The San Francisco Giants entered Thursday having won seven games in a row — three of which came against the Arizona Diamondbacks. And then they had a horrendous day, which resulted in losing twice — which is two more times than the amount of runs they scored.
So, with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the rearview mirror for good (in the regular season), the Giants get to try and get back on track against a team that they’ve played their best baseball against.
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Where: Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
When: Friday (6:40 p.m.), Saturday (5:10 p.m.), and Sunday (1:10 p.m.)
National broadcasts: Friday (ESPN+), and Sunday (ESPN, out of market only, available on fuboTV)
Where they stand
San Francisco Giants
Record: 15-18, fourth place in the NL West
Run differential: -22, sixth in the MLB West
Postseason standing: First team out
Current momentum: Lost two in a row
Record: 13-19, fifth place in the NL West
Run differential: -27, seventh in the MLB West
Postseason standing: On the outside by a bit
Current momentum: Lost eight in a row
Season series: Giants lead 3-0 with a +13 run differential
Three Giants to watch
Joey Bart: I mentioned that Bart might appear on this segment for every series for the rest of the year, and he’s clearly the Giant to watch this series. After impressing in the first four games of his MLB career — three of which came against the Diamondbacks — he took his first MLB tumble against the Dodgers. And it was a hard tumble, as he went 0-11 with 1 walk and 7 strikeouts, and had one of the rougher days behind the plate that I can remember watching.
Is it time to panic? Absolutely not. Is it time to even be a little bit concerned? Also absolutely not. But is it time to keep paying close attention to him? Absolutely yes.
Johnny Cueto: Cueto was on the mound on Tuesday for Bart’s aforementioned struggles catching. Pitcher and catcher were on different pages from the first pitch. There were cross-ups. There were frustrated huffs. There were dropped pitches. There were mound visits, and more mound visits, and even more mound visits.
Cueto struggled independent of Bart’s rough game, but it’s hard not to wonder how much of that was due to having his rhythm disrupted. He’ll pitch the series finale on Sunday, and it will be interesting to see if he rebounds — and if Bart is the one catching his pitches.
Brandon Belt: After a slow start to the year, Belt has caught fire in a big way, which culminated in Tuesday’s heroic performance (4-5, 2 home runs, 1 double, 1 walk, and the game-tying homer in the ninth inning), and having the Giants only two hits in the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader.
In his last 11 games he’s 18-34, with 4 home runs, 4 doubles, and 4 walks to just 5 strikeouts. And now he’s headed to Chase Field, a place where he’s hit the ball fairly well in his career.
Three Diamondbacks to watch
Luke Weaver: The right-hander is having a very hard time suppressing hard contact and runs. Despite having 28 strikeouts to just 9 walks in 24.1 innings, he’s given up 30 hits, 8 home runs, and 21 earned runs. But he was one of the few bright spots for the DBacks when they passed through San Francisco last weekend, allowing 5 hits, 1 walk, and 2 earned runs in 5.2 innings.
Starling Marte: Marte is having the best offensive year of his career, with career highs in average (.318), on-base percentage (.397), and OPS (.860). But he didn’t do well last week at Oracle Park, going just 1-8. He’ll be a priority for Giants pitchers.
Not Madison Bumgarner: Am I cheating a bit with this segment because the DBacks simply aren’t that interesting? Sure. But in my weekly preview I listed Bumgarner as the opponent to watch, since it looked like he might return from the Injured List to face his old team. But that’s not the case, as the lefty is throwing a second simulation game on Saturday. The reunion will have to wait.
Best case/worst case
Best case scenario: The Giants swept the Diamondbacks once; they can do it again.
Worst case scenario: Arizona has the talent to get hot quickly. A sweep would not only put the Giants on a five-game losing streak, but allow the DBacks to leapfrog the Giants in the postseason standing, making the path that much more dim.
The Diamondbacks are reeling, and I don’t think the Giants will be two knocked down by their rough Thursday. San Francisco wins 2-1.