The San Francisco Giants have a record of 76-74 in Major League Baseball.
Even with a losing record entering the final stretch of games, the Giants have a glimmer of hope for playing playoff baseball.
The Giants begin their final 12 games of the season with a crucial two-game series on the road at Chase Field in Phoenix. Beginning September 19, they play a short, two-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, their division rival.
The new MLB competitive balanced schedule has delivered the desired results. More teams are competing for the playoffs entering the final games of the season.
The Atlanta Braves have clinched the National League East title. Easily.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have clinched the National League West title. Easily.
The Milwaukee Brewers have a commanding lead in the National League Central, with both the Chicago Cubs, and Cincinnati Reds clinging to a very slim hope of overtaking the Brewers.
The competition between National League clubs hoping for a ticket to the postseason will intensity with every passing day.
Six teams still have a chance to grab the three National League Wild Card entries.
The Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks, Miami Marlins, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, and the San Francisco Giants probably won’t know their postseason fate until the end of play October 1.
The Diamondbacks enter the showdown series with a record of 79-72, a tad better than the Giants.
To this scout, the teams are fairly even in their strengths and weaknesses. Both have had surges this season. Both have had hiccups at times. Both are inconsistent.
So far this season, the Giants have a 7-6 record against the Diamondbacks.
Here are the projected starting pitchers for the two-game Giants-Diamondbacks series:
September 19-Giants All Star Alex Cobb vs. Diamondbacks All Star Zac Gallen.
September 20-Giants Logan Webb vs. Diamondbacks Merrill Kelly.
Comparative Offensive Team Statistics:
According to Baseball Reference, to date, the MLB average batting average is .249, or six points higher than last year.
At the start of play September 19, the Giants have a team batting average of .241. They have hit 162 home runs, and have scored 650 runs in 150 games played. The Giants have stolen 53 bases, the lowest number in baseball.
At the start of play September 19, the Diamondbacks have a team batting average of .251. They have hit 160 home runs, and have scored 698 runs in 151 games. The Diamondback have stolen 151 bases, fourth highest in baseball.
Each of those offensive statistics may have some bearing on the final two games between the Giants and Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks do have some power hitters in their most commonly used lineup.
First baseman Christian Walker leads the team with 30 homers. He is followed by outfielder Corbin Carroll and All Star outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who each have hit 24. Second baseman Ketel Marte has added 23 home runs to the total. Former Giants third baseman, Evan Longoria, has 11.
Clearly, San Francisco has to be mindful of the Diamondbacks running game.
All Star Carroll leads Arizona with 47 stolen bases in 52 attempts. He is followed on the team by Jake McCarthy, who has 26 steals in 29 attempts.
Carroll is seen by many as the favorite to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award.
The Giants have four players with more than 15 home runs for the season.
First baseman Wilmer Flores leads the Giants with 22 homers. He is followed by 18 from third baseman J.D. Davis, and 15 homers each from outfielder Michael Conforto, and versatile LaMonte Wade.
Second baseman Thairo Estrada leads the Giants with 22 stolen bases. He is the only Giants player in double-digit stolen bases.
Comparative Team Pitching Statistics:
The Giants have a team ERA of 4.01 with a collective 1.26 WHIP. The team has yielded 664 runs in 1,329.1 innings pitched. Major League teams are hitting .253 against Giants pitching.
Giants pitchers have saved 48 games.
Diamondbacks pitchers have a collective 4.57 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. The team has yielded 724 runs in 1,296 innings. The opposition is hitting .253 against the Diamondbacks, the same as the batting average against Giants pitching.
Diamondbacks pitchers have saved 43 games.
The Giants pitching staff boasts All Star closer Camilo Doval, who has already saved 37 games.
Zac Gallen leads both teams in victories, with 15. He has compiled a 15-8 record, with a 3.50 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 192.1 innings, covering 31 starts.
Logan Webb has a team high 10 victories for the Giants. To this scout, he remains one of the best starting pitchers in baseball.
Other Team Facts:
Starting Giants center fielder Luis Matos, and catcher Patrick Bailey have rookie status.
Diamondbacks outfielders Corbin Carroll, and catcher Gabriel Moreno have rookie status.
The Giants have won six of their last ten games. Most recently they defeated the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Colorado, September 17.
Like San Francisco, the Diamondbacks have won six of their last ten games. They swept the Chicago Cubs in their last three games. That followed losing three of four games to the New York Mets.
A two-game series between the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks may not catapult either team to a Wild Card berth. However, the short series could go a long way to determining the fortunes of both teams.