It sure would be nice if the San Francisco Giants could pick up a couple of wins in Miami against the Marlins this week, but the tone and tenor of the squadron as they get to loanDepot Park — I’ve checked several times and this is both the actual name and real stylization of the name that they’re using — certainly doesn’t suggest a competitive posture.
But there’s always the adage, “Momentum is that day’s starting pitcher,” and the Giants, by a great fluke of luck and a degree of gamesmanship yesterday from the Tigers in Detroit means that the Giants’ ace will be starting this series, meaning that if they’re to get back on track it starts right now.
The lineup is second in the NL in home runs hit, but the team overall is 13th in hits, last in doubles, last — or first, depending on how you want to look at it — in strikeouts, and 9th or 10th in batting average, walks, and on base percentage. Still, the lineup is almost the least of the team’s problems. The Giants are about to play seven games in a row, so it means the bullpen will get a look, and it’s in that case where we’d better hope Logan Webb can start this stretch off well for the team with six good innings.
The Marlins play in a tough division and have a fraction of the Giants’ resources, and yet both teams seem to be about even keel when it comes to success on the field and in their player development. You can argue that the Marlins have graduated far more prospects, but the sum total of the graduated prospect success compared to the Giants’ thrift shop find of a roster doesn’t measure up. I’d consider these teams at the same end of their rebuild cycles. They’re just going about them differently.
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Miami Marlins
Where: loanDepot Park, Miami, Florida
When: Monday (3:40 p.m. PT), Tuesday (3:40 p.m. PT), and Wednesday (10:10 a.m. PT)
National broadcasts: MLB Network simulcast (Monday).
Friday: Logan Webb vs. Jesús Luzardo
Saturday: Alex Wood vs. Edward Cabrera
Sunday: Alex Cobb vs. Trevor Rogers
Where they stand
Record: 5-9, 4th in the NL West
Run differential: -6, 10th in the NL
Postseason standing: 3.0 games out of the Wild Card, 3.0 games out of the division
Momentum: 3-game losing streak, 3-7 in their last 10 games
Record: 8-8, 3rd in NL East
Run differential: -26, 14th in the NL
Postseason standing: 1 game out of the Wild Card, 4.0 games out of the division
Momentum: 1-game losing streak, 6-4 in their last 10 games
Three Giants to watch
Logan Webb: This will be his first start since signing his five-year extension and while he hasn’t looked incredible during his first three starts (17 IP, 0-3, 4.76 ERA), he does have an xFIP of 2.48, which suggests both the ball is juiced and the limitations on the shift could be effecting his game. But his velocity and stuff has passed the eye test and he did have a solid Opening Day, so, let’s maybe see how this week goes before raising any red flags.
David Villar: This will be a homecoming of sorts for Villar. Baseball Reference says he was born in Georgia, but he graduated from University of South Florida and his LinkedIn page says he lives in Fort Lauderdale:
... and in his Day in the Life video that co-starred Sean Hjelle, Hjelle made it a point to make fun of Florida (“America’s basement”), so, yeah, I think it’s enough for fans to say “David Villar is from Florida.”
He’s hitting just .198 and three of his eight hits have been home runs (that juiced ball speculation feels pretty relevant now), so if he gets some playing time this series, let’s watch and see if being home can help him take advantage. He’s an important player for the Giants in a couple of ways: he has a small degree of versatility and he could very well be a rare player development success.
J.D. Davis: I don’t know about you, but I love our big beefy boy. Just go look at all the red on J.D. Davis’s Statcast page. He’s picking up right where he left off last year — where he ended with the best Hard Hit rate in the NL — and he has the chance to add to that in this series. For his career (44 games, 150 PA), he’s hit .333/.453/.567 against the Marlins.
Three Marlins to watch
Luis Arraez: The Marlins flipped Pablo Lopez to the Twins for him this past offseason, and all the guy does is hit (mostly singles). Though, this year, he’s slugging .647 on 24-for-51 hitting in 57 PA (15 games). Friend of the site Wendy Thurm wrote about his hitting prowess this week and wondered:
Now that Arráez has hit for the cycle and won a batting championship, could he be the first .400 hitter since Ted Williams?
He’s struck out just 135 times in 1,626 major league plate appearances. He makes contact. The Giants are a contact staff. This could get ugly.
Jesus Luzardo: The Giants need to show that they can get to left-handed starting pitching, but game one of the series will be an extremely tough test. Though limited by injury since the Marlins acquired him from the A’s in 2021, since the start of 2022, in 119 IP, his 10.6 K/9 is 6th-best in the NL. He’s very likely going to blow 98 mph four-seamers by Giants hitters, but the silver lining there is that four-seamers aren’t sinkers (though he does use a sinker at times), and the Giants might get some launch on him. If you see him stick sinker-slider, though, the Giants will almost certainly be in more trouble.
Jazz Chisholm: Chisholm is a high energy guy whose move from second base to center field hasn’t quite worked out; meanwhile, he’s striking out 40% of the time. He hasn’t killed the Giants in his career — it only seems that way — but he seems like a player who could start to figure things out at the exact wrong time for our favorite team.
Giants @ Marlins - how will it go?
This poll is closed
Giants win 2-1
Marlins win 2-1