Series Preview: #SFGiants (71-57) vs. #Astros (40-88)

Hunter Pence comes back to Houston for the first time as a Giant, and the Astros are incredibly ripe for the sweeping.

Not a typo. That does say 88 losses. You may have heard the Astros are bad, but may not have heard that they’ve been this bad in 2012. It’s true — the Astros are 5-17 in August, and were 3-24 in July. That’s 8-41 in those two months and all sorts of bad. For the record, the Giants went 12-12 in July and are 15-9 in August. This series also begins a run for the Giants against two notoriously bad teams in the Astros and the Cubs. The Giants must win the games they’re supposed to, since they shouldn’t expect the Dodgers to wilt against the rest of the NL West. The Giants are 5-1 against the Astros this season thus far.

Tuesday, August 28th: RHP Matt Cain vs. RHP Bud Norris

One sentence summary: Incredibly odd, but Bud Norris has a 2.18 ERA at home, and a 7.27 ERA away, and normally I don’t bust out ERA for talking points, but I guess his pitch execution and defense are that much better at MMP.

Wednesday, August 29th: LHP Barry Zito vs. LHP Dallas Keuchel

One sentence summary: Progress for Keuchel as he hasn’t allowed more than two walks in a game since the end of July while Barry Zito hopes he doesn’t get blown up by Houston in their park for the 3rd time in 4 career starts at Minute Maid.

Thursday, August 30th: RHP Ryan Vogelsong vs. RHP Jordan Lyles

One sentence summary: 12/19 of Lyles’ starts he’s given up 2 or 3 BB so there’s that, and Vogelsong hopes to see fewer than 3 men cross the plate for the first time since his outing in St. Louis.

LOLffense

When Joaquin Arias is still your hottest hitter in the last week by the numbers (.607 wOBA L7, .303 wOBA overall) I’m pretty sure that’s “LOL” quality, but if you’ve watched him, he is making it look pretty easy out there. Angel Pagan’s return to the role of leadoff has been well spoken about and the numbers back it up as well (.463 wOBA L7, .334 wOBA overall). While you will take baserunners at any time, it is nice to start the game off putting pressure on your opponent, as we saw in the most recent LA series. Gregor Blanco, while maybe not what you’d classify as “hot,” is contributing again (.360 wOBA L7, .314 wOBA overall), which if you’re going to be a starter, is obviously pretty important. Power bats that really need to step up are Hunter Pence (.224 wOBA L7), and Pablo Sandoval (.220 wOBA L7), as it would undoubtedly be great to get some confidence in before they head back West from this Houston and Chicago excursion.

Chris Snyder has had 10 PA in the past week. He also sports a Joaquin Arias-like .624 wOBA in his past week (.287 wOBA overall), so I can’t wait to see how that continues. Jason Castro is also contributing a little bit recently (.351 wOBA in 12 PA, .305 wOBA overall), but from there it’s all below average production, which isn’t the biggest surprise for a 40-88 team, and a team that’s gone 5-17 in August. Scott Moore might embody the Astros’ season in his past week: 22 PA, .069 wOBA, -70 wRC+. Ugh. I’d guess Houston fans might be thinking some these guys can only improve… but if they can, let’s hope they wait until after the Giants leave town.

Series Prediction

Hunter Pence’s homecoming should be a good one for the most part for the Giants, although I’m not convinced they’ll sweep. It’s baseball, ya’ll, and the Dodgers just got beat 10-0 by the Rockies of all people.

Tuesday: Giants win (Matt Cain doesn’t need to be his best)

Wednesday: Giants win (I can’t believe there’s someone that much worse than Zito statistically)

Thursday: Astros win (I think the Astros win one, just couldn’t figure out which one it’d be)

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