Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Giants Series Preview

Tuesday: Tim Lincecum vs. Craig Stammen

Wednesday: Randy Johnson vs. Jordan Zimmermann

Thursday: Matt Cain vs. Ross Detwiler

Wow, and the hits just keep coming for the Nationals. After going on the road to pad the two division leaders’ stats, the Nats come home to face last year’s Cy Young Award winner, the last 300 game winner the league will have for a decade (if ever), and the 2007 and 2008 award winner for unluckiest pitcher ever who is getting all the luck this year.

Hopefully, this series will instead highlight the resistible force vs. the moveable object theme. We know the Nationals’ pitching and defense has been more than generous to opposing offenses. It is the Giants’ offense that may choose not to take advantage, as only Seattle averages fewer runs per game. Their “Who-dat” lineup has posted a ghastly 78 OPS+ this season, and they continue to give prime corner at-bats to noodle-bat Travis Ishikawa and decomposing before our eyes Rich Aurilia. Their 26 team home runs ranks just ahead of Adrian Gonzalez (yes, that is a guy, not a team), and to be frank, they could be the most offensively challenged team of the decade, just ahead of the flaccid 2004 Backs.

Ahh, the things we wish. However, it will likely be decided by Lincecum maintaining his dominant form, Johnson making history, and the Nationals leaving roughly 36 runners on base in a 3-2 loss to Cain. Lincecum is actually striking out more batters per 9 than last season and has given up zero home runs while posting a 1.02 WHIP over his last eight starts. Shades of Greinke… It would not surprise me to see something special Tuesday. If Randy Johnson were not chasing history, I’d say he would be hittable. However, the Nats do like to take a reality show approach to staying in the limelight, so expect vintage Johnson.

As far as the Nationals pitchers go, expect strikes, as Detwiler and Stammen are on stupidly low pitch counts, and hopefully somebody gets J. Zimm settled down before he puts together another first inning implosion.

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