SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 09: Matt Cain #18 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Game 2, 4/16, 5:10 PM PST: Barry Zito (0-1, 5.56) vs. Joe Saunders (0-1, 6.00)
Pitching Edge: Well, what a pitching duel we have here, eh??? I kid, I kid. This is more like what the Diamondbacks have been seeing this season though -- typically speaking they've been involved in ton of shootouts (FOUR 10-plus run games so far this season!).
Zito stinks against the D-Backs in his career, and he's not great at Chase Field either (2-4, 5.57 ERA, 1.738 WHIP; although 39 strikeouts in 42 innings is high for him). Just judging by his 2010 splits won't make you feel much better: 0-2 against the Snakes with an 8.38 ERA and a 1.862 WHIP.
Saunders doesn't have much experience against this current crop of Giants -- Aubrey Huff and Miguel Tejada are the only guys with more than 10 plate appearances against him. But they've both smoked him ... Huff's got a .444 average and Tejada has six hits in 12 AB's with two taters.
Opposing Batter to Fear:
Never thought the words "Willie Bloomquist" would coincide with the words "batter to fear," but this year he's been proving people wrong for not knowing who the hell he is. Bloomquist is raking and stealing a bunch of bases and he's got pretty good metrics against Zito over his career (he's secretly like 35 or something). A .286/.324/.516 line with two homers and six RBI in 37 plate appearances is nothing to sneeze at, especially for someone with 14 career homers.
Game 3, 4/17, 1:10 PM PST: Madison Bumgarner (0-2, 9.00) vs. Barry Enright (0-1, 6.00)
Pitching Edge: The youngsters face off in the series finale -- Enright's and Bumgarner have like one inning pitched* in the majors. Combined. *Okay, that's a mild exaggeration. And, in fact, they've got some decent data to mine.
Like, in 2010, Enright started against the Giants four times! The results were not great: a 1-2 record, 4.50 ERA, 10 strikeouts, 28 hits, seven walks in 24 innings. It is probably worth noting that seven current Giants have hit a home run against him.
Bumgarner, on the other hand, has owned the Diamondbacks, posting a 2-0 record with a 1.29 ERA in his career against the Snakes. That's only 21 innings, but he piled up 24 strikeouts and walked just five in that time, so this could be a decent chance for him to rebound from a shoddy start to the season.
Opposing Batter to Fear:
There's not enough statistical data out there to really provide a name that should terrify Giants fans watching this one. Chris Young's 4-for-8 against Bumgarner, but the guy that makes me nervous is Justin Upton, who hit a 478-foot home run recently and is one of the most talented players in the bigs. If he keeps rolling like he has been, he could do damage here.
Cain's recent success against the Diamondbacks should offset his road struggles and this seems like a game that the Giants win by a three-run-or-less margin (Wilson save, natch). The second game is kind of a toss-up -- who can score last?!?! -- and I kind of get hat weird feeling like there could be an ugly fielding gaffe that leads to a slew of runs in the seventh and a Diamondbacks win.
Game 3 equals out to a bounceback, though, as Bumgarner straightens out his season and dominates the Snakes over seven strong innings as the Giants take the series.