San Francisco Giants See Rockies for a Mid-Week Series
By Nick Vezmar
After taking care of business and winning three-out-of-four games from the Padres, the San Francisco Giants got a much needed day of rest.
On Tuesday the San Francisco Giants will start a three-game set against the Rockies, who are slowly starting to show signs of weakness.
The month of May was quite fortuitous for the Denver team, going 15-11 for the month and 4-3 against the Giants.
June has been quite a different tale for both teams. The Rockies are currently 8-14 for the month of June and are 4-5 on the road, bringing their total road record to 23-18.
In the Giants last home series against the Rockies, they split the series evenly in the four-game set. Still, the Giants have been a much better home team in the month of June with a 10-3 record.
They will look to clinch a winning month, avoiding their predictable June Swoon, and trying to stay alive in the NL West.
Game One: Holland (5-7, 4.48 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) vs. Bettis (5-1, 5.23 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)
What better way to start off a series than with a guy who is becoming a staple in the rotation? Derek Holland was probably the last guy we’d all expect to shore up the starters. However, he has done a more than decent job in the month of June (2-1, 3.15 ERA).
His last outing against the Rockies came on May 30 where he went five innings and gave up four earned runs at Coors Field. The Giants ended up winning that game, giving Holland his third win of the season.
Chris Iannetta is my “player to look out for”, as he is 10-for-31 against Holland with a home run and six RBI.
Chad Bettis has not shared the same success in June as Holland. He has given up at least five earned runs in each of his starts in June and was unable to get past the sixth inning in most of them.
His last start against the Giants saw him give up five earned runs and 10 hits. Since having a great start to the season, Bettis’ numbers are skyrocketing. It’s safe to say Bettis cannot wait for June to be over.
Brandon Belt is one of the key guys who can give Bettis a lot of trouble, going 9-for-22 with a home run and three walks.
Game Two: Bumgarner (1-2, 3.20 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) vs. Freeland (7-6, 3.55 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)
After his great start against the Padres, Madison Bumgarner will have an opportunity to continue to improve his season numbers. This will be the first time he will see the Rockies this season.
Last season in his only start against the Rockies at home, Bumgarner went six innings and gave up three earned runs.
Bumgarner’s stuff is looking sharper than ever, but the Rockies are not quite a pushover team like the Padres can be.
Carlos Gonzalez has arguably the best career numbers against him, with 5 home runs and 10 RBI tallied in 59 at-bats.
Kyle Freeland continues to be one of the best starters in the Rockie’s rotation and basically keeps them relevant in the division. He has hit the century mark in all of his June starts, getting three quality starts and two wins. In his two starts against the Giants, he limited to them to a total of four earned runs over 12 innings pitched.
Joe Panik comes in with the most career hits (7) against Freeland. For someone who has been experiencing a quiet lull, this is a good game for him to get back on track.
Game Three: Stratton (8-5, 4.14 ERA, 1.36 WHIP) vs. Gray (7-7, 5.52 ERA, 1.45 WHIP)
I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face, but June has been great for the Giant’s starting rotation. No one starter has benefitted more than Chris Stratton has, as he shows off his best numbers of the season.
He has only seen the Rockies once this season, and went five innings and gave up three earned runs. His last start against the Padres was spoiled by a poor ninth inning and some botched defense. Stratton and the Giants look to solidly conclude the month of June on the Thursday getaway game.
However, Charlie Blackmon (4-for-7, 1 HR) and company will do their best to mar their efforts.
The Rockies will need their offense, as Jon Gray has been horrible against the Giants this season. In two starts, he could not get out of the fourth inning and gave up nine total earned runs in those starts. His last start against Miami gave him his seventh win of the season, and he will need that momentum to break his funk.
Brandon Crawford and Andrew McCutchen will give Gray a run for his money; both having outstanding career numbers against him.
The Last Homestand…
This will be the last home series for the Giants in June, who turned it around after a dicey May. So far they have taken advantage of their home games and will need to take at least two games in this series before heading to Arizona.
There remains one big question mark for the month of June, and that is the bullpen.
When it seems like they’re becoming a dominant force, they hiccup and blow leads or put the game out of reach. When it seems like they’re struggling, they shut down tough opponents with ease. This rollercoaster of a bullpen has become really unpredictable, moreso in the month of June.
The offense has also taken a hit (pun intended). They are posting their worst numbers of the season, with regressions from some key players. Ironically, the Giants last season had their best offense in the month of June.
So what has been the key for the Giants this June? Clutch moments.
Whether it be Hunter Pence‘s game-winning double on Sunday or Pablo Sandoval‘s go-ahead 16th inning single against the Marlins, the Giants have found a way to get it done offensively.
Next: San Francisco Giants can Compete in Wide Open National League
They will likely need more of those moments against the Rockies. Combine that with some good starts, and the Giants should have little issue getting another series win.