The San Francisco Giants couldn’t ask to be in much of a better position than the one they’re in. I mean, if we’re asking for the moon, then sure: it would be nice to already have clinched the NL West weeks ago, and have been resting the Brandon Belts of the world.
But realistically, the Giants could not have asked to be in a better position. With six games remaining, they hold a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers. If the Giants have a winning record in these final six games, the Dodgers cannot win the division outright; if the Giants go 4-2, the Dodgers will have to finish a perfect 6-0 just to force a division-deciding final game, which would take place in San Francisco.
Even if the Giants just split their final two series, the Dodgers would need to finish with perfection to win the division, or go 5-1 to force game No. 163.
It’s a good place to be, but that doesn’t matter unless the Giants handle business.
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Where: Oracle Park, San Francisco, California
When: Tuesday (6:45 p.m. PT), Wednesday (6:45 p.m. PT), and Thursday (6:45 p.m. PT)
National broadcasts: None
Where they stand
San Francisco Giants
Record: 102-54, 1st in the NL West
Run differential: +197, 2nd in the NL
Postseason standing: 1st seed
Momentum: 3-game winning streak, 7-3 in their last 10 games
Record: 50-106, 5th in the NL West
Run differential: -218, 14th in the NL
Postseason standing: Eliminated
Momentum: 1-game losing streak, 3-7 in their last 10 games
Season series: Giants lead 14-2
Three Giants to watch
LaMonte Wade Jr. (and Darin Ruf): Belt’s injury is heartbreaking, but the reality of the deep Giants squad is that they’re in good shape to withstand an injury to their first baseman, even if he’s been one of the best players on the team. That’s only the case because Wade and Ruf have been having such strong seasons. With Belt’s future unknown — hopefully he’ll return for the postseason, but it is far from a sure thing — Wade and Ruf have a great chance to soften the blow of losing The Captain.
Alex Dickerson (and Steven Duggar): While Wade has done an exceptional job filling in for Belt, using him at first base takes him out of the outfield, which means the Giants need another lefty hitter to step up there. Dickerson has had a bit of a disappointing season after hitting brilliantly in 2019 and 2020; he’s been a below league-average hitter this year, despite playing almost entirely against right-handed pitchers. Now’s the time to break out.
Logan Webb: After making 14 consecutive starts without allowing more than 2 runs, Webb has hit a little bit of a rough patch. In his four games since that streak, he’s pitched 24 innings and allowed 26 hits and 14 earned runs. It’s worth noting, though, that he’s only issued 4 walks in that span, while striking out 23 batters (which results in a funny discrepancy between his ERA [5.25] and FIP [2.41]).
Three D-Backs to watch
Madison Bumgarner: Bumgarner starts the series finale, and it would be great if he decided to help out the black and orange, as he did countless times during his decade as a Giant. MadBum’s season has, unfortunately, been a rough one, as he has battled injuries while sporting a 4.58 ERA and 4.64 FIP.
Ketel Marte: Excluding players with 10 or fewer plate appearances, the Diamondbacks have only one player on their roster — including those who played earlier in the season and were traded — who has put up an OPS+ of at least 109. The Giants, by contrast, have 10 such players. That player for Arizona is Marte, whose 148 OPS+ makes him the D-Backs best hitter by a country mile.
Merrill Kelly: Kelly is not having a very good season, with a 4.59 ERA and 4.09 FIP. But while his ERA hasn’t been much better in five starts against the Giants (4.34), he’s done a decent job suppressing the Giants two biggest weapons: walks and homers. He’s allowed just 5 and 6, respectively, in 29 innings.
Who wins the series?
This poll is closed
Giants win 2-1
D-Backs win 2-1
Who are the Dodgers playing?
The Dodgers are playing a three-game series against the San Diego Padres.