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The Giants Series


Bahama O's Fan

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Will this be the crucial series of the season? Will we bounce back or stumble and fall?

Our lineup besides today has been in a rough stretch. They obviously aren't this bad, so I don't think this is a crucial series. Obviously it's important like every series, but it's too early to say it's a must win yet. It's not even an AL team either.

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Two teams that have struggled since the break (the Giants worse than us) but both still right in the thick of their division race.

They have home field and the pitching edge in 2 of 3 games.

It will be tough, but 2 of 3 would be great.

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Problem is it's another cavernous ballpark. We're playing down a DH.

The Giants have the edge with their starting rotation this series.

Bundy vs. Cain

Cain since coming off the DL (4 starts): 4.58 ERA .258/.372/.515 - .887 OPS, 5 homers, 9 walks in 17 2/3 IP. Although his last two outings he's went 10 IP, 0 ER and only 5 H (7 walks, though). The O's really need to be patient against Cain since his command has been poor.

Gausman vs. Bumgarner

Lefty with video game numbers this year (1.002 WHIP, 2.20 ERA, 3.17 FIP, 10.0 SO/9, 2.2 BB/9). This seems like a huge hurdle on paper. Bumgarner's last 5: 3.18 ERA, .237/.284/.412 - .696 OPS. At home, Madison is a beast. Home: 1.59 ERA, .178/.231/.266 - .497 OPS.

Gausman is going to have to be perfect.

Miley vs. Cueto

The Giants have hit lefties +50 OPS points more than righties to the tune of .269/.343/.420 - .763 OPS. Miley has been solid if not unspectacular. The story is going to be Cueto. He's actually been worse at home than he has away. And the O's have had some success off of him (.365 /.389/.808 - 1.197 OPS, not including the playoffs).

The O's and Bundy need to make a statement tomorrow vs. Cain because Bumgarner (a lefty) at home against a struggling O's offense is pretty much a recipe for a big ole L.

The O's are capable of winning 2 out of 3. But that ballpark can be intimidating.

The good? In the last 24 games, the Giants are slashing .240/.316 /.361 - .677 OPS and only scoring 81 runs (3.4 R/G). That's very O's offense like. And it's not like the Giants hit much better home than away.

So, there's that.

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It will be a challenge, I'm sure. The last time we played in San Francisco, in 2013, we managed to win 2 out of 3. Interestingly, of the six pitchers who started a game in that series, only one (Matt Cain) will be pitching in this series. The O's outscored the Giants 17-7 in that series, winning the opener 5-2, losing the middle game 3-2, and routing the Giants in the finale, 10-2.

I feel like we are in for a low-scoring series. Hopefully we can get off to a good start tonight, which is probably the best pitching matchup for us.

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I was at the 2013 series as a newlywed visiting old friends.

The Friday night game was a thriller - Tillman was dominant, but Johnson gave up a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 9th and the place was nuts. We came right back to take it in the 10th.

The Giants won Saturday routinely and jumped on Norris in the 1st to go up 2-0 behind Cain Sunday. He was great early. The 10-2 final belied the game itself - we didn't get on the board until the 6th with one run, then took a 3-2 lead in the 7th before it got out of hand the last two innings. A very satisfying watch as a visiting fan!

Unfortunately that Sunday was probably the high water mark of 2013 contention as Monday the mother of all bullpen disaster series began in Arizona and we never regained a position as good as leaving San Francisco that day.

This series - it's weird to think of Bundy being under pressure in game 1 as our lone on-paper pitching edge. Not wanting to miss the big picture, it's incredible he's come so far so fast that we'd think that. It'll be a great test for him - the Giants are a great contact hitting team built for the ballpark. I think Sabean and Duquette are both quality GM's and imagine they'd build the Giants and Orioles rosters similarly based on league/park even if they changed jobs.

I like the Bumgarner match-up for Gausman - Buck says sometimes guys do better in "ride to the rescue mode" and I see as little pressure on Gausman tomorrow as there is a lot on Bundy tonight. Bumgarner's been scuffling a little by his standards - unusually winless in 5 straight starts including one real clunker. His velocity and zone percentage are down a bit, and we always have a puncher's chance.

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Problem is it's another cavernous ballpark. We're playing down a DH.

The Giants have the edge with their starting rotation this series.

Bundy vs. Cain

Cain since coming off the DL (4 starts): 4.58 ERA .258/.372/.515 - .887 OPS, 5 homers, 9 walks in 17 2/3 IP. Although his last two outings he's went 10 IP, 0 ER and only 5 H (7 walks, though). The O's really need to be patient against Cain since his command has been poor.

Gausman vs. Bumgarner

Lefty with video game numbers this year (1.002 WHIP, 2.20 ERA, 3.17 FIP, 10.0 SO/9, 2.2 BB/9). This seems like a huge hurdle on paper. Bumgarner's last 5: 3.18 ERA, .237/.284/.412 - .696 OPS. At home, Madison is a beast. Home: 1.59 ERA, .178/.231/.266 - .497 OPS.

Gausman is going to have to be perfect.

Miley vs. Cueto

The Giants have hit lefties +50 OPS points more than righties to the tune of .269/.343/.420 - .763 OPS. Miley has been solid if not unspectacular. The story is going to be Cueto. He's actually been worse at home than he has away. And the O's have had some success off of him (.365 /.389/.808 - 1.197 OPS, not including the playoffs).

The O's and Bundy need to make a statement tomorrow vs. Cain because Bumgarner (a lefty) at home against a struggling O's offense is pretty much a recipe for a big ole L.

The O's are capable of winning 2 out of 3. But that ballpark can be intimidating.

The good? In the last 24 games, the Giants are slashing .240/.316 /.361 - .677 OPS and only scoring 81 runs (3.4 R/G). That's very O's offense like. And it's not like the Giants hit much better home than away.

So, there's that.

How great would it be if Gausman breaks his away non-winning streak against Bumgarner? Make it so, Baseball Gods.

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This is easily the toughest series left on the schedule for the O's. Big park, no DH and we see both of the Giants' aces. Recipe for disaster, honestly.

Bundy needs to stay hot tonight. It's the only game of the series that we have the better pitcher in. A loss tonight sets the table for a sweep in a bad way. Double whammy, too, given that it's not going to be easy for our corner guys to cover ground in that OF. And Pearce is probably going to miss Saturday's game, where we could have used him against Bumgarner.

Bad all around. I'm setting expectations to very low and hoping for the best.

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