The Giants really would like to put their Southern California road trip behind them tonight. After getting swept by both the Padres and Dodgers, they pin their hopes of ending their six-game skid on lefty Jonathan Sanchez.
They face a divisional rival for the third time in a row, and would like to take a series from at least one of them.
Sanchez takes the hill tonight for the second time this season against the D-backs. His last outing was less than stellar, giving up 5 runs in just 4.2 innings in a loss to Peavy and Padres.
Peavy proved to be too much for the Giants hitters to handle, while Sanchez gave up a pair of homers and walked five. The only bright spot in Sanchez's last outing was managing to strike seven in his brief stint on the mound.
The Puerto Rican-born hurler answered his country's call to pitch in the World Baseball Classic. Sanchez started one game in the Classic, the only pitcher to stump the Netherlands in a seeding match.
He rejoined the Giants when Team USA upset the Puerto Rican team, advancing to clinch a semi-final berth in the Tournament.
The 26-year-old was not quite in game shape when he rejoined his team during the Cactus League. Giants Manager Bruce Bochy tried to get Jonathan enough work towards the end of Spring Training in an effort to get his young pitcher tuned up.
Going into Spring, Sanchez was slated to compete with LHP Noah Lowry for the fifth and final spot of a very solid rotation for the Giants. Lowry, who was shelved for all of 2008, again felt pain and discomfort in his throwing arm. This defaulted Sanchez into the starting rotation.
Sanchez made his debut with the Giants in 2006. Often displaying great stuff and late breaking movement on his power pitches. In 2008, Sanchez pitched well for the first half of the season, winning eight games.
The rub with Jonathan is his second half and his overall consistency. Losing all but one game after the break, Sanchez is a hit and miss pitcher. From one start to the next, you don't know whether you are going to get the dominant, shut down ace stuff, or the often wild and frazzled young starter.
The Giants are really desperate for a strong outing from Sanchez as they will look to win their first game since setting sail for down south last week.
The young lefty will need all the help he can get from an under-producing offense and a wavering defense behind him.