The Giants lead is so much that the only realistic way the D-backs can win the division now is to win (i.e. sweep), the remaining nine games they have left with the Giants, starting with these three in SF. Gibson's luck last year (12 games over .500 in one-run games) regressed to the mean this season (10 games below .500 in 2012), so they have been swimming upstream for the most part and not succeeding. Each Giants win means another nail in the coffin that is their division title hopes, and the Giants could really bury them by winning the series.
Game 1: Corbin vs. Zito
Patrick Corbin: Corbin was cruising along in his last start as he held the Reds to two hits through 6 1/3 innings. Things unraveled for him in the seventh and the Reds scored three runs on a pair of homers en route to a 6-2 win.
Barry Zito: Zito's 2 1/3-inning effort last Wednesday at Houston was his shortest start since a 1 2/3-inning outing at Arizona on April 16, 2011, when he sprained his right foot. Zito's 5-5 with a 4.14 ERA at AT&T Park this year.Corbin has faced the Giants once before, throwing a 4 PQS start against them in AZ. So nobody has done that well against him before. He has done way better at home than on the road, but he's a rookie, so that's all small sampling, but still interesting to note his 3.38 ERA at home vs. 4.46 ERA on the road. Lefties have killed him but he's a lefty so that's probably a fluke, since he's doing pretty well against RHP (.668 OPS).
The Giants have a pretty good record against LHP, but that was partly because of Melky's dominance. Pence percolating bat could replace that production, plus maybe Bochy starts Arias (who has killed LHP) in place of Pablo (who has not, plus is in a huge slump; there has been talk that he's not in the shape he should be and in 2010, when that happened, it affected his hitting against LHP, for some reason).
Zito has done OK against AZ in AT&T, 4.33 ERA in 7 starts. Guys with a lot of experience against him have done well, Young .741 OPS, Upton .887 OPS, Montero .795 OPS. Also, Goldschmidt .733 and Kubel 1.833 in a couple of starts. Hill and McDonald have not done much, Johnson and Nieves too.
This will be a tough game to win. Zito has been lit for the month of August, and his recent interview implied that he blamed Posey's pitch selection (by blaming himself for not shaking off Posey more often....). So if Posey is catching, not sure what's going to happen, Zito has come up small in situations like this before. Might have a chance if Hector is catching. But even if that, Corbin did do well against the Giants before and in AZ, shutting them down. We will need our offense operating up and down the lineup to take this game.
Game 2: Kennedy vs. Vogelsong
Ian Kennedy: Kennedy was masterful in his last start against the Dodgers as he tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings to outduel Clayton Kershaw. In two starts against the Giants this year, Kennedy is 2-0 with a 2.51 ERA.
Ryan Vogelsong: Vogelsong has pitched six innings or more in 23 of his 25 outings. The Giants are 17-8 when he starts. Only once has he allowed more than one home run in a game. With his next victory, he'll match the personal best he reached last year.Ian Kennedy has been a Giants killer. He and Kershaw together last season personally killed the Giants chances for the playoffs, beating Lincecum numerous times. Whereas Kershaw stopped this season, Ian has continued, going 2-0 in his two starts against us this season. However, the reason Kershaw stopped was because Vogelsong stopped him this season, multiple times, and he's facing Kennedy in this start.
1.94 ERA in 6 starts in AT&T means it will be a tough night for the Giants bats. Posey, Theriot and Pagan have had some success against him before. Pablo has been basically shut down. Blanco and Pence have had a nice game against him before, Scutaro over two games. He actually has done better against RH than LH in his career, even though he's a RHP.
Vogelsong has a 2.70 ERA against AZ at home, with a 7.8 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9. So he's been a little lucky against them, walking that many batters while not striking out a whole lot. Young has hit him well in a bunch of ABs, .933 OPS, but others have not: Upton .633, Montero .650, Hill .571, McDonald .333, Goldschmidt .347, Kubel .500. Parra has hit well in one start.
Looks like a tough game to win, but Vogelsong has mostly given us good results in the past two seasons against tough pitchers, he seems to rise to the occasion.
Game 3: Cahill vs. Bumgarner
Trevor Cahill: Cahill has not won since July 30 when he beat the Dodgers. Since then, he is 0-2 with a 5.08 ERA. This year in two starts against the Giants, Cahill is 0-2 with a 6.17 ERA. He allowed four runs over six innings at AT&T Park earlier this year. X
Madison Bumgarner: The Cubs scored five runs off Bumgarner last Friday, his second straight start in which he has allowed at least four earned runs. He has a 2.15 ERA at AT&T Park compared to a 3.93 ERA on the road and has posted a 2.71 ERA in 10 second-half starts.Cahill has a 3.75 ERA in AT&T in two starts. Suffered a lot of bad luck as he struck out 11 in 12 IP and only walked 4 while giving up only 9 hits. He shut down the Giants as an A's last season, but the Giants beat on him this season as a D-back. Boy, could be a slugfest, Scutaro, Blanco, Pagan, Sandoval, Posey, Pence, plus Belt whacked a triple. Left-handers have hit him pretty well over his career, so Blanco, Sandoval, Belt, Crawford could have good games.
Madison had a bad last start, but his prior bad start was his first start of the season. And given his demeanor, he's probably ready for bear and dying to take down the D-backs. But Young, Upton, Bloomquist, Hill, Goldschmidt have hit him well in their careers, so it could be a slugfest this game on both sides. But in one start in AT&T against them, 1 ER in 5 IP, So hopefully he shuts them down, and logically, he should have a good game, he's been very good most of the season and just came off a bad start, giving him incentive to do well.
Don't have much time, so I will just note that hopefully the Giants are not looking past the D-backs towards the D-gers in the next series, or they could get schooled this series. The D-backs are still a dangerous team. But Bochy has been very good about keeping his team focused on the task at hand, usually. It will be tough to win the series, but that is doable if Zito can have a good start. Unfortunately, he has been lost again, his second half reputation has taken a beating in recent seasons, so it looks like it will be on Vogelsong's and Bumgarner's shoulders to win this series, which is tough because Kennedy and Cahill are good pitchers.
Go Giants! Put the D-backs division title hopes further into the ground and pat the dirt!