It feels like the San Francisco Giants haven’t played in about a week, even though they didn’t have a break between the last series and this one. It was just a day ago that the Giants shut out the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the series and push their NL West lead to three games.
Since then the Giants have been linked to a lot of names, the Dodgers have acquired Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, the Giants seemed headed for a quiet deadline, and the Giants traded for Kris Bryant.
And now it’s back to baseball. But suddenly things feel a lot more intense.
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Houston Astros
Where: Oracle Park, San Francisco, California
When: Friday (6:45 p.m.), Saturday (1:05 p.m.), and Sunday (1:05 p.m.)
National broadcasts: None
Where they stand
San Francisco Giants
Record: 64-38, 1st in the NL West
Run differential: +118, 2nd in the NL
Postseason standing: 1st seed
Momentum: 1-game winning streak, 6-4 in their last 10 games
Record: 63-40, 1st in the AL West
Run differential: +150, 1st in the AL
Postseason standing: 1st seed
Momentum: 2-game winning streak, 7-3 in their last 10 games
Three Giants to watch
Kris Bryant: The 2016 MVP will likely be joining the Giants on Saturday, and that is going to be must-watch TV. Bryant brings an .861 OPS and 18 home runs to the Giants, plus quality third base defense while the team waits for Evan Longoria to return, at which point Bryant will likely play mostly in the outfield. He’s a star, and now he’s on the Giants.
Tony Watson: The Giants also traded for veteran left-handed reliever Watson, who spent 2018 through 2020 on the team. Why? We’re not sure. Watson isn’t having a good year, but presumably the Giants saw something in him that their coaching staff can address. It will be interesting to see how he looks, and what role the Giants use him in.
Buster Posey: When Posey left Wednesday’s game after taking a violent foul tip off the mask, I was worried we might not see him for a while. But he’s back in the lineup for Friday’s game, and the Giants need his bat and elite catching against a tremendous Astros team.
Three Astros to watch
Yordan Álvarez: You can kind of take your pick of strong Astros hitters for this portion. Of the team’s nine regular position players, six of them have an OPS+ between 133 and 138, including the 24-year old Álvarez, who has a 137 OPS+ and 19 home runs. He also strikes out like it’s going out of style, and normally plays designated hitter. So he’s worth watching, assuming they take the risk and put his glove on the field.
Zack Greinke: I’m programmed to be terrified when the Giants face Greinke, but he’s not having a great year. He’s struck out just 93 batters in 126.2 innings, representing a massive drop-off for him, and his lowest strikeout/nine mark since 2005. It shouldn’t be surprising if the Giants knock him around a bit, but it certainly won’t be shocking if he dominates them, either.
Framber Valdez: Valdez is having a funny season. The lefty has a 2.97 ERA, but a 4.30 FIP. He’s done a great job limiting runs, but he’s also issued 30 walks in just 66.2 innings. Go get him, Giants.
Who wins the series?
This poll is closed
Giants win 2-1
Astros win 2-1