Those teams are good. Very good. Very, very good.
But you know who’s not good?
The Cincinnati Reds, that’s who.
The Reds are bad. Very bad. Very, very bad.
And that’s good.
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds
Where: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio
When: Friday (3:40 p.m. PT), Saturday (1:10 p.m. PT), and Sunday (8:35 a.m. PT)
Streaming broadcast: Sunday (Peacock)
Friday: Carlos Rodón vs. TBD
Saturday: Alex Wood vs. TBD
Sunday: Alex Cobb vs. Tyler Mahle
Where they stand
Record: 24-19, 3rd in the NL West
Run differential: +21, 6th in the NL West
Postseason standing: 2nd Wild Card, 5.5 games back in the division
Momentum: 2-game winning streak, 4-6 in their last 10 games
Record: 14-30, 5th in the NL Central
Run differential: -58, 13th in the NL
Postseason standing: 10 games out of the Wild Card, 14.5 games back in the division
Momentum: 2-game winning streak, 5-5 in their last 10 games
Three Giants to watch
Alex Cobb: Cobb has gotten quite roughed up in his last two starts, as he’s given up a combined 13 earned runs. Yet it’s hard not to feel like his poor outings have been more a result of bad luck, unfortunate sequencing, and rough defense than anything he’s doing. He has one of the biggest gaps between ERA (6.25) and FIP (2.74) that you’ll ever see this deep into a season. And as a result, he also has one of the biggest gaps in WAR (+0.7 fWAR, -0.6 rWAR). His walk numbers are great. His strikeout numbers are great. His fastball velocity is significantly higher than it’s ever been. But his BABIP is astronomical, and you can’t measure luck easily. A bad Cincy team might be just what Cobb ordered.
Joc Pederson: Pederson has long been known as one of the streakiest hitters in the game, and he’s done nothing to shake that reputation since donning his hometown team’s jersey. From the April 8 season opener through April 25, Pederson looked like a brilliant signing, as he hit 17-47 with six home runs, good for a batting line of .362/.392/.787, and an OPS of 1.179. Then he went ice cold, and from then through May 23 he hit just 5-49 with one home run, a batting line of .102/.211/.184, and an OPS of .394. And then in his last two games he hit 5-8 with four home runs and two walks.
Carlos Rodón: Rodón is an elite pitcher. The Reds are an awful offensive team. This has the potential to be all kinds of fun. By wRC+, the Reds have been the second-worst offense in baseball this year, with a team mark of 80. That means that the Reds, as a team, are hitting just a hair better than Mauricio Dubón did with the Giants this year.
Three Reds to watch
Tyler Stephenson: The Reds have only three batters this year who have hit above league average. The Giants, by comparison, have 13. But Stephenson is not only of those three, but the best of the three, with a slash line of .295/.358/.484. That’s not great relative to the rest of the league, but it is great relative to his teammates, and it’s still a well above league-average line. Stephenson is a righty, and the Giants have two lefty starters scheduled for this series, so he could do damage.
Tyler Mahle: Mahle is the only starting pitcher listed for the Reds this series, but he’s also one that should excite the Giants. Like Cobb, he has a large difference between his ERA (6.32) and his FIP (3.84). But unlike Cobb, there are some glaring wholes in his game ... namely the fact that he’s walked 23 batters in 47 innings, which has given him a WHIP that is just a shade under 1.5. The Giants love drawing walks, so they love meeting pitchers who issue them.
Tyler Naquin: Once I included the other two Tylers, I was kind of forced to include the third, wasn’t I. But Naquin is more than just a name gimmick in this exercise — he’s also a player who is, indeed, worth watching. He’s one of the three aforementioned Reds who are hitting above league average, with a 116 wRC+ and a 110 OPS+. He hits a bunch of doubles (he has 11 this year), but he’s also a lefty so he won’t have the advantage that Stephenson had.
Bonus player to watch: Aramis Garcia is on the Reds!
Before the Mets series began, 32% of you predicted the Giants would take two out of three games. Let’s go for a higher percentage today.
Who wins the series?
This poll is closed
Giants win 2-1
Reds win 2-1