Arizona Diamondbacks Open NL West Showdown With SF Giants

Be honest, you thinking the Arizona Diamondbacks were returning to their "natural state" when they blew three games in row with spotty offense and bullpen meltdowns. Or were you thinking that it's just a normal part of the ups and downs or a long season? We now can look back on that stretch for what it was, a blip.

That's not to say the bullpen couldn't use another solid arm but J.J Putz blowing two save opportunities and David Hernandez having a five-run implosion seems to just a minor part of this season's history and not a turning point that sent the D-backs into a downward spiral.

Arizona returns home with a very solid 3-1 series win over the Marlins and a 4-3 road trip overall. The surprising Snakes are now an impressive 17-17 on the road and seven games over .500 (37-30) as they face their biggest series of the young season and perhaps the biggest series the team has played since September 2008.

The San Francisco Giants (37-29) come to town with a half-game lead in the NL West for a three-game set that will determine which of these teams will have control over the division for the next few weeks. The Giants hold a commanding 5-1 record over Arizona so far this season with 12 games remaining over four series between now and the end of September.

Pitching Matchups:

It will be vital for the D-backs offense to break through early and take a lead going into the final couple of innings. The Giants bullpen isn't known for giving up many runs so all those late-game heroics will have to be saved for another series. 

All three games start at 6:40 p.m. on Fox Sports Arizona with the live game thread on AZ Snake Pit.

Series Preview #23: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco Giants - AZ Snake Pit
The Giants have had a weird season.  Not the same sort of weird season as the D-Backs--who poured Ian Kennedy's tears, Ryan Roberts' tattoo ink, a dash of grit, and several quarts of alcohol in a blender, chugged the whole mixture and stumbled up the stairs into a fight for the division title--but a weird season nonetheless.  Most people haven't really regarded it as such, since the Giants were expected to win, and they've fulfilled their end of the bargain so far, but it's important to look at how they've pulled it off.

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