By Vince Cestone
Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants will look to rebound after getting swept by their rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Although they lost three straight games at home to Los Angeles, the Giants are still in sole possession of first place by a mere .001 percentage point (.545 winning percentage for the Giants compared to .544 for the Dodgers).
After being shutout twice in a row by Los Angeles, Madison Bumgarner (11-6, 3.10 ERA) will look to be the stopper. Bumgarner is coming off a gem against the San Diego Padres on July 24 where he pitched seven inning and gave up two earned runs in his no-decision.
The Giants' offense is leaking oil. In their last four games, they have scored just six runs and many of their offensive starters have gone cold.
Brandon Belt, despite going 3-for-5 on Friday night and 4-for-10 in the Dodger series, is hitting .180 in July with a .261 on-base percentage and 26 strikeouts in 61 at-bats.
Angel Pagan has also suddenly gone stone cold. After getting off to a good start, Pagan is hitting just .217 in his last seven games, with a .250 OBP and a .348 slugging percentage.
The Giants are hitting with very little power, if any. Scoring just 19 runs in the last week, San Francisco has hit just three home runs and 15 total extra base hits.
The Mets will ask Jeremy Hefner to face the struggling Giants' offense. Hefner (1-4, 5.40 ERA), in his last appearance, pitched a quality start, throwing six innings and giving up just two earned runs.
Here are some more tidbits:
- Mets' outfielder Scott Hairston is 0-for-6 against Bumgarner in his career.
- Hefner pitched three scoreless innings against the Giants in his major league debut in New York on April 23.
- Bumgarner is 7-1 with a 1.89 ERA in nine home starts this season.
- The Giants have no been shut out in three straight games since June 23-25, 1992.
- The Giants have won 11 of their last 15 games against the Mets
- Giants' catcher Hector Sanchez is eligible to come off the disabled list Thursday.
The Giants are playing awful baseball right now. They look like they have no idea what they are doing at the plate and it shows.
The Giants twice on Saturday had leadoff doubles that never came around to score. The Giants twice on Sunday made baserunning gaffes that killed potential rallies.
They are swinging at pitches way out of the strike zone and taking pitches right down the middle. The situational hitting is lacking in a big way and it's due to their overaggressiveness.
Can it be the result of trying to do too much?
Case in point. Buster Posey lead off the bottom of the second inning in Saturday's game with a double. The next batter, Angel Pagan, swung at the very next pitch and popped the ball up to left.
It is going so bad that even when the Giants do make hard contact, it is finding a glove. Newly acquired infielder Marco Scutaro can tell you all about that.
Scutaro scorched the ball in each of his three at-bats on Sunday, but only had one hit to show for it.
Defensively, the Giants made costly errors both on Saturday and Sunday. Brandon Crawford's ground-ball miscue and Scuatro's botched pop-up both led to runs.
The bottom line is the Giants are still in a great position to win the National League West. They are percentage points ahead of the Dodgers in first place and have an incredibly easy schedule coming up.
They won't step foot east of Chicago for the remainder of the season. Can the barrage of games remaining against San Diego and Colorado be enough to carry them into the postseason--and dare I say beyond?