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San Francisco Giants set to begin crucial homestand

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 06: Jeff Samardzija #29 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays in the top of the first of a Major League Baseball game at Oracle Park on April 6, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 06: Jeff Samardzija #29 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays in the top of the first of a Major League Baseball game at Oracle Park on April 6, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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After a pair of series losses last week, the San Francisco Giants are now set to begin a crucial homestand at Oracle Park.

It’s safe to say the San Francisco Giants did not want July to end.

It was a month that saw them post an impressive 19-7 record, climbing back into the postseason picture in the process.

Alas, the calendar has flipped to August, and the Giants have stumbled out of the gates. They have a 1-3 record so far this month and have been outscored 26-14. Going back to the end of July, they are 2-4 in their past six games, during which time they dropped back-to-back series for the first time since June 4-9.

Despite those recent struggles, the Giants still find themselves just 2.5 games back in the National League wild-card race. They now have a prime opportunity to wash away their rough start to the month by taking care of business at home this week.

Monday night is the start of a nine-game homestand against the Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies and Oakland Athletics. The Giants just so happen to be looking up at the Nationals and Phillies in the wild-card standings, so if they want to climb quickly, winning those two series is a must.

If the playoffs started today, the Nationals and Phillies would have a play-in game for the No. 2 wild-card spot.

A three-game series with the Nationals kicks off the extended stay at Oracle Park, and it comes at a time when the Nats are scuffling a bit with a 3-7 record in their last 10 games.

For the series opener, the Giants will send Jeff Samardzija to the mound. The big right-hander will look to keep the good times rolling, as he was 4-1 with a 2.09 ERA during the month of July.

The Giants will need Samardzija to go deep into the game tonight. They haven’t had a starter work past the fifth inning since Samardzija’s last start when he pitched six scoreless innings, giving up just three hits against the Phillies.

He will be opposed by rookie Erick Fedde. The 26-year-old was knocked around by the Atlanta Braves in his last start, giving up nine hits and nine runs without finishing the fourth inning. In his last seven starts, he has a 6.21 ERA.

Three Players to Watch

Evan Longoria: The veteran third baseman returned from the injured list on Sunday. In his first game back, Longoria went 1-for-4 at the plate. With the Giants offense somewhat sputtering, they are getting one of their most productive hitters back at the perfect time. In his last 10 games before his IL stint, Longoria hit .382/.462/.971 with six home runs and 13 RBI.

Scooter Gennett: In his first series with the Giants, Gennett went 2-for-11 at the plate with a home run, a double and two RBI. An All-Star in 2018, Gennett posted back-to-back 20-homer seasons before a groin injury cost him significant time this year. The Giants are hoping he can rediscover some of that old magic.

Buster Posey: If the Giants are going to get to where they want to go, they’ll need Posey to get hot. He’s been steady, hitting .268 with two home runs and seven RBI in the last 15 games. He had a big hit on Saturday during the team’s 6-5 victory over the Rockies, and the Giants need more hits like that from Posey to reach the postseason.

This is arguably the biggest week of the season for the San Francisco Giants.

With back-to-back series wins against two teams they are chasing, they could find themselves sitting in a postseason position or right on the cusp of one by this time next week.

However, with back-to-back poor showings, fans could start to question why the front office didn’t sell at the trade deadline after all.

Next. Full MLB trade deadline review

It’s a huge week for San Francisco Giants baseball, folks.

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