
Yes, the Giants are without a few guys that could have and should have been key factors in this first half, but they’re managing without them so far. That being said, the Giants are not out of June yet. This four-game series will be another test for them to not play down to a lesser opponent. We all know what happens when you sleep on teams like the Marlins and Padres.
The biggest X-Factor for me is the bullpen. After losing Strickland, the Giants are experimenting with closers until they find one that sticks. It seems that Sam Dyson might have been able to step up to the role, but he almost blew it for the Giants on Wednesday afternoon. Luckily, Reyes Moronta came in to clean up after his mess and got the final out to secure a win against the Marlins. Ty Blach has proved serviceable in his time as the middle-long relief guy, which is good for a rotation that struggles to make it past the fifth inning.
Make no mistake, the Padres are not a contender this year. So if the Giants intend on staying relevant in the NL West, they will need to win at least three games this series. They’re in more than a perfect position for it, but they need to execute.