Week 2: Cueto, Samardzija Look Solid

By:  Jake Kucheck

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images North America

Quick Game Summaries:

Tue 4/12: Giants 7, Rockies 2 (W- Samardzija)

Wed 4/13:  Rockies 10, Giants 6 (L- Peavy)

Thu 4/14:  Rockies 11, Giants 6 (L- Cain)

Fri 4/15:  Dodgers 7, Giants 3 (L- Bumgarner)

Sat 4/16:  Giants 4, Dodgers 3 (W- Cueto)

Sun 4/17:  Dodgers 3, Giants 1 (L- Samardzija)

 

If you paid attention to the Giants this week, you’ll notice that’s an incredibly generous headline.  What it omits is that the rest of the staff, Bumgarner, Peavy and Cain (as well as the bullpen) had a pretty horrendous week.  The bats were OK, but couldn’t get going at the right time against the Dodgers, and got going slightly less than the Rockies.  The only 2 wins the Giants were able to pick up on their 6 game slate were started by, well, Cueto and Samardzija.

Starting with the positives, Cueto had only one start and looked once again very much in control, limiting a potent Dodgers offense to 3 hits in 7 1/3 innings and out-dueling fellow veteran Scott Kazmir for his 3rd win in as many starts.  Samardzija had a two start week, pitching both the series opener against the Rockies in Colorado and the finale against the Dodgers.  While he was able to pick up the victory against against the Rockies’ Tyler Chatwood due to an unexpected offensive explosion from backup catcher Trevor Brown, he may have been ever sharper against the Dodgers Kenta Maeda on Sunday night, narrowly losing a pitcher’s duel after giving up a 2-run moonshot to Joc Pederson in the bottom of the 5th.

Beyond those inspiring performances, the Giants left quite a bit to be desired.  Madison Bumgarner was uncharacteristically hit hard at Dodger Stadium, being taken deep twice by Kíke Hernandez and just generally not competing with Clayton Kershaw in the manner to which we’ve all grown accustomed.  Also, utility infielder Kelby Tomlinson made a crucial error against the Dodgers on Friday night, turning a routine double play ball into a huge Dodgers inning that proved to be the decisive blow to the Giants hopes that night.

The orange and black will look to improve on last week’s performance with two more appetizing match-ups than were available in the previous week.  For starters, the Giants will return the familiar surroundings of AT&T Park for the duration of the week, and will host the perennially underperforming Diamondbacks and Marlins (who this year, are again underperforming), starting this evening with AAA call-up and former super-phenom, Archie Bradley vs Jake Peavy.  Offense will likely carry the day in this game and the next (Robbie Ray vs Matt Cain), while pitching aficionados can look forward to Wednesday’s match-up of familiar NL West foes, Madison Bumgarner and Zack Greinke.  The series finale will give Johnny Cueto a chance to keep pace with Jake Arrieta for the league lead in wins, going up against a thus far unimpressive Shelby Miller and a likely tired Diamondbacks bullpen.  The Giants should take this series, 3-1.

The Marlins series should present its own set of challenges and opportunities, the most problematic of which comes in a Saturday match-up of Marlins ace Jose Fernandez matching up against Jake Peavy.  Expectations are such that the Fish will be heavily favored in this match-up, with the Giants being favored in the series overall, with an expectation that the Giants should take two of the three games.

Quick Summary:  

Bad week.  This week should be better.

Things to Watch:

  • Is Javier Lopez losing his ability to dominate lefty sluggers?  He allowed a 2 run shot to Corey Seager to make Saturday’s game a lot closer than it should have been, and generally hasn’t looked like himself.  With lots of David Peralta, Christian Yelich and Justin Bour this week, we’ll have ample opportunity to find out.
  • Is Matt Duffy pressing?  Probably.  Would be nice to see a multi-hit game out of him this week.
  • Will Peavy and Cain show enough this week (two start weeks for both) that they will keep their spots in the rotation?  Chris Heston hasn’t exactly been great out of the bullpen, but maybe he would be better off in a starting role.  If both guys fail to make it into the sixth inning in both starts against not terrific offenses, a change has to at least be considered.
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