The Arizona Diamondbacks are in San Francisco today for game two of a three-game series with the Giants. The D’backs took game one last night in a tight one, 3-2, behind a dominant start from Robbie Ray. Ray went seven innings, giving up only one earned run and striking out ten along the way. Arizona will turn to their ace Zack Greinke (16-6 2.99 ERA) tonight to take a 2-0 lead in the series. The Giants will counter with an ace of their own in the form of Madison Bumgarner (3-8 3.55 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 PM PST from AT&T Park in San Francisco, California.
Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants
Zack Greinke (16-6 2.99 ERA) vs Madison Bumgarner (3-8 3.55 ERA)
Zack Greinke has been great all season long. His 16 wins are second in the National League, and his sub-three ERA is sixth amongst all National League starters. Greinke has been especially good over his last four starts, going 26.2 innings and allowing only a total of six runs while striking out twenty-two. In his last start against the Giants on August 25th, he went 6.2 innings and gave up only two earned runs in a 4-3 Arizona victory.
At 10-4 in the month of September, the Diamondbacks are quietly playing as good as any team in baseball as the season comes to a close. They aren’t getting much attention as the division title has been out of reach almost all year long and they ran away with the wild card months ago. Even with the Dodgers recent collapse the D’backs still find themselves 9.5 games back of the National League West Division title entering play today. So even without anything really to play for, Arizona has remained sharp and is on a roll heading into the postseason.
The Giants, on the other hand, are just hoping for the season to end. They brought in the aging fat panda of Pablo Sandoval to try and bring back good memories of past World Series runs, but that move has predictably blown up in their face as the panda has hit a miserable .178 with just two homers in thirty-five games with his old team. They say you can never go home again and Pablo Sandoval is feeling like that right now. At 4-10 in the month of September, the Giants have been a punching bag for teams trying to tune up for the playoffs. Even their mighty World Series hero pitcher and tonight’s starter Madison Bumgarner has been affected.
Bumgarner missed over two months with an injury this season and since returning was doing a decent job as being the one bright spot on this otherwise dreadful squad. He has a sub-three ERA in July and August, and even though his 3-3 record didn’t reflect it, he was pitching fairly well. Then I guess the realization that the Giants were going nowhere and his strong performances were being wasted set in because Bumgarner has been downright dreadful in September. At 0-2 with an ERA of 9.0 Madison has been getting shelled. The Giants haven’t been scoring runs for Bumgarner all year long even when he has pitched well, and now that he is not pitching well they are getting blown out.
This is a standard late September matchup featuring two teams headed in different directions. The Giants are terrible and have been all year and couldn’t care less about winning at this point. The D’backs, on the other hand, are sharpening up and taking aim at knocking off the all the sudden vulnerable Dodgers in the playoffs. I doubt Greinke will be asked to go super deep in the game as they are going to want him to be rested for the playoffs but I also don’t see this putrid Giants offense doing much against him either. Maybe Bumgarner will be decent and not get shelled like he has been lately, maybe. But in the end, the poor guy can’t get a win even when he pitches great, so I’m not sure there is even much he can do in this one. The Diamondbacks are just the much, much better team in this one and I am backing them as road favorites tonight.
Today’s Pick: Arizona -139