Role reversal: after stumbling in the divisional chase, Rockies must fend off Giants' pursuit

The Giants could be in first place in the NL Wild Card Sunday.  Let that sink in a bit.  Technically, they would be tied with Colorado, but that's still borderline incomprehensible after last weekend.

While the Rockies were fumbling their chance to legitimize the divisional race, San Francisco gained a game on the Colorado by eeking out two one-run wins and getting blasted in one game against the Diamondbacks.  With the Rockies on the home docket so soon after three very frustrating losses, the Giants surely have retribution freshly in their minds.

Luckily for them, they have their top three pitchers going in the series.  Then consider that the Rockies' two hottest hitters this month - Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez - will both miss some if not all of the series with injuries.   That means the demoralization Colorado dealt the Giants last weekend is in danger of being completely wiped out with a possible sweep at AT&T Park this weekend, where the Giants' 41-21 mark is just a half game being Tampa Bay and Boston for the best home field advantage in MLB.

Fortunately, it's not all bad.  San Francisco's hottest hitters of late - and their 3 and 4 hitters - were both relegated to pinch-hit duty for the entirety of the Arizona series, and their status will likely be the same for at least tonight's game.  In addition, Freddy Sanchez was officially placed on the 15-day Tuesday after spending a week inactive on the bench, leaving the Giants' horrible offense without three of its top weapons.  

The Rockies counter Bruce Bochy's Linceum/Zito/Cain triumverate with Ubaldo Jimenez, who Jayson Stark says has "the best stuff in baseball," the ultimate WINNAR Jason Marquis, who Tim Kurkjian gave some love to this morning, and the Road Warrior Jason Hammel.  

Should be a competitive series.

Rather than putting virtually the same scouting information in KYF as last Friday, I'll refer you to last week's preview for any seemingly incomplete grading rationalization.

If you care to engage with Giants fans, enjoy:  McCovey Chronicles.  Here is their series preview.


Ff68481888e6f951_medium
San Francisco Giants (69-59, L1, 3rd, 3 GB WC, 7 GB Div) 

Friday-Sunday: 3-game series at AT&T Park


The Bats: F

The lineup will feature Juan Uribe and Eli Whiteside tonight most likely, but since both Molina and Sandoval are expected back Saturday, I'll leave them in the lineup.  Nothing has really changed from last Friday - they still have the 2nd worst wOBA in the league at .304, better than Cincy by the slimmest of margins.  I had not noticed this post before and it is now two weeks old, but most of the points hold true.  A fanpost at MCC shows the Giants are by far and away the most undisciplined offensive team as well as one of the worst.  Given their injury losses for tonight's game, the official loss of Sanchez and the move to AT&T, I downgraded their offense to an F.

LINEUP Avg HR RBI OBP SLG wOBA
Eugenio Velez - 2B .276 3 16 .308 .402 .313
Randy Winn - LF .268 2 46 .320 .369 .306
Pablo Sandoval - 3B .331 19 73 .380 .553 .390
Bengie Molina - C .263 16
67 .283 .439 .305
Ryan Garko - 1B .271 13 51 .344 .436 .342
Aaron Rowand - CF
.275 12 53 .329 .441 .335
Nate Schierholtz - RF .278 5 26 .311 .422 .312
Edgar Renteria - SS .261 3 42 .318 .330 .288

By wOBA metrics, the lineup features one All-Star caliber players (Sandoval), one above average hitter (Garko), one slightly above average hitters (Rowand), two about average hitters (Winn, Schierholtz, Velez and Molina), and one that is just flat out bad (Renteria).

Juan Uribe (.267, 8, 31) is the utility infielder and Travis Ishikawa (.262, 9, 35) is back on the roster to spell Garko.  IF Ryan Rohlinger (0-for-5) is now on the bench with Sanchez on the shelf.  Fred Lewis (.268, 4, 16)  is the lone backup OF though Velez can slide to LF if necessary. Rookie Eli Whiteside (.229, 1, 7) is Molina's backup catcher.  As for tonight, Winn will likely be in the 3-hole, while Garko, Schierholtz and Ishikawa have each had their try at the cleanup spot.  

Hop after the jump for the scouting report on the arms, the D, the pitching matchups, injuries and the hot/cold players.

The Arms: A

It would be difficult to find a trio of pitchers a team would least like to face right now.  Lincecum and Cain were no-brainer All-Stars and Barry Zito continued his recent resurgence against Colorado Monday.  The Giants rank in the top three in just about ever pitching category there is - impressive given they don't get a benefit from the home park.

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Brian Wilson 5-5 55 0 0 0 30 6 60.0 50 25 20 2 24 67 3.00 1.23

The bullpen composition hasn't changed .  After Wilson,there's Jeremy AffeldtSergio RomoBob HowryMerkin ValdezJustin Miller and Brandon Medders.  

 

The D: B+

The Giants have MLB 2nd best UZR/150 helping Fangraphs to rate San Francisco's defense as #2 in MLB.  Putting Velez in at 2B is a downgrade from their season average though.  

 

The Ballpark:  Hitter's Park

AT&T being a pitcher's park is one of MLB's greater myths.  It has a multi-year park factor of 102, while this year it is 103/104.  For comparison, Coors Field is 105/106.  So AT&T is roughly halfway as advantageous for hitters as Coors.  The myth has some legs though.  It completely drowns home runs (factor of 86.1 for HR/FB), though it inflates triples by an even larger margin.  The park has also been advantageous for singles and doubles.


Probable Pitchers:

Tonight, 8:15 pm MDT

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Ubaldo Jimenez 12-9 26 26 1 0 0 0 174.1 146 67 65 9 66 154 3.36 1.22
W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Tim Lincecum 12-4 27 26 4 2 0 0 185.1 142 57 50 8 51 214 2.43 1.04

Dueling aces part deux.  As amoeba recently pointed out, Jimenez has obliterated the franchise record for consecutive 6+ inning starts.  You know all the awesomeness that is Timmy, but the Giants are just 3-6 in his starts vs the Rockies in his career, 1-2 at AT&T Park.  He also has a seasonlong four game winless streak.  Okay, it's mostly not his fault, but it's still true.  The Giants are -130 favorites in Vegas.   I'll just let the two young arms do the rest of the talking.  Favors:  GIANTS by the slimmest of margins, slimmer than Timmy's frame


Saturday, August 29, 7:05 MDT
W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Jason Marquis 14-8 28 25 2 1 0 0 171.1 163 72 66 11 54 84 3.47 1.27
W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Barry Zito 8-11 27 26 1 0 0 0 154.0 142 72 70 16 62 118 4.09 1.32
Jason Marquis is moving up amoeba's list as well, as he has 10 straight 6+ IP starts, all quality starts.  He pitched a complete game in San Fran earlier this season and allowed just 1 run in two of the three starts vs the Giants.  Zito is on a 12 IP scoreless streak and has only allowed more than 2 runs once in his last eight starts, and he only allowed three that time.  That has helped him push his ERA in danger of dipping below the 4 mark.  If the Rockies have hopes of winning this series, this is the game they must win, but it's no clear advantage for Colorado.   Favors:  ROCKIES slightly.

Sunday, August 30, 2:05 MDT
W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Jason Hammel 8-7 26 23 1 0 0 0 132.0 165 73 65 12 33 91 4.43 1.50
W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Matt Cain 12-4 26 26 4 0 0 0 177.1 143 50 47 17 61 133 2.39 1.15
Hammel started the only game the Rockies took from the Dodgers, is 3-1 in August and just put together two starts reaching through the 7th inning for just the 2nd time this season.  He has permitted just 3 ER in 12 IP vs the Giants this season and has a  2.88 road ERA still.  Hammel has allowed 3 or less runs in all five August starts and 7 of 8 overall.  That is quite good for a fifth starter, but he draws Matt Cain yet again.   Cain is 0-2 in August and is winless in six starts, though he allowed one run each in his last two starts.  Here's a scary stat for you:  Cain has allowed 1 ER or less in 17 of 26 starts this year.  Favors:  GIANTS strongly.


My take

The Giants are hurt but didn't fall apart after a heartbreaking series at Coors.  The Giants have a glimmer of hope with a strong showing this weekend, but if the Rockies manage to win the series, it would not only push the lead further but would also result in the likely implosion of McCovey Chronicles, if not the Giants' psyche.  To do this, Colorado absolutely must win Saturday and hope to steal one from Cain or Lincecum with help of their injured bats.  I suspect the Rockies will manage only one win, which would pull the Giants back to within two games - right where we were before last weekend's series at Coors.


33_15_10---fire-flame-texture_web_mediumBengie Molina is 6 of his last 18 and Pablo Sandoval is 5 for his last 14, while both have a homer, two doubles and two walks on that streak.  Of course, both are out of the lineup tonight.  


IceNate Schierholtz' HR off Jorge de la Rosa Saturday represents his only hit in his past 24 ABs.   Juan Uribe has just one single in his last 20 ABs, but he has 2 HR too.   Ryan Garko and Travis Ishikawa are both only 4 for their last 17.  


Bandaid_medium

Freddy Sanchez was finally put on the 15-day DL Tuesday after a week of inactivity.  Andres Torres (hamstring - 7/31) and Rich Aurilia (ankle - 8/12) join him on the 15-day DL.  Aurilia is apparently ready to play, but the Giants have yet to activate him.  Noah Lowry (ribs) has been on the 60 day DL since at least Opening Week, and P Kelvin Pichardo (shoulder - 6/28), Randy Johnson (trapezius - 7/6) and Henry Sosa (shoulder - 8/5)  are now keeping him company.  Bengie Molina (tight quad) and Pablo Sandoval (tight calf, flu) are questionable for tonight's game and likely won't start but are available to come into the game if it needed.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Purple Row

You must be a member of Purple Row to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Purple Row. You should read them.

Join Purple Row

You must be a member of Purple Row to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Purple Row. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker