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Preview: Battle of the beautiful ballparks

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The Giants head east for a four-game set against the Pirates

Texas Rangers v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants are heading east for their second four-game series of the year, and they’re taking on one of the only teams in the world that can try to claim their ballpark is as pretty as the Giants’: the Pittsburgh Pirates.

It’s an important series, because the Pirates are not good, but the schedule is about to get brutal. It’s time to bank some wins before they start seeing the Los Angeles Dodgers every other day.


Series details

Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Where: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
When: Thursday (3:35 p.m.), Friday (3:35 p.m.), Saturday (3:35 p.m.) and Sunday (10:05 a.m.)
National broadcasts: None


Where they stand

San Francisco Giants

Record: 22-14, 1st in the NL West
Run differential: +31, 2nd in the NL
Postseason standing: 1st seed
Momentum: 2-game winning streak, 6-4 in their last 10 games

Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 15-21, 5th in the NL Central
Run differential: -42, 15th in the NL
Postseason standing: 4.5 games out of the Wild Card
Momentum: 1-game losing streak, 3-7 in their last 10 games


Three Giants to watch

San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Johnny Cueto: Cueto’s first three starts of the season were about as good of a three-game stretch as any pitcher has had this year. But he was hurt in the third, and sat on the Injured List for a few weeks. He didn’t make a rehab start, but returned to the rotation last week and got lit up by the San Diego Padres. Hopefully that was just him settling back into things, and we see him back to form on Saturday.

Steven Duggar and LaMonte Wade Jr. The Giants made a move on Thursday, placing left-handed reliever José Álvarez on the 10-day IL and recalling Wade. Against a righty, Wade jumps right into the lineup, joining fellow left-handed outfielders Mike Yastrzemski and Mike Tauchman. That leaves Duggar the odd man out in the Giants lefty outfield party. Barring an injury to one of the Mikes, it’s hard to envision Duggar and Wade both staying on the roster for long. And with three righties on the mound for the Pirates this series, it seems likely that both will get a chance to play. They’ll both try and state their case.

Mike Yastrzemski: Yaz is rounding into shape after his stint on the Injured List, and has been putting together quality at-bats in the last few games. He’ll face a lot of righties this series, and they’re not exactly righties who have been pitching exceptionally well.


Three Pirates to watch

St Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Bryan Reynolds: After a very rough sophomore season in 2020, Reynolds is having a great 2021, sporting a 135 OPS+ and 1.2 fWAR. As the Giants cycle through lefty outfielders trying to find someone to stick next to Yastrzemski, they’re surely wishing they still had Reynolds on their team.

Tyler Anderson: There was a reason the Giants scooped up Anderson last season, and also a reason that they non-tendered him over the offseason. Ultimately the former has shown itself a lot more than the latter so far this year, as the lefty is rocking a 3.05 ERA and 3.12 FIP. He’s been effectively funky, and the Giants will have to hope they learned something from playing with him last year.

Mitch Keller: Keller has struggled with command this year, issuing 17 walks in 27.2 innings. We know the Giants love to work counts and draw free bases, so look for them to try and take advantage of that weakness.


Poll

Who wins the series?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Giants sweep
    (21 votes)
  • 64%
    Giants win 3-1
    (75 votes)
  • 15%
    Split
    (18 votes)
  • 0%
    Pirates win 3-1
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Pirates sweep
    (2 votes)
117 votes total Vote Now