The San Francisco Giants just keep winning. Since losing to Jake Arrieta and the Cubs last Friday night, they’ve gone on another winning streak. After the 8-game streak was snapped the Giants have put together 5 more in a row. That’s a win in 13 of their last 14 games.
On May 15 the Giants woke up tied for 1st place in the NL West with the rival Dodgers. This morning they are 4.5 games ahead of LA, and 6.5 ahead of the Rockies. That’s 11 days worth of baseball. This has been an amazing stretch by the Giants, so let’s take a look to see if it continues if it continues in this week’s Friday Five.
1) Believe it or not, the Giants have three separate road trips this season that bring them to 3 different cities. Amazingly, unlike years past, this time the team gets a day off right before the trip starts, and right after it ends. Tonight starts a 3-game series in the house of horrors known as Coors Field. After that it’s 4 in Atlanta, where the Braves are 2-17 this season, seriously. The trip wraps up with 3 in St Louis next weekend. But we’ll get to that next week.
On a bit of a sidenote. The Dodgers go to New York to play the Mets this weekend, followed by 4 games in Chicago at Wrigley Field. They get the screw job with scheduling this year. Sunday night they play the ESPN game at Citi Field, and then Monday afternoon is a day game in Chicago. Not a lot of turnaround time against good clubs like that.
So how do the Giants take advantage? It all starts in Denver tonight. The Rockies themselves may be a bit sluggish. They are coming off their own 3-city trip and played just last night in Fenway, beating the Red Sox 8-2. The Rockies went 3-6 on the trip, winning the first, middle, and last game. In between they lost 3-straight, twice. Ok, I’ll stop looking at scheduling quirks, now.
Let’s look at what can hurt the Giants this weekend. Specifically, Nolan Arenado. When he comes to the plate, I can’t help but mutter “there’s that man again”. In 57 games against our boys, Arenado has better numbers than he has against any other team. He has 77 hits (.314 BA), 17 HR, .365 OBP, 1.002 OPS, 41 R, 51 RBI, and 144 total bases. In what must be a coincidence, the Giants have Arenado 5 times with a pitch. Against all other teams, he’s been hit 5 total times and not more than once by any other team.
He’s a thorn in the side of the Giants, and leads this offense once again. This season Arenado is 2nd in the majors with 14 home runs. Remember early season sweetheart Trevor Story? Well he’s got 13 HR’s and still has the starting job at SS. It’s all or nothing usually with Story, he’s tied for the most strikeouts in baseball with 67. Carlos Gonzalez is still around, but not driving the ball as much. He has 16 extra base hits of his 51 hits, compare that Story, who has 28.
The series, and road trip, gets started at 5:40 pt this evening with Matt Cain (1-5, 5.37) against Tyler Chatwood (5-3, 3.02). Chatwood has been the Rockies best pitcher this season and according to Baseball Reference has a WAR of 2.2, highest on the Rockies for any player. Saturday and Sunday are both 1:10 pt start times as Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto will try to keep the Rockies in check.
2) All of those words up there, and I haven’t even gotten to the mind-blowing roll the Giants and their pitching staff is currently on. The Giants have gone 5-1 since last Friday. As I mentioned, the loss came that day, and the Giants have now won 5-straight games. They are coming off a 3-game sweep of the Padres. Again.
Didn’t I just write that last week before the Cubs series? Yes I did. The Giants are 9-o against San Diego this season. Each game in the series wasn’t decided until late this time around. There was a scoreless battle, a late offensive outburst, and then an extra innings to end the series.
Monday night the Giants won on Hunter Pence’s “pinch hit single” to right field. Matt Kemp’s inability to field a baseball clinched Johnny Cueto’s 3rd complete game, second shutout, against the Padres this season. That’s 4 straight deep starts for Johnny, and he’s only given up 3 runs during that span. Opposing batters are hitting .188 against Cueto this month. Since he gave up 6 runs to the Reds on May 2, Cueto’s ERA has fallen from 3.61 to 2.38.
The offense finally woke up on Tuesday. Well, for an inning. The Giants scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 8th inning. They haven’t scored more than 5 runs in any other game during this streak. It really has all been pitching.
Since the start of May, the Giants are 18-6, the best record in baseball. That’s a .750 winning percentage. A win in 3 out of every 4 games. The starters have been impressive. In May, the starters have thrown 163.2 innings, allowed 50 runs, struck out 149 batters, and allowed a batting average against of just .229. The starters strikeout to walk ratio is almost 4:1.
Jake Peavy kept it going against the Padres on Wednesday, with his best start this season. A week ago I was asking Twitter what we need to do about his rotation spot. Who knows what next week will bring for Mr. Peavy.
3) , 4), 5) I’m flaking out on you. The day got away from me and I had to do other things as well. That’s what happens sometimes when you’re a fan first, podcast guy thingy second. Life gets in the way and suddenly you don’t have time to find links, quotes, or check in on an Ex-Giant.
But that should all be back next week.
Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend everyone. You can catch Monday’s game before heading out for afternoon plans. It starts at 10:10 am pt, so brew some coffee and make some eggs.