The San Francisco Giants season has not been an unmitigated disaster, and don’t let the pessimists who come flying out of nowhere to be very vocal every time they lose tell you otherwise.
But ... it hasn’t been good, either. They’ve lost three of their first four series to start the year, including their last two, which were at home. It would be a good time for a series win and, thankfully, they have an opponent that could help them in that goal: the lowly Detroit Tigers.
The series is a good setup for the Giants. San Francisco is third in the Majors with 21 homers hit; the Tigers are third worst in the Majors, having allowed 21 homers. The Giants starting rotation is looking to find their rhythm; the Tigers offense is far and away the worst in the Majors, with their team OPS of .575 being just a shade higher than what Blake Sabol is hitting this year.
The table is set. We just don’t know if the Giants will sit down and eat.
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Detroit Tigers
Where: Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan
When: Friday (3:40 p.m. PT), Saturday (10:10 a.m. PT), and Sunday (10:10 a.m. PT)
National broadcasts: Friday (Apple TV+) and Sunday (MLB Network, out of market only)
Friday: Sean Manaea vs. Joey Wentz
Saturday: Anthony DeSclafani vs. TBD
Sunday: Logan Webb vs. Matthew Boyd
Where they stand
Record: 5-7, 4th in the NL West
Run differential: -3, 9th in the NL
Postseason standing: 1.5 games out of the Wild Card, 2.5 games out of the division
Momentum: 1-game losing streak, 4-6 in their last 10 games
Record: 3-9, 5th in the AL Central
Run differential: -40, 14th in the AL
Postseason standing: 4 games out of the Wild Card, 5.5 games out of the division
Momentum: 1-game winning streak, 3-7 in their last 10 games
Three Giants to watch
Sean Manaea: Manaea’s season didn’t start quite the way he envisioned when he signed a two-year, $30 million deal in the offseason. His first game came out of the bullpen for the Giants mix-and-match six-player rotation. But his second was a start, and a fairly dominant one at that, as he struck out eight batters in six innings, while allowing just five baserunners and one run. The Giants will probably still mix and match a bit based on who’s pitching well and who they’re facing, but Manaea looks like an important part of the rotation. He’s near the top of the list of players you can envision having a breakout season if the chips fall in the “best case scenario” manner for the Giants.
Logan Webb: Webb’s start to the season wasn’t what he envisioned, either. His strikeout numbers are the best of his career by far, but after three starts he’s sitting on a 4.76 ERA and a 4.39 FIP. Will a bad team and a new extension that sets him up for life be enough to prompt an elite performance from him on Sunday? Let’s hope.
Heliot Ramos: No one could have foreseen the Giants having as much faith in Ramos so early in the season after last year’s total disaster. And admittedly their hand was forced: the plan wasn’t to have him on the MLB roster so early, and he wouldn’t be here even if Austin Slater or Mitch Haniger were injured ... it took Austin Slater and Mitch Haniger being injured for Ramos to get an early call up. But the Giants could have found another way. They could have done their 2022 special and signed or traded for a mediocre veteran. They could have put one of their many right-handed hitting infielders in left field and added another infielder to the roster. Instead, they’ve put Ramos in the lineup for every lefty, including stars Julio Urías and Clayton Kershaw. The numbers aren’t there, but Ramos has looked pretty darn good in the batter’s box, and already saved runs in the outfield. I don’t think he’ll force his way onto the roster, but he does have the ability to use this series to cement his role as the first player called up when the team needs depth ... which they’ll probably need a lot this year. Both of the Tigers announced starters are lefties, so Ramos will see plenty of pitches this weekend.
Three Tigers to watch
Matthew Boyd: Boyd will forever be linked to the Giants in a way that will make Sporcle quiz creators drool. The Giants signed him last year when he was injured, banking on him joining the rotation midway through the season. By the time he was healthy, the Giants were out of contention and had traded him to the Seattle Mariners. Now he’s back with the Tigers where he’s spent almost his entire career, and he’s been the only decent starter for Detroit, with a 4.00 ERA, a 4.17 FIP, and seven strikeouts in nine innings. He’s also walked seven batters though, so ... big opportunity there, Giants.
Joey Wentz: On the other hand we have Wentz, a former first-round pick southpaw who is struggling in a massive way in his second season. Wentz has made two starts and given up more runs than innings pitched. In seven innings he’s given up five hits, five walks, and eight runs, and struck out only three batters. He was quite good last year, so there’s obviously something in his arm, but the Giants hitters will have all the opportunity in the world in the series opener.
Jake Rogers: Here’s a little insight into how bad the Tigers offense has been. The team has 15 players who have taken at-bats this year. Consider their OPS+ numbers — OPS+ is a stat that takes OPS, adjusts for the ballpark, and weights it based on the rest of the league, with 100 being the average MLB hitter. Of Detroit’s 15 hitters, four have a mark over 100. Only two have a mark over 105. And only one has a mark over 110 (for comparison, 10 of the Giants 17 hitters are over 100, 10 are over 105, and nine are over 110). It doesn’t help that Detroit has had awful performance from their big names, as Miguel Cabrera has an OPS+ of 67, Spencer Torkelson is at 66, and Javier Báez is at -7. Enter Rogers, a catcher who represents the one good OPS+: 126 (the Giants have six hitters above that mark). His on-base percentage may be below .300, but his slugging percentage is .545, and his two home runs (in just 24 plate appearances) are, shockingly, 25% of Detroit’s season total. I’m not sure that I’d classify him as an offensive weapon, but he might be the closest thing they’ve got.
Okay folks, give it your best shot.
Who wins the series?
This poll is closed
Giants win 2-1
Tigers win 2-1