Remarkably, 51-50 is the exact same record the Giants had last year after 101 games. They would, as you know, go 22-39 the rest of the way, thanks to a combination of bad pitching, a hefty batch of injuries, and, well, not being able to overcome the 2017-ness of the team.
But that was last year — and, I suppose, 2017 — and this year is different. Regime change starts at home and the Giants have already started to remake themselves in Farhan Zaidi’s image, being unafraid to turn over the roster and burn through rosterees and roster spots to find the right mix of veterans, platoons, and complimentary talents.
It hasn’t been easy, but it has been effective, and after two months of struggle, something has definitely happened: the Giants are good.
Now, is this sustainable the rest of the way? Who knows. But they’re beating both good and bad teams alike. Sure, the Cubs have not been a good road team this year, but that shouldn’t count against the Giants. In fact, it should count in their favor — beating a team you should beat is a mark of a good team.
So, here’s another test. Yu Darvish has struggled since signing with the Cubs, but if you think of him as being more in a Bumgarner vain — that is, he missed most of 2018 with elbow problems and now he’s back fully healthy and is just starting to get going a year removed from those arm troubles.
In just his last two starts, he’s struck out 15, walked 1, and allowed zero runs in 12 innings. His most recent start wound up being his first home win as a member of the Cubs — he’s been much better on the road this year (3.98 ERA in 49.1 IP) than at home (4.98 ERA in 59.2 IP), but his career-long problem of walking everybody (career 3.5 BB/9) really stands out in this particular split: 4.22 versus 4.10. Okay, so, it’s just slightly worse, but still, it stands out.
The Giants are striking out three times for every walk they draw at home, so, this would be a matchup that looks to heavily favor the Cubs once again.
LF — Kyle Schwarber
SS — Javier Baez
3B — Kris Bryant
1B — Anthony Rizzo
CF — Albert Almora Jr.
RF — Jason Heyward
2B — Robel Garcia
C — Victor Caratini
SP — Yu Darvish
Meanwhile, this game could very well be Madison Bumgarner’s final home start for the Giants. There’s just one more home game before the trade deadline after tonight, and it seems highly unlikely that Bumgarner would follow up tonight’s start with an inning of relief tomorrow, so... go to the park and say your goodbyes? If they even decide to trade him?
Sorry if I don’t get sentimental in this particular gamethread. We just don’t know which way this is all going to swing.
1B — Brandon Belt
C — Buster posey
3B — Pablo Sandoval
LF — Alex Dickerson
SS — Brandon Crawford
RF — Mike Yastrzemski
CF — Kevin Pillar
2B — Joe Panik
SP — Madison Bumgarner