It is not time to write obituaries for the San Francisco Giants lead in the NL West. They still lead the division which, last I checked, is exactly where you want to be.
But their nine-game winning streak came to a screeching halt with a two-game losing streak that feels like a 20-game losing streak, and with it their lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers has dwindled to a single game.
Which means wins are very much needed.
The bad news is they now face the Atlanta Braves, a good team that is also trying to preserve a division lead. The good news is that the Braves are also stumbling a bit, having won just eight of their last 20 games.
The Giants are the better team, and the team more in need of wins to keep clinging to the division. Let’s hope both of those things are soon on display.
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Atlanta Braves
Where: Oracle Park, San Francisco, California
When: Friday (6:45 p.m. PT), Saturday (6:05 p.m. PT), and Sunday (1:05 p.m. PT)
National broadcasts: Sunday (MLB Network, out of market only, and ESPN+)
Where they stand
San Francisco Giants
Record: 95-52, 1st in the NL West
Run differential: +181, 2nd in the NL
Postseason standing: 1st seed
Momentum: 2-game losing streak, 8-2 in their last 10 games
Record: 76-68, 1st in the NL East
Run differential: +98, 4th in the NL
Postseason standing: 3rd seed
Momentum: 2-game losing streak, 5-5 in their last 10 games
Season series: Braves lead 2-1
Three Giants to watch
Evan Longoria: Longoria is just 12th on the Giants in plate appearances, the result of an injury landing him on the 60-day IL. Yet he’s also fifth on the team in position player WAR, trailing only Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, and Darin Ruf. That’s how good he’s been this season when healthy. Longo’s hitting .296/.390/.558 on the year, and in his last seven games is 9-22 with 3 homers, 4 doubles, 14 RBI, and 2 walks to just 3 strikeouts. He’s on fire.
Logan Webb: Fans have never been as happy to see Webb as they will be for Friday’s series opener. The Giants have won 15 of Webb’s last 16 starts, and even if the last two appearances by him haven’t been quite up to par, he still feels like the ticket to victory for San Francisco right now.
Brandon Belt: Belt enters the series with a nine-game hitting streak, during which time he’s hitting 16-39 with 5 home runs, 4 doubles, and 3 walks. Those numbers seem pretty good to me. With Atlanta starting the series with two righties, Belt should be able to keep the hot streak going.
Three Braves to watch
Ian Anderson: The last time these two teams met, the Giants lost a strange game to Anderson. The righty shut out the Giants for 5.2 innings, allowing just 4 hits and 2 walks. But he didn’t strike out a single batter, and the Giants got shut out on the day, losing 9-0 despite only striking out 3 times. That’s a frustrating way to lose, and I recommend the Giants don’t do it again.
Freddie Freeman: The Giants are still pretty reliant on right-handed pitchers, which means watch out for Freeman, the reigning NL MVP who is hitting .308/.411/.537 against righties. So if I were Giants pitching coach Andrew Bailey, I would simply ask my pitchers to not throwing hanging breaking balls right over the plate when facing Freeman. Probably avoid fastballs right over the plate, too.
Adam Duvall: The former Giant is currently rocking with a 12-game hitting streak, though, rather hilariously, he has just 13 hits during that time. But nine of those 13 hits are extra-base knocks, including six home runs. Right now he’s the epitome of a 2021 batter, with seemingly all of his plate appearances ending in a missile or a strikeout. Good Giant. But strike out, please.
Who wins the series?
This poll is closed
Giants win 2-1
Braves win 2-1
Who are the Dodgers playing?
While the Giants host the Braves, the Dodgers will be on the road to face the Cincinnati Reds.