Walking the Plank
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If the Giants plan to contend, they need to find every way to win three of four games. Although Holland and Rodriguez give them good chances, they will need to have solid pitching all throughout this weekend. After struggling to get runs last weekend, the Giants mustered only one run per game against the Astros.
The pitchers the Pirates are throwing out there are not as dominant as what Houston threw out there, but they need to start hitting better with runners in scoring position. Several opportunities were wasted in the last series, continuing to push their clutch numbers into oblivion. The bullpen for Pittsburgh has put up some pretty pedestrian numbers, so it would behoove the Giants to get the starters out of the game early.
Speaking of the bullpen, they were exposed in their last series as well. Being fairly reliable all season long, they caved in against the Astros, with the tally up to 25 blown saves in 51 opportunities. You might think this is better than last year, but it isn’t. The Giants had 23 blown saves in a similar amount of opportunities. The relievers aren’t perfect, especially when they’ve been relied upon so much lately, but they have to keep the Giants in their games.
The Giants cannot play down to the Pirates. I think a split is reasonable to expect here given the matchups and the performances lately. Again, if the Giants want to be in this thing they have to compete and start stringing wins together.
The Pirates know this just as much as the Giants do, as they are in their own race. This will be the final series of the short homestand before the Giants head on the road to Los Angeles.