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Giants vs. Rockies, 4/14

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Derek Holland (LHP; 1-1, 4.65 FIP) vs. German Márquez (RHP; 1-1, 4.70 FIP)

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

First, this picture really needs to be shared:

While it feels highly unlikely the Giants will sweep the Rockies in a four-game series, it feels really nice to see this team even in the position to do so. Not just because of the horrendous start to the season that had them — and maybe most of us — questioning just what picture this season was going to be once all the puzzle pieces came together but also because it’s nice to know they still have some surprises in them. The pitching and defense model can still work, even if the offense is largely just Kevin Pillar and Pablo Sandoval at the moment.

Derek Holland is coming off a strong 9-strikeout, 7-inning performance against the Padres last Tuesday and has had a decent start to his 2019 campaign, but the Rockies roughed him up in two of his three starts against them last season (9 runs in 17.2 innings), and Nolan Arenado was one of the culprits. [checks to see if Nolan Arenado has the day off]

He does not!

To sweep, they’ll need to overcome the Rockies’ toughest starter, German Márquez . Last season, his average four-seam fastball velocity of 95.4 mph was 17th-best among MLB starters and 7th in the National League. This year, he’s averaging 95.8 mph with it through three starts and with his six-pitch arsenal (4-seamer, slider, curve, sinker, changeup, and cutter), holding batters to an expected slugging percentage of .384. That means that based on exit velocity and launch angle, balls put in play against him aren’t expected to do much to help an offense.

His last start in Colorado against the Braves was a 7-1 loss in which he struck out just two and walked two on his way to surrendering five runs along with seven hits in five innings. Prior to that, he opened the season against the Marlins and Rays with a combined 14 strikeouts in 13 innings, six walks, and just one earned run allowed (against the Marlins).

Remarkably, he’s never beaten the Giants in five starts. His 0-3 and 6.33 ERA is his worst performance against an NL West team. That’s the beauty of small samples. The Giants will field a more traditional lineup against him today:

RF Steven Duggar

2B Joe Panik

C Buster Posey

1B Brandon Belt

SS Brandon Crawford

3B Evan Longoria

CF Kevin Pillar

LF Gerardo Parra

SP Derek Holland