San Francisco Giants return to desert for another D-Back series
By Nick Vezmar
Coming off fresh from a rare road sweep of the Padres, the San Francisco Giants got a day off as they headed to Arizona. They face the Diamondbacks in a four game set, a rematch of the June/July series that saw the Giants sweeping the snakes. However, this Arizona team is not the same as we saw a month ago. They are neck-and-neck with the Dodgers for first place in the NL West, and up in second place for the Wild Card.
The Giants, who did nothing at the trade deadline, are standing pat with their lineup and rotation. This past series the men in Orange and Black continued with their offensive struggles, and their bullpen became a liability. Hopefully with the off day, the Giants can find ways to take advantage of their scoring chances. The bullpen, who has been used quite a bit in the extra inning battles, also got an important day of rest.
This is a crucial series for the Giants to win if they want to gain a spot in the division, and games have turned from should win to must win. The Diamondbacks are feeling the pressure as well, after the Dodgers retooled their infield to address weaknesses in their lineup. I don’t expect either team to roll over, which should lead to a fun divisional match-up.
Game One: Bumgarner (3-4, 3.06 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) vs. Greinke (12-5, 2.96 ERA, 1.05 WHIP)
After posting some bad numbers in Oakland, Madison Bumgarner had a great start against the Milwaukee Brewers. He went eight solid, only giving up two earned runs on six hits and one walk. The Giants offense was, yet again, fairly silent in that start. His last matchup against the D-Backs came on June 5th at AT&T Park, where he gave up two runs on eight hits over six innings. His rough second inning, and the Giants lack of offense, sealed his first loss after returning from the disabled list. Paul Goldschmidt is Bumgarner’s biggest adversary, though that goes without saying for a lot of the Giants’ pitching staff.
Zack Greinke on the other hand has been pretty consistent all year, and the month of July saw him post four winning decisions. This is the second time the Giants see Greinke at Chase Field this season. In his first start against the Giants in April, he went seven innings giving up only one run on three hits. Nick Hundley and Andrew McCutchen have good career numbers against Greinke, but it’s likely Hundley won’t be playing given the off day. The Giants need Bumgarner to be on his game against this tough starter.
Game Two: Stratton (8-6, 5.14 ERA, 1.46 WHIP) vs. Corbin (7-4, 3.26 ERA, 1.06 WHIP)
Making his second stint of starts in the MLB is Chris Stratton, who is tasked with the Friday night game. He faced Arizona twice, and his last start at Chase Field was arguably one of his best this season. Stratton went seven strong, allowing only one run on five hits, while striking out eight and walking nobody. It has been a while since his dominant starts of April, considering his last start against the D-Backs in June he only went four innings and was pulled for a pinch hitter in a crunch situation. No surprise, Goldschmidt gives Stratton a nightmare to the tune of three doubles and two RBI.
The Giants see another tough lefty in Patrick Corbin, whom the Giants have seen three times this season. In both starts at home, he has limited them to less than one earned run, including a complete game shutout. Corbin struggled during the month of July, giving up at least four earned runs in two of his five starts. Still, the Giants have a hell of a time hitting lefties with any kind of consistency, so this is yet another challenge for the lineup. Hunter Pence has the best career numbers against Corbin with four doubles, four home runs and eleven RBI.