These guys again ?
If it feels like the Diamondbacks have been playing the San Francisco Giants a lot lately, it’s because they have. The two teams faced each other for the first time this season on the 4th of July. That was the latest the Diamondbacks ever played their first game against a divisional opponent.
The D-backs took two of three that series, then dropped two of three in San Francisco a week later. These three games will bring the total played between the teams to 9 games, with still 10 more to play after this series.
The Giants are coming off a disastrous four game sweep at the hands of the Dodgers in LA, being outscored 25 to 13. That dropped their record to 48-47, 16.5 games back of LA in the NL West. However they’re still in the thick of the wild card race, just two games back of the St. Louis Cardinals, and one game back of the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Diamondbacks (42-53) came out of the break with two lopsided victories against the lowly Washington Nationals, outscoring them 17-3. They blew a 3-1 lead and a chance for the series sweep on Sunday. The bullpen coughed up single runs in each of the 6th, 7th, & 8th innings. Arizona still had a golden opportunity to win the game when they had bases loaded with nobody out in the 8th inning with their 3-4 hitters up. Ketel Marte popped out to short and Christian Walker hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
The loss left the D-backs still in last place in the NL West, a half game back of the Colorado Rockies. They are 8 games out of the Wild Card one week from the August 2 trade deadline.
Jakob Junis has only faced the Diamondbacks once in his career, way back in 2017. Non tendered by the Royals after 5 seasons and 4.88 ERA the 29 year old was signed by the Giants as a minor league free agent by the Giants in Spring Training. He’s having the best year of his career, allowing 2 or fewer runs in 6 of his 7 starts. It’s all about the slider, which he throws a whopping 53% of the time. He also throws a sinker (91 MPH) and changeup. His peripherals, both in his Statcast Page and his FIP (.87 higher than ERA) suggest some regression to the mean is in order. No time like the present.
Tyler Gilbert took the loss despite pitching well in his last start before the all star break. He gave up just 1 run through 5 innings against the Padres. But Torey Lovullo sent him back out for the 6th and he gave up a double and a walk before getting pulled from the game. Noe Ramirez came in and gave up a three run homer to Luke Voit, allowing both inherited to scores, sullying Gilbert’s ERA and saddling him with the L
Carlos Rodon is having an excellent season and has been one of the top starters in the National League. But he got knocked around by the Dodgers in his last start, giving up 5 runs in 5 innings, taking the loss. He made a start against the D-backs on July 4th and gave up 4 runs in 5 innings, taking the loss there as well in an 8-3 Arizona victory. So there is a chance ! Dbacks head to head vs Rodon
Especially with Merrill Kelly on the mount. The “Mainstay” has been the D-backs most consistent and valuable starter in 2022. Kelly was excellent in his last start before the break, going 6 innings and giving up just 1 run to the Padres in a 3-1 victory. Merrill was held out of the Washington series and left to face the tougher Giants lineup. Wilmer Flores has some success against him, as do Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford to a more moderate degree. The rest of the Giants have not done much against him though. Head to Head stats here
Logan Webb continues to have an excellent season. He gave up just 1 run in 6 innings last time out against the Dodgers in a no decision, leaving the game with the scored ties 1-1 in a game the Giants would lose 5-1. He shut out the D-backs for 6 innings and struck out 8 on July 12th in a 13-0 blowout. Dbacks head to head vs. Webb
Fortunately Webb is facing off against Zac Gallen instead of Dallas Keuchel this time. Gallen pitched his best game of the year last week against Washington, throwing 7 shutout innings and giving up just 2 hits and 0 walks while striking out 7. His 80 game score was his best since September of 2020. More please. Giants head to head vs Gallen
The Giants will be without Evan Longoria, (Hamstring) who hit the IL for the 3rd time this season.
Brandon Crawford (Knee) is eligible to come off the IL on July 26th. But it’s not clear if he will be ready to return yet.
Tommy Lastella, (Covid) is expected to return by Tuesday, July 26th
Diamondbacks Starter Zach Davies is still out with shoulder inflammation, but has been throwing bullpens and will soon face live hitters. He is likely still at least a couple of weeks from returning to the major league rotation.
The Giants are still a better team than the D-backs. They have a 101 OPS+ and 107 ERA+, so above league average in both hitting and pitching, compared to 96 OPS+ and 96 ERA+ for the D-backs. The Giants pitching strength is clearly in the rotation. But the matchups for this series look fairly even.
Both teams bullpens have been poor this year, ranking near the bottom of most tables and metrics.
Both teams struggle in one run games this year, the Giants are 12-19, and the D-backs are 13-18.
The Giants hit .262 with runners in scoring position (7th in MLB) while the D-backs hit just .226 (27th).
The one advantage the D-backs have is they player better defense overall, especially in the outfield. The D-backs are +7 runs in team fielding (7th in the NL) while the Giants have fallen to -32. (13th in NL) Last year they were +32 fielding runs. So defense alone has probably accounted for almost a 6 win downward swing in the Giants win total.