Well, the Pirates went into the weekend three games back of the first-place Brewers in the National League Central, and they came out of the weekend three games back. If asked a few weeks, and certainly a few months ago, you certainly would’ve taken that.
The Pirates (49-50) have a very promising-looking stretch of schedule coming up: Giants, Padres, Reds, Padres again, Tigers and Blue Jays before a visit to Milwaukee in mid-August. That’s six straight series against teams currently below .500, most of them well out of the playoff race. If that seems a little too good to be true, it probably is.
Since their three-game sweep of the Pirates, the Giants have won five games total and lost 11. They lost three of four to the Padres, who are also bad, in a weekend series.
Season Series: 3-0 Giants
June 30: Giants 13, Pirates 5
July 1: Giants 2, Pirates 1, 11 innings
July 2: Giants 5, Pirates 3
Monday, 10:15 p.m. - Gerrit Cole (7-7, 4.18 ERA) vs. Matt Cain (3-8, 5.49), TV: AT&T SportsNet
Tuesday, 10:15 p.m. - Jameson Taillon (6-3, 3.08) vs. Madison Bumgarner (0-4, 3.57), TV: AT&T SportsNet
Wednesday, 3:45 p.m. - Trevor Williams (4-4, 4.74) vs. Jeff Samardzija (4-11, 5.05), TV: AT&T SportsNet
38-62 (39-61 Pythag, 3.91 RS/G, 5.05 RA/G)
The Giants’ offense has been poor, sitting at 28th in the majors in overall fWAR, position-player fWAR and plain old runs scored. Buster Posey (.319/.403/.492, 11 HR) is still one of the best players in the league. Brandon Belt’s power (.447 SLG, 16 HR) is probably more impressive than it looks on the surface, playing in San Francisco’s pitchers park. Eduardo Nunez (.305/.330/.414) seems to be getting the most trade interest on this team, partially because he’s good, partially because he’s one of few productive players not tied down by a big, long contract. If I point out the underperformers, they’ll go off on the Pirates like they did last time. Moving on...
Matt Cain has started 19 games? Huh. His velocity and strikeouts are down. Madison Bumgarner has allowed seven runs in 13 1-3 innings across two starts since his return from a shoulder injury suffered in a dirt bike accident. Jeff Samardzija’s 9.68 K/9 and 1.05 BB/9 belie his win-loss record and ERA. He’s been mentioned as a possible trade chip, but he’s under contract for three more years. Mark Melancon remains on the disabled list with a right pronator strain in his elbow. Hunter Strickland, who walked about 73 straight Pirates in a game the Giants still won, has still been decent in this bullpen, with numbers bouncing all over the place (9.33 K/9, 4.91 BB/9, 2.45 ERA, 5.02 xFIP).
The Pirates should beat the Giants, three times preferably.
Will the Pirates beat the Giants three times?
This poll is closed
No, they’ll beat them twice.
No, they’ll beat them once.
No, they won’t beat them at all.