Here we are in early September. One team holds an impressive six-game lead in the NL West and the other team has been in a veritable free fall for the past few weeks. One team is coming in with a nine-game win streak and the other team recently waived to starting players to shake up a dysfunctional situation. We already know which team is the Arizona Diamondbacks and which team is the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.
As big as this series is for the Diamondbacks, it's much bigger for the Giants. A sweep, or even a two-game win, by Arizona and the Giants are down eight or nine games and the race is all but over. A sweep by the Giants and the lead is still three-games in favor of the Diamondbacks.
It's almost a no-lose situation for the D-backs which is exactly what you want when you are trying to step on the throats of the defending champs. The team facing all the pressure with their season in the balance will be wearing black and orange this weekend.
Here's how the pitching match-ups are stacked up. On paper, it should be a low-scoring, intense series.
- Friday (7:15 p.m.) : Joe Saunders (9-11, 3.82) vs. Matt Cain (10-9, 2.87)
- Saturday (6:05 p.m.) : Ian Kennedy (17-4, 3.03) vs. Tim Lincecum (12-11, 2.58)
- Sunday (1:05 p.m.) : Daniel Hudson (14-9, 3.61) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (10-5, 2.65)
The Friday and Sunday games will be on Fox Sports Arizona. The Saturday game will be on MLB Network with the local blackout restrictions lifted so fans in Phoenix Metro will be able to watch the action.
AZ Snake Pit, as always, has an insightful preview of this series. Check it out.
The Giants are STILL a huge threat, they STILL have a rotation that's among the best in baseball, they STILL have a bullpen with a collective 2.89 ERA. We all know by now that the Giants don't have a good offense, but it also isn't likely to stay as cataclysmically awful as it has been over the past month or so.
And most important of all, the Giants STILL control their own destiny, as they are six games back of the Diamondbacks with six games left to play against them. If the D-Backs lose those next six games, and the two teams have the same record otherwise, we end up in a tie for first, with a one-game playoff looming. So, yeah, do something other than that, Diamondbacks.