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Series Preview #37: Houston Astros @ San Francisco Giants

The Astros (71-42, 1st in AL West) complete their West Coast swing with two against the Giants (57-56, 4th in NL West)

Houston Astros v San Francisco Giants Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Recency Bias


The Astros arrive in San Francisco after two straight series wins against playoff contenders, though the final series against LA would be marred with injuries. Thankfully, the bats that have been healthy have been hitting pretty well as of late. Reddick and Marwin have both been especially potent at the plate. Marwin has probably been the team’s hottest hitter in the past week, slashing .273/.385/.682 with 3 homers and 3 walk in 22 ABs. Josh is not far behind with a .318/.375/.636 slash line of his own, and Stassi has been a force in his 3 starts behind the dish. Jake has been even better in his 9 ABs since returning from AAA, spanking a couple of homers in that time with a .545 OBP. Gattis would see limited time in LA as a pinch hitter, but did have a Sac Fly in one of his 2 ABs. Springer was also finding his power stroke this week before an unfortunate tag swipe injured his thumb. Kemp and Bregman have both been steadily productive but not exactly explosive at the plate, while Yuli and White have beenless so. Moldanado would finally check in as an Astro this week, hitting 2 doubles in one of his starts in LA.

The Astros pen has been outstanding this week, holding opponents scoreless across 15.2 IP in Seattle and LA. Ryan Pressly saw the most work in his 3.1 IP, but Peacock would have the most strikeouts at 8 in his 3 innings. Rondón would notch a couple of saves this week, including one for 4 outs. Harris would also have a couple of good outings as well, with 3 K’s in 2 innings. Perez looked good in his one game since returning from Fresno, only allowing a walk in his one inning of work. Sipp has worked a more traditional lefty specialist role himself this week, only facing 4 batter across 2 games, but with 3 lefties and one switch hitter during that time. Smith and McHugh would both have somewhat shaky showings this week, though they would manage to wiggle out of trouble when challenged.

Houston now has to contend with the upstart A’s, who are creeping into the rearview at only 4 games back. They’ll try to get a jump against an easier target while Oakland faces the Dodgers.


The Giants return to San Francisco after a 4-2 road trip against the Padres and Arizona where they would mini-sweep the Friars before splitting with the D-backs. That is probably the kindest part of their recent schedule as the Giants have played more or less .500 ball for most of the season. The recent success has been fueled by several hot players, with Andrew McCutchen leading the way with a .440/.517/.720 slash line, a couple of homers, 1 double and a walk. Evan Longoria clocks in not too far behind with a 1.164 OPS and 2 bombs of his own. Buster Posey has also been doing work with an OPS north of 1.000, as has sophomore LF Austin Slater who is also putting together a more-than-decent 2018 campaign. The only other player to have a really good week was Steven Duggar, getting on base at a .368 clip with 3 walks in 16 ABs. Gerrit Cole’s brother-in-law, Gorkys Hernández, and Nick Hundley have all been cold at the plate recently, but have each put together respectable seasons and are capable of big offense.

The Giants’ bullpen is generally strong, with several big arms that can come in and lock down innings. Their closer is lefty Will Smith, who is sporting a sparkling 1.27 ERA in 35.1 IP to go with 50 K’s. Reyes Moronta has also given up less than 2 runs per 9 and has struck out 59 in his 50.1 innings of work. Offseason pickup Tony Watson is also performing well with a 1.01 WHIP in 48.2 IP and an ERA hovering near 2. Former Rangers washout Sam Dyson is also in the pen and seems to have been able to recover some of his old form. He’s seen the most work with 53.2 innings in 2018 with only 5 home runs allowed and a 2.85 ERA. Mark Melancon is also having a resurgent season after a rather uninspiring 2017 run, though his numbers aren’t quite as good as Dyson’s. Ty Blach, Derek Law, and Pierce Johnson round out the pen along with Ray Black, who recently made his MLB debut and has looked good in 10.2 innings with 13 K’s.

The Giants find themselves only 5 games back in the division and should be motivated to maybe try and catapult into the middle of the division race.

Pitching Match Ups

Game 1: Charlie Morton, RHP (12-2, 2.90 ERA) vs. Dereck Rodríguez, RHP (5-1, 2.59 ERA)

Morton makes this start after an excellent game in Seattle where he would punch out 8 Mariners in 6 innings of 2-run ball. The game was his second 6 inning effort and his first since the beginning of June where he would walk only one batter. Though he would walk 4 in his game at Colorado, Charlie has been showing much better command recently and has limited free passes. His secondary numbers show that he may still be benefiting somewhat from luck, but not by much.

The Giants counter with Dereck Rodríguez, who has been making a name for himself since breaking onto the scene in late May. Since then Rodríguez has had 9 quality starts in his 10 starts along with 7.36 K/9, 2.45 BB/9, and 0.55 HR/9. He’s about the same as Morton as far as possible regression concerning his numbers, but has shown himself to be a more-than-capable starter.

Morton’s been on lately but so has Rodríguez, raising the likelihood of a pitchers duel here.

Game 2: Dallas Keuchel, LHP (9-9, 3.61 ERA) vs. Madison Bumgarner, LHP (4-4, 2.97 ERA)

Dallas makes this start after 6 straight starts where he’s looked a lot more locked in on the mound. He would give up 3 ER in his previous two outings while going 7 and 5 innings, respectively, but that followed 4 straight games of 2 ER or lower. DK has also managed to pinpoint a little better, lowering his walk numbers in recent games. His ERA and FIP are pretty close so it doesn’t look like regression should be a problem for Dallas.

Bumgarner will toe the slab for the Giants and is currently having a decent but not fantastic year since returning from the DL on June 5th. His last couple of games have been a little up and down as he would have an 8 inning, 2 ER match against the Brewers before grinding through 5 against Arizona with only 1 ER. Bumgarner’s numbers show a possible stumble may be coming, but it’s hard to say with someone as talented as him.

Have to give the edge to Bumgarner in this one.

Fun Fact

Dereck Rodríguez is the son of Hall of Famer and former Astros Great Ivan “Pudge” Rodríguez.

For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

Game 1: Monday, August 6th @ 9:15 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790, La Ranchera 850 AM / Giants - KNBR 680, KXZM 93.7
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Giants - NBCS BA / MLB Network (out-of-market only) / MLB.TV

Game 2: Tuesday, August 7th @ 2:45 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790, La Ranchera 850 AM / Giants - KNBR 680, KXZM 93.7
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Giants - NBCS BA / MLB Network (out-of-market only) / MLB.TV


Who wins this series?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Astros Sweep 2-0
    (69 votes)
  • 49%
    Series Split 1-1
    (88 votes)
  • 11%
    Giants Sweep 2-0
    (21 votes)
178 votes total Vote Now