Giants/Diamondbacks Series Preview

Look, I said to trim the top, leave the hair a little long in the back, and to leave the muttonchops. And if you tell me again that I don't have muttonchops, I'll cut you with that straight razor. I'm Barry Zito, and you'll do as I say. Also, I'm not taking off my hat, so you'll just have to work around that.

 

 

The Diamondbacks still scare me. Eight games back and in a funk, and they still scare me. Part of that is because they’re another one of those teams that has six hitters who could hit cleanup for the Giants. Baseball insiders refer to that subset of teams as "all other professional teams, the Texas Longhorns, and probably the Atlanta Falcons." It's a wide net. Here's another reason I’m still scared of the Diamondbacks:


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Dan Haren 5-4 12 11 1 0 0 0 74.0 86 47 44 16 15 76 5.35 1.36


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Edwin Jackson 3-5 10 10 0 0 0 0 61.2 70 43 43 10 20 53 6.28 1.46


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Chad Qualls 0-2 20 0 0 0 9 3 15.2 24 15 11 2 5 18 6.32 1.85

 

Wonky ERAs. Big home run totals. Great K/BB ratios. Now, that last one isn't the only indicator of a pitcher’s talent, but it’s hinting that all three of these pitchers still have their stuff and control. They might be struggling with their command within the strike zone, which is leading to a lot of home runs and extra-base hits. They might be playing behind a defense filled with Russ Davis clones, allowing hits that other teams prevent. Or they might just be very, very unlucky. I’d put money on the latter scenario, though it should be noted that I’m the worst gambler of all-time. I’ve lost plenty of money on roulette by constantly betting that the wheel would stop on "fuschia", and I’ve even put money on the Giants winning the World Series once. I’m not proud of that last one.

The Diamondbacks don’t scare me more than any other team in the West, but they shouldn’t be dismissed as complete bottom-feeders. Craven, unholy expansion jackals? Sure. But I don't think they're really as bad as they've been so far.

Hitter to watch:

Justin Upton is a preternaturally talented hitter in his early 20s who, on his way to being one of the game’s best hitters, stopped for coffee. Hey, we have one of those too! Except ours stopped at a Waffle House instead. They’ll get back on track soon. Right? Right?Hopefully for our sake, Upton waits until after the weekend.

Pitcher to watch

Billy Buckner has a 9.00 ERA in two starts, allowing 17 hits in nine innings. He had a 6.40 ERA in 77 innings last year, and his walk rate in AAA was almost four per nine innings. His #2 comp on Baseball Reference is Brian Cooper. He shares a name with one of the most famous goats in sports history, and he was traded in a deal that actually worked out for the Royals. This is the canary in the coal mine for the Giants. If Billy Buckner, one of the fringiest of fringe starters in all of Major League Baseball, shuts down the Giants, Jonathan Sanchez should be allowed to see other teams. It's not you, it's us, Jonathan.

Prediction

At some point, I’ll think, "Hey, do you know who made our pool beyond the right field fence? God. So eat it. We shouldn’t lose to your unchosen asses." And that point will be about five seconds ago. So when we do lose, it will spark an intense theological debate. If there’s a god, maybe it likes tacky artifice and brainless gimmicks. It would explain a lot, actually.

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