But the Pittsburgh Pirates are a team that warrants just as many comments.
The Giants are headed to Pennsylvania to face the Pirates, and they’ll meet a whole bunch of former Giants there. There are former first-round picks turned never-quite-put-it-together pitchers Tyler Beede and Chris Stratton. There’s the one-year-too-early reclamation project that is José Quintana. There’s reliever Heath Hembree, and “remember him?” catcher Tyler Heineman.
That’s five former Giants!
But there are even more connections if you include players who didn’t ever play for San Francisco. Bryan Reynolds was one of the organization’s top prospects. Anthony Banda spent time on the 40-man roster in 2020, and spent a good chunk of 2021 with AAA Sacramento. David Bednar’s brother was the Giants first-round pick in last year’s draft. Daniel Vogelbach is one of just three MLB players to have a last name beginning with “Vogel,” joining Ryan Vogelsong.
Those names aren’t quite as exciting as the ones that have populated the Atlanta squads for years, but then again the Braves are defending champions and the Pirates are bad, so it’s rather fitting, isn’t it?
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Where: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
When: Friday (4:05 p.m. PT), Saturday (1:05 p.m. PT), and Sunday (10:35 a.m. PT)
National broadcasts: None
Friday: Carlos Rodón vs. Zach Thompson
Saturday: Alex Wood vs. José Quintana
Sunday: Alex Cobb vs. Mitch Keller
Where they stand
Record: 35-27, 3rd in the NL West
Run differential: +40, 6th in the NL
Postseason standing: 3rd Wild Card, 4.5 games out of the division
Momentum: 1-game losing streak, 7-3 in their last 10 games
Record: 25-37, 3rd in the NL Central
Run differential: -101, 14th in the NL
Postseason standing: 10 games out of the Wild Card, 10.5 games out of the division
Momentum: 1-game winning streak, 1-9 in their last 10 games
Three Giants to watch
Brandon Belt: Belt finally returned to the lineup this week, and it could not have been a more Beltian return, as he got hit by the very first pitch that he saw. But in his next game, and first start since coming off the IL, he homered, reminding you all that he is very, very good at baseball. Belt staying healthy and catching fire would be a very nice Sunday treat. The Giants face two righties, so the chances will come.
Joc Pederson: Pederson is having a lovely season, so I say this not as an impatient slight at all: I’m ready for one of those home run flurries of his.
Alex Cobb: Cobb back! He hasn’t pitched this month, but is scheduled to come off the IL and start the series finale. The righty has had some of the worst luck in baseball this year, with an FIP that is more than double that of his FIP. His health and luck stabilizing would go a long ways for a pitching staff that is currently missing both Anthony DeSclafani and Jakob Junis.
Three Pirates to watch
Ke’Bryan Hayes: Hayes is having the type of season that justifies his elite prospect status. The 25-year old is playing sensational defense at third base, while having a comfortably above-average offensive season, slashing .272/.355/.376. Power is the one part of his game he’s still missing, but he makes contact, draws walk, and takes hits away. He’s very good.
Zach Thompson: Thompson provides plenty of opportunity for the Giants hitters. He has very mediocre run-prevention numbers (4.50 ERA, 5.06 FIP), and has just 39 strikeouts in 50 innings, while walking 18. Giants hitters like guys like that.
Tyler Beede: The Pirates are using Beede out of the bullpen, and so far the results have been pretty decent. He has a 2.57 ERA and a 3.99 FIP with Pittsburgh, though he’s struck out just six batters in 14 innings. Always fun to see an old friend.
Who wins the series?
This poll is closed
Giants win 2-1
Pirates win 2-1