Series Preview: San Francisco Giants

USA TODAY Sports

The Giants have not been to St. Petersburg to take on the Rays since they lost 2 out of 3 to the then Devil Rays back in 2004. A key to the series will be shutting down Buster Posey and defeating Madison Bumgarner in the important game 1. Always fun to win on a Friday Evening!

The Giants enter this weekends series in St. Pete winners of two in a row but have lost 8 of their last 11, 13 of their last 21, and 21 of their last 32. They have especially struggled on the road posting the 4th lowest win percentage in the majors at 20-32 (.384) and have lost 12 of their last 18. They finished the month of July with a record of 8-17 which was the 3rd worst July in the Major Leagues (behind White Sox and Astros) and the worst month in the franchise since June 1994.

They enter the weekend with a 48-59 record and in last place by 10 games in the AL West and 11 out in the wild card. This weekend marks the first time the Giants have played in St. Petersburg since 2004 when they lost two out of three.

This weekends pitching matchups are Madison Bumgarner (10-6, 2.76 ERA) vs Chris Archer (6-3, 2.39 ERA) on Friday at 7:10 p.m., Tim Lincecum (5-11, 4.61 ERA) vs David Price (6-5, 3.57 ERA) on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. and TBA vs Roberto Hernandez (6-11, 4.71 ERA) at 1:40 p.m. on Sunday.

The Offense:

The Giants rely on their pitching to win games and are 37-11 when the team just scores 4 or more runs. The offense has struggled through most of the season and have hit the second fewest home runs in the major leagues (65) second only to the Miami Marlins (63). They have scored the 4th fewest runs per game (3.86) in the major leagues.

Much like the Kansas City Royals the Giants are a pesky offense that despite a lack of power in the lineup is capable of stringing together hits to score a few runs. They do carry the 4th best batting average (.262) into the series.

Giants Offense Last 30 days:

Name PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG OPS wOBA wRC+
Brandon Crawford 72 11.1% 13.9% 0.313 0.389 0.422 0.811 0.360 136
Buster Posey 89 5.6% 12.4% 0.296 0.348 0.444 0.793 0.346 126
Pablo Sandoval 107 9.3% 16.8% 0.283 0.355 0.435 0.790 0.340 122
Marco Scutaro 90 12.2% 3.3% 0.320 0.402 0.333 0.736 0.336 119
Joaquin Arias 21 0.0% 4.8% 0.333 0.333 0.429 0.762 0.331 116
Hunter Pence 103 2.9% 14.6% 0.276 0.311 0.378 0.688 0.303 96
Brandon Belt 78 12.8% 34.6% 0.224 0.333 0.343 0.677 0.302 96
Kensuke Tanaka 34 11.8% 8.8% 0.267 0.353 0.267 0.620 0.289 87
Andres Torres 61 11.5% 19.7% 0.216 0.305 0.294 0.599 0.265 70
Tony Abreu 41 2.4% 22.0% 0.211 0.244 0.316 0.560 0.246 57
Guillermo Quiroz 35 5.7% 20.0% 0.194 0.235 0.323 0.558 0.242 54
Gregor Blanco 83 12.0% 16.9% 0.181 0.277 0.222 0.499 0.236 49
Jeff Francoeur 43 2.3% 11.6% 0.167 0.186 0.190 0.377 0.169 3

.

The Bullpen:

Sergio Romo (Closer), Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez (LHP), Jean Machi, Jose Mijares (LHP), Guillermo Moscoso, Sandy Rosario.

The Giants bullpen has been getting worn out. Over the last 30 days they have worked a major league leading 91.2 innings. In that span they have posted the 8th lowest ERA in the National League (3.53) with a FIP of 3.64.

The bullpen over the last 30 days:

Name K/9 BB/9 K% BB% AVG WHIP LOB% ERA FIP
Jean Machi 7.56 0 23.30% 0.00% 0.200 0.72 83.3% 1.08 1.36
Jose Mijares 14.1 5.14 32.40% 11.80% 0.310 1.86 78.6% 3.86 2.04
Sergio Romo 12 3 28.60% 7.10% 0.237 1.33 51.7% 5.00 3.15
Sandy Rosario 4.09 3.27 10.90% 8.70% 0.238 1.27 78.6% 2.45 3.23
Santiago Casilla 6.75 3.38 17.40% 8.70% 0.200 1.13 100.0% 0.00 3.23
Javier Lopez 6.43 5.14 14.70% 11.80% 0.167 1.29 88.9% 1.29 3.33
Guillermo Moscoso 10.1 6.75 23.10% 15.40% 0.200 1.5 83.3% 6.75 9.04

The Starters:

Madison Bumgarner

Bumgarner has been the best starter for the Giants in 2013 going 10-6 with a 2.76 ERA. He has made 21 starts and 15 have been quality starts. The Giants are 12-9 when he takes the mound and have won 6 of their last 9 when he takes the mond. He enters his start with a scoreless innings streak of 14. He has allowed 3 runs or few in each of his last 9 starts.

Over his last 5 outings he has posted a record of 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA. He has worked 36 innings allowing only 6R/ER on 20 hits striking out 33 while walking just 9.

Tim Lincecum

The Giants were hoping for a return to dominance from Tim Lincecum after a shaky 2012 (10-15, 5.18 ERA) but although he has improved he is still a far cry from the dominant lefty of previous seasons. Overall he is 5-11 with a 3.67 ERA. He still has strike out ability as evidenced by his strike out rate of 9.7 K/9 and can still be dominant on certain nights.

In his last start before the All-Star game Tim Lincecum celebrated a no-hitter in which he threw 148 pitches. His first start after the all star break came on 8 days rest and it was one of the worst of his career giving up 8R/ER in just 3.1 innings against the Cincinnati Reds.

Over his last 5 games he has a record of 1-3 with an ERA of 4.50. He has worked 32 innings allowed 16R/ER on 25 hits striking out 44 batters while walking 10.

Possible: Barry Zito

Remarkably Zito is 0-7 with a 9.97 ERA in 9 road starts this season. According to Elias the only other pitcher in Major League history to go 0-7 or worse with an ERA higher than Zito's was the Pirates Charlie Morton who went 0-7 with a 10.38 ERA in his first 9 road starts in 2010.

Ignoring the splits Zito has gone 4-8 with a 5.09 ERA this season. He has a strike out rate of only 5.9 K/9 while his walk rate is 3.7 BB/9. Of all starting pitchers with 100 innings or more he has posted the highest WHIP at 1.68.

Over his last 5 starts (4 on the road) he has posted a record of 0-2 with an ERA of 7.65. In his 5 starts he has only worked 20 innings allowing 17R/ER on 29 hits striking out 14 while walking 12. He has been unable to work past the 4th inning in any of his last 3 starts lasting just 2. 4.2, and 3.1 innings respectively.

The Series:

The Rays pitching staff, especially at Tropicana Field, should be able to keep the ball inside of the park. The Rays defense, which has been stellar all season, will be relied on to turn batted balls into outs. Chris Archer and David Price should both be able to follow the script of attacking the lineup inside the strike zone. Roberto Hernandez will look to continue his dominance over National League opponents (3-0, 1.52 ERA).

The Rays pitchers will have to work cautiously around Buster Posey as he is the big bat in the lineup. He should be the one guy that Joe Maddon and Jim Hickey have pre-determined not be the hitter that beats them.

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