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Series Preview: San Francisco Giants

The Dodgers hold a five-and-a-half game lead over two teams in the National League West.  The issue today is not which of the Giants or Rockies should the Dodgers be more concerned with; both teams pose a threat.  But for today's purposes, since the Dodgers happen to be in San Francisco, we will focus on the Giants, our opponent for the next three games.

The wrap on the Giants is that they are all pitching and no offense.  For the most part that is true.  Outside of the amazing Kung Fu Panda (Pablo Sandoval, hitting .332/.380/.555 with a .396 wOBA), only centerfielder Aaron Rowand (.275/.332/.441, .337wOBA) and newcomer Freddy Sanchez (.301/.340/.447, .339 wOBA) are above average hitters.

But oh, what a pitching staff. The Dodgers miss Matt Cain this series, but have to face Mr. Lincecum on Wednesday.  In between, they face a guy with a no-hitter (Jonathan Sanchez) and a guy who is back after getting Billy Swifted earlier this season (Joe Martinez -- he's all better now).  The bullpen, who as a whole lead the NL with a 3.40 ERA, has entered to tough situations all year.  Giants' relievers have entered a game with the bases empty 195 times, by far the fewest in the National League.  The average NL bullpen has entered the game with the bases empty 237 times.

The Dodgers are struggling, but they are not alone.  The Giants are smarting after losing two of three at home to Cincinnati over the weekend, so says Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle:

Though anybody can beat anybody in baseball, the sense of unease in the Giants' clubhouse stemmed from losing a series to a fifth-place team that had to face Tim Lincecum in the opener and Cain in the finale. Cincinnati won both of those games.


2009 Giants
Record 61-50, t-2nd NL West, 5½ GB
             t-1st NL Wild Card
Pythag Record   
60-51 (4th in NL)
Runs Scored 4.04/gm (14th in NL)
wOBA .305 (15th in NL)
Runs Allowed 3.69/gm (1st in NL)
FIP 3.72 (2nd in NL)
Defensive Efficiency .706 (3rd in NL)

So far this season, each club has won two-thirds of their home games against one another, and the Dodgers hold a 5-4 lead in the season series by virtue of playing one more home series:

April 13: @ Dodgers 11, Giants 1

April 15: @ Dodgers 5, Giants 4

April 16: @ Dodgers 7, Giants 2

April 27: @ Giants 5, Dodgers 4

April 28: Dodgers 5, @ Giants 3

April 29:  @ Giants 9, Dodgers 4

May 8: Giants 3, @ Dodgers 1

May 9: @ Dodgers 8, Giants 0

May 10: Giants 7, @ Dodgers 5

The Dodgers have lost eight of their last 13 games in San Francisco.

McCovey Chronicles is the SB Nation Giants' blog.  Here is a look at some of their recent work:

Probable Pitchers

Monday, 7:15pmHiroki Kuroda (4-5, 3.36 FIP) vs. Jonathan Sanchez (5-9, 4.20 FIP)

Tuesday, 7:15pmRandy Wolf (5-6, 4.11 FIP) vs. Joe Martinez (2-0, 2.29 FIP)

Wednesday, 12:45pmChad Billingsley, maybe (11-6, 3.47 FIP) vs. Tim Lincecum (12-3, 1.96 FIP)