The San Francisco Giants have a big series on tap this weekend against the high-powered New York Yankees.
The San Francisco Giants have a tough matchup at home this weekend against a red-hot New York Yankees team that has gone 8-2 in its last 10 games.
The Giants are on a nice little streak of their own at the moment with three straight wins, and the Yankees are playing shorthanded with a number of key players on the injured list, so this could be a time for the Giants to make some noise.
Game 1 will be a matchup of aces, with Madison Bumgarner going up against James Paxton.
Bumgarner has looked pretty good so far this season, posting a 3.66 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 30 strikeouts in 32 innings in his first five starts. He’s made a few mistakes with five home runs allowed and a lack of offense has resulted in a 1-3 record, but overall, he’s thrown the ball well.
On the Yankees side, Paxton was the team’s prized offseason pickup, acquired in a trade with the Seattle Mariners to bolster the starting rotation. He has lived up to his reputation as one of the best lefties in the game so far, with a 3.10 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 43 strikeouts in 29 innings, putting him on pace for another 200-strikeout season if he stays healthy.
As always, the key for the Giants will be finding enough offense to win.
Kevin Pillar has the most experience against Paxton and the Yankees in general from his years with the Toronto Blue Jays. He’s 3-for-14 with three doubles, one walk and two strikeouts against Friday’s starter. Evan Longoria is the only Giants player with a home run off Paxton in his career.
Meanwhile, the Yankees offense has again been dangerous with 42 home runs in 25 games. By comparison, the Giants have hit just 21 home runs in 25 games.
Who will step up for the Giants in this series?
Shortstop Brandon Crawford is one player who needs to get things going. He’s hitting just .202 with a .506 OPS on the season, which would represent the lowest totals of his career. If he doesn’t get things going soon, he could start to lose playing time to Yangervis Solarte, and that should be all the motivation he needs to start hitting.
As mentioned, the Yankees have been banged up, and they will be without slugger Giancarlo Stanton for the series after he was originally expected to be active. Stanton has recovered from the biceps strain that originally landed him on the injured list, but now he’s dealing with some “residual stuff” in his shoulder, according to James Wagner of The New York Times. He received a cortisone shot on Wednesday and will rest for a few days.
Outfielder Clint Frazier also landed on the injured list on Thursday, just as catcher Gary Sanchez was returning to action. Veteran Cameron Maybin was acquired from the Cleveland Indians Triple-A affiliate for cash considerations to add some outfield depth.
One player who is active and could make a significant impact is Luke Voit.
The Yankees first baseman is hitting .255/.369/.500 with seven home runs and 19 RBI on the year, and that includes a .286 average and one home run in 14 plate appearances against left-handed pitching. That’s significant with lefties toeing the rubber for the Giants in the first two games of the series.
Derek Holland gets the ball in Game 2 for the Giants opposite fellow veteran lefty J.A. Happ.
Holland, 32, has a 4.33 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 34 strikeouts in 27 innings, which gives him a career-high 11.3 K/9. While he has pitched well early in games this season, opposing hitters have a .300/.333/.800 line with three home runs in 21 plate appearances when facing him for the third time, so the Giants need to be careful not to leave him in too long.
Happ, 36, has had a rough time in the early going with a 5.96 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 22 strikeouts in 25.2 innings while posting an 0-2 record. He did pitch well last time out, though, allowing three hits and two earned runs over seven innings in a no-decision against the Los Angeles Angels.
The series finale will pit Dereck Rodriguez against Domingo German in the most intriguing matchup of the weekend.
German has been the Yankees best pitcher so far this season, posting a 1.75 ERA and a fantastic 0.82 WHIP with 28 strikeouts in 25.2 innings. He represents the Giants’ toughest test and the only right-handed pitcher they’ll be facing in the series.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez has pitched well after a breakout rookie season, posting 3.54 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 28 innings. He’s capable of matching German pitch-for-pitch if he’s on his game.
The Giants are 5-5 at home. The Yankees are 9-6 on the road. Who will come out on top in a matchup we don’t get to see all that often?
We’ll know by Sunday.