After the painful split last week, the San Francisco Giants will have another duel with the Mets, and this time it will be on their turf.
Not much has changed for either team except in terms of personnel. More importantly, the Giants traded Andrew McCutchen to the Yankees for a couple of their mid-level prospects. This paves the way for Chris Shaw to get some playing time in the majors, and we will see if his power transfers over.
The Giants offense still continues to put up meager numbers, and they will not be combating the Mets rotation with their two best arms. Stranger things have happened this season, but if the Orange and Black cannot take care of business, this will ultimately shut the door on any glimmer of playoff hope.
Regardless of playoffs or not, the Giants need to start the month of September off on a high note. They have their first challenge against a team that is statistically worse than they are. However, I don’t expect the Mets to come into town and be a proverbial doormat. Here are the match-ups…
Game One: Suarez (5-9, 4.42 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) vs. Wheeler (9-6, 3.46 ERA, 1.21 WHIP)
Andrew Suarez pitched well in his last game against the Rangers, going seven innings and giving up only three hits while striking out five. Unfortunately the month of August has not been so kind to him, with two starts where he has given up more than five earned runs. He has not faced the Mets this season, and their offense has not been the best against lefties. The long season has clearly gotten to Suarez, but his last start was a good indicator that there might be something left in the tank.
Opposing him is former Giants pitching prospect Zack Wheeler. In his last start against the Giants, he went seven strong while only allowing one run. The Giants got the best of the Mets’ bullpen and ended up winning the game while Wheeler walked away without a decision. Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford have the best history against Wheeler, and both have been slumping towards the end of this season. Needless to say this will be a good opportunity for them to pick it up.
Game Two: Holland (7-8, 3.65 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) vs. Matz (5-11, 4.36 ERA, 1.31 WHIP)
Turning the page on another solid summer month of starts, Derek Holland continues to help this rotation that has suffered some major losses. He went five innings in his last start against the Mets, giving up only one earned run. He was ultimately pulled due to his high pitch count, but had no problem keeping their lineup at bay. Former Giant Austin Jackson has the most history against him, but he is only 5-for-24. In fact, all three plate appearances resulted in outs for the outfielder in Holland’s last start.
Steven Matz paired two good starts together, including a five inning, two run effort against the Giants. However, the bullpen got shellacked and the bats went quiet in his last start, earning Matz his eleventh loss of the season. His stats are a far cry from what they were a couple years ago, and he has been pretty rocky in the last two months. There’s not much in the way of history against this lineup, although Evan Longoria does have a home run against him. That homer came in the first inning of Matz’s last start against the Giants.
Game Three: Stratton (9-7, 4.99 ERA, 1.46 WHIP) vs. Syndergaard (9-3, 3.51 ERA, 1.28 WHIP)
Wrapping up the home-stand is Chris Stratton, who pitched fairly well in his last start against the Mets. His 6 1/3 inning effort was nullified by Tony Watson‘s unpredictable blowup in the 8th inning. Be that as it may, Stratton has looked good in his last two starts, especially in his last home start against the Diamondbacks. If he can continue this good momentum, it’ll make his late Spring struggles look like a fluke.
The month of August has not been the kindest to Noah Syndergaard, although he has gone 3-2 in his six starts this month. It should be noted that both losses came on the road, where he has struggled a bit. His last start against the Giants saw him go six innings, striking out six batters and giving up only two runs on five hits. Joe Panik is one of the few hitters in the Giants’ lineup who can humanize “Thor”, going 4-for-9 with 1 RBI. Much like Longoria, Panik’s RBI came in their last match-up against Syndergaard.
Didn’t Leave Their Heart in New York
The Giants were able to salvage a series split in New York, and could’ve very well had a chance to win it had it not been for some lackluster offense and a familiar bullpen meltdown. The Giants didn’t play down to the Mets so much as they couldn’t get enough going for themselves.
Since then the Giants won two consecutive series, and have re-lit a small flame of hope that maybe just maybe the Giants can pull it off. Again, barring some historical comeback, the Giants need to focus on keeping the rest of their players healthy. Perhaps bubble wrap will work?
The Giants won’t be facing the Mets’ biggest rotational piece, which should provide them with some relief. Still, as I said, the Mets aren’t going to come into town and play dead. The Giants need to figure out a way to generate runs and get support for their third, fourth and fifth starters. The bullpen has been fine, it’s the bats that need the most TLC.
All things considered, if the Giants can continue their winning ways, this will put an exclamation mark on a season that has already been a drastic improvement from last. I expect the Giants to keep their winning ways going, but it won’t be easy against a team that plays much better ball on the road. Without their All-Star catcher and young and upcoming center fielder, this could be an even bigger challenge.