The San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks play the finale of their four-game series on Sunday afternoon in the desert. The Giants are eyeing a big sweep against the Diamondbacks, which is exactly what they needed in this National League wildcard race.
When it looks like they’re out of the hunt, the Giants turn it on for a week and are suddenly right there again. There are five teams within five games of a wildcard and the Giants are one of those teams. The Diamondbacks are last in that conversation now, though, having gone into this weekend down by just a couple of games.
San Francisco like to go through these spurts where they play terrific baseball and then fizzle out. It will be important for the Giants to keep their foot on the pedal this week. With a three-game series at Wrigley Field and then on the road again in Oakland next week, it’s not going to be easy as they don’t get home until the 26th.
Sustaining a hot run on the road is often difficult and the Cubs are a good home team, so we’ll see where it goes. The Giants can’t afford to slow down given their position in the National League. Down by two games doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s a lot when you factor in all of the competition they have to deal with around them.
The Giants’ offense has sprung to life during this trip to the desert. They’ve scored at least 7 runs in three straight games. It’s primarily the pitching staff who carry the load for the Giants, but the offense chipped in to put the Giants in position to sweep on Sunday.
They have a tricky assignment against talented rookie Zac Gallen this afternoon. The Giants will counter with one of the best pitchers from the last decade, Madison Bumgarner. Head below for our free Giants vs. Diamondbacks pick.
San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
The Giants kept Madison Bumgarner in their stable with the intentions of going on a run and getting into the postseason. They know that if they can play in the Wild Card Game, the Giants are going to have a good chance of making some noise. The Giants have experience on their side in that regard. I certainly wouldn’t want to be the team having to play against Bumgarner in a do-or-die spot.
Bumgarner enters Sunday afternoon with a 3.63 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. For a career as good as his, that would be the worst season of his career. However, Bumgarner has been more than competent, with a 2.84 ERA and 0.68 WHIP in his last three outings. Note that he’s surrendered just 1-run in his last 14 innings pitched.
That also includes only 3 hits and 1 walk yielded. This Diamondbacks’ offense are hitting just .191 against Bumgarner in 157 at-bats. With the stakes getting turned up as we approach the final turn of the regular season, expect Bumgarner to be at his best in this one.
Zac Gallen hopes to steal the spotlight to avoid a sweep. Gallen was acquired in a trade with the Miami Marlins and has pitched like he could be special in the future. In seven outings with the Marlins, Gallen posted a 2.72 ERA in 36.1 innings of work. In two outings with the D-backs, the positive news has continued for Gallen.
He’s allowed just 2 runs in 9 innings for a 2.00 ERA. In all, Gallen has allowed 2 or less runs in eight of nine outings this year. The oddsmakers are overlooking Gallen here. Despite putting up a lot offense recently, the Giants are a group who could easily turn around and sputter for a week. A total of 9 looks a bit too high with him and Bumgarner starting on the bump on Sunday afternoon.