Series Preview: #SFGiants (81-62) vs. #DBacks (71-72)
The fourth through sixth games of the month (out of nine) of September between these two clubs brings the Giants to Chase Field for the last time of the regular season, and the black + orange hope they can do better than the last series, where they were outscored 22-17, and lost two out of three from the Snakes. The Diamondbacks will be either 3.5 or 4.5 back of the Wild Card leaders tomorrow depending on how the Cardinals and Dodgers fare tonight, and are currently 10 back of the Giants for the West. For the Giants, the Diamondbacks are that annoying team that never seems to stop bothering you, and will throw three lefties at the Giants this weekend. The DBacks lead the season series 7-5, and with six to go, it actually would not surprise me if the Giants did not win the season series with Arizona.
Friday, September 14th: RHP Matt Cain vs. LHP Tyler Skaggs
One sentence summary: Tyler Skaggs’ starts have gotten shorter as his debut season has progressed — 6.2 IP, 5.2, 5.0, 3.2; Matt Cain has gone at least 7.0 IP in 5 of his last 6 starts.
Saturday, September 15th: LHP Barry Zito vs. LHP Wade Miley
One sentence summary: Miley has allowed 11 baserunners in his past two games, giving both teams a chance to win, while Zito hopes to strike out the Snakes like he did last time (6), but with better results for the team.
Sunday, September 16th: RHP Ryan Vogelsong vs. LHP Patrick Corbin
One sentence summary: Corbin hasn’t allowed less than 3 ER in a game since a little over a month ago; while Vogelsong still struggles to find what made him a 2011 sensation after only going 8.1 IP in his last two starts combined.
The Bats are Hot… But That’s the Phoenix Heat’s Fault
I mean, have you ever been to Phoenix in the summer months? It’s death outside. I realize it’s September, but that’s still a summer month for Arizona, as are seven to nine other months there. For a team that’s been slithering closer to playoff contention, they don’t have any super-stand-out-crazy-hot batters doing the work for them. Sure, Miguel Montero has been hitting (.404 wOBA L7, .362 wOBA overall), Jason Kubel has been mashing a little bit (.395 wOBA L7, 2 HR L7; .358 wOBA overall, 29 HR overall), but it’s also a point that outside of John McDonald (.063 wOBA L7, -80 wRC+ L7; . 275 wOBA overall, 63 wRC+ overall), nobody is particularly cold over the past week. Kubel (29) and Hill (22) are still the only 2 DBacks with 20+ HR, but Goldschmidt (18), Montero (15), Johnson (14), Young (14), Upton (13) are all legitimate power sources. Chris Young hasn’t appeared in a game since September 7th, as he’s healing from a quad strain. The primary base-stealers on the club are Goldschmidt (16), Hill (14), Upton (15), and Parra (13).
By averaging 6 runs/game in the last six game, you’d figure there might be some guys doing work, and there are. One of those guys leading the charge might have a new nickname of “MVP” when the regular season ends: Buster Posey (.588 wOBA L7, 2 HR L7; .402 wOBA overall, 21 HR overall) has been fantastic in the second half for the Giants. Not to be ignored, Gregor Blanco (.450 wOBA L7, 2 SB L7; .312 wOBA overall, 22 SB overall), and Angel Pagan (.443 wOBA L7, 2 SB L7; .337 wOBA, 25 SB overall) have been working to set the table up for Giants rallies. Marco Scutaro has also been a more than decent contributor to the offense (.385 wOBA L7, .316 wOBA overall) of late. It’s not lost on anybody who is ice cold: that of the Panda, Kung Fu (.098 wOBA L7, -50 wRC+; .319 wOBA overall, 101 wRC+ overall), who may be hurting more than we comprehend at the moment, or could just be tired because he’s so…. exhausted after playing a lot of games in a baseball season (I already wrote an article on fat, I don’t need to go back to it here).
How wild will it get in Arizona this weekend? Can the Giants finally put Arizona away for now so that they can focus on clinching the West? Arizona is the one team in the West that worries me the most, especially as the Dodgers continue to be of the LOLs Angeles variety.
Friday: Giants win (Skaggs tires, Cain rises)
Saturday: Giants win (Zito throws a gem because I’m not watching this game due to being at a separate baseball event)
Sunday: DBacks win (It’s not that Vogelsong will stink it up, it’s that the DBacks will do just enough)
Hopefully the Giants can come home with a single-digit magic number, giving them a chance to do some celebrating at AT&T like they did in 2010, but without the last game dramatics.