Two major league baseball teams return to the scene of last night’s crime. Where there used to be Oracle Park there is now a smoking crater. Where there used to be the San Francisco Giants Baseball Club, there is now a memorial for a world championship run of 2010-2014.
These are your father’s Giants. The history of the San Francisco club is pain and misery and coming up short and comparing unfavorably to the other teams in the bay area. This is also game two of a three game series. Last Friday, the Diamondbacks embarrassed the Giants and the Giants let themselves be humiliated by them. The Giants then went on to win the next two games.
So, the weirdness of baseball persists, and there’s a nonzero chance that the Giants just play like nothing bad happened last night. Arizona, meanwhile, will try to duplicate their colossal 18-2 win with virtually the same lineup:
CF — Ketel Marte
2B — Ildemaro Vargas
3B — Eduardo Escobar
RF — Adam Jones
1B — Kevin Cron
SS — Nick Ahmed
LF — Tim Locastro
C — Alex Avila
SP — Taylor Clarke
Alex Avila has a 1.056 OPS in 40 plate appearances as the third catcher on the roster. That .500 OBP figures to run into trouble against a left-handed starter, but then again, maybe not.
The Giants seem like the only team adversely affected by the lefty-lefty matchup. They have the second-most left-handed PAs against left-handed pitching (291; the Dodgers have 292), and just a .636 OPS (21st). Arizona has a .659 OPS in 110 lefty-lefty PAs, including a 10% walk rate.
If you’re wondering about today’s starter, rookie Taylor Clarke, here’s an excerpt from this 2080 Baseball scouting report:
His physical workhorse build lacks projection, and he’s an intense competitor who challenges hitters with his fastball in the zone, particularly inside. He works his mix of secondaries—a slider, curveball, and changeup–away to induce weak contact. [...] Clarke lacks a true swing-and-miss pitch, and carries a realistic ceiling as a #5 starter. With his mix of stuff, he will have to command the ball and induce weak contact in order to have success.
In the minors, Clarke has a 3:1 strikeouts to walk ratio (432:146) and a career 3.66 ERA in 498 IP. He’s appeared in two games for the Diamondbacks this season and has a 2.00 ERA in 9 IP. Just four strikeouts against zero walks.
The Giants will try to battle a pitcher they’ve never faced before. That’s usually a recipe for a day long gulpfest.
2B — Joe Panik
CF — Steven Duggar
C — Buster Posey
3B — Pablo Sandoval
1B — Brandon Belt
RF — Kevin Pillar
LF — Mike Yastrzemski
SS — Brandon Crawford
SP — Andrew Suárez
On the other hand, maybe Mike Yastrzemski was called up specifically to face Taylor Clarke because the 28-year old has seen Clarke before and has hit him well.