San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks: Battle for the NL West
The lead in the National League West division stands at only one game tonight as the Arizona Diamondbacks (60-49) seek to build on a 5-2 win in Game 1 of a 3-games series with the division-leading San Francisco Giants (61-48). San Francisco finds themselves on a rare 4 game slide and sitting on a 4-6 record in their last 10 games while their usually stout starting pitching has floundered to find the consistency that has brought them to the top of the NL West pack. Meanwhile, the Arizona Diamondbacks have found themselves on a 3-game win streak and 7-3 in their last 10 games, and victors of their last 3 series in a row.
Tonight’s pitching duel between Tim Lincecum (9-8, 2.78 ERA) and Dan Hudson (10-7, 3.81 ERA), certainly has the makings for a hotly contested, low scoring affair as plenty is on the line with the Diamondbacks trying to reclaiming the divisional helm for the first time since June 24th. Although San Francisco has given up the last two games against Arizona, they’ve been dominant while winning 7 of the first 8 between the two teams this season. To add to that, Tim Lincecum has been extremely stingy in the face of the Dbacks bats, going 7-2 with a 2.42 ERA, and after a horrendous stretch in June, the Giants’ ace has now gone 3-1 with a 1.08 ERA in his last 4 starts, and the only loss being a 1-0 defeat against the Los Angeles Dodgers, giving up just 1 run on 5 hits while striking out 7. Though Arizona has been strong on the mound, they’ll need Dan Hudson to step up better than he has of late, losing his last two games while giving up 9 runs in 12 1/3 innings.
Sportsbook.com has the odds for the game taking San Francisco as the favorite, at -155 on the moneyline. Expecting a stingy performance from Tim Lincecum tonight, the over/under stands at 6 runs, with EVEN money on the over total, and -120 on the under.
Look for a bounce-back performance tonight as the San Francisco Giants seek to end their losing skid, and firm up their division lead over the Diamondbacks as Tim Lincecum continues his recent dominance and outduels Dan Hudson.
Players to Watch – Arizona:
Justin Upton, RF – Hitting .316 with 8 home runs and 22 RBIS in the last month, and coming off last week with 4 homers, 8 RBIs and a .321 average.
Ryan Roberts, 3B – After struggling mightily through most of June and into July, Roberts is beginning to turn it around again. He hit .381 last week with 2 home runs and 4 RBIs, but has been hit and miss from week to week. He’ll need to keep his average up to help the bottom half of the Dbacks lineup stay productive.
Players to Watch – San Francisco:
Carlos Beltran, RF – Beltran has yet to show good production since being acquired from the New York Mets, and settling into the #3 spot in the Giants’ batting order. However, after a 2/4 night against Ian Kennedy last night, look for Beltran to continue to settle in, and get some production in tonights’ game.
Pablo Sandoval, 3B – Hitting .313 with 4 homers and 16 RBIs, Sandoval has been the only real source of power for the Giants’ lineup, pre-Carlos Beltran. He’ll need to keep his production up in the clean-up role behind Beltran to help energize San Francisco’s run production.