Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco Giants: Recapping the Big Weekend Series
Going into the weekend, the Diamondbacks held a 3.5-game lead in the NL West. After dropping 2-of-3 games, the Diamondbacks now cling to a 1.5-game lead over the Giants.
It's only June, but both teams knew the importance of this series. The Diamondbacks had a chance to distance themselves in the division, while the Giants had a chance to impose their will on the Arizona as they have done all season.
The Diamondbacks took the first game of the series, but the Giants dominated the next two outings. The Giants are now 6-3 against the Arizona on the season.
San Francisco has found a home away from home in Arizona, but has struggled against other teams on the road. The Giants have amassed a 7-17 record outside of San Francisco. When the Giants travel to the desert, however, they thrive. Five of the six wins over the Diamondbacks have come in Arizona.
The Diamondbacks' struggles against the Giants can be broken down into two main categories: pitching struggles and the dominance of Brandon Belt.
Diamondbacks' Pitching Struggles
Over the weekend, Diamondback pitchers allowed the Giants to score 17 runs. That is the stat of the series.
Patrick Corbin was the only starter that didn't self-destruct. Corbin continued his dominant season as he threw 7.1 innings and only surrendered one run in the Diamondbacks' opening win.
The lefty still hasn't lost a game in 12 appearances.
Trevor Cahill and Tyler Skaggs didn't fare as well in their starts. They combined to allow 13 runs in the Diamondbacks' next two losses.
According to Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson told reporters after his team's loss in the second game, "We'd like to have better performances, but it wasn't long ago that the starters were dominating. It's the ups and downs of the season."
The Diamondbacks' starting pitching has struggled in the month of June as the team's starters have a combined 9.37 ERA.
The starting pitching struggles also have forced the Diamondbacks to go deep into their bullpen. Arizona used seven different relievers throughout the series.
"We've been in a little stretch here where our starters have given up a lot of runs and it's putting a big strain on our bullpen. They're exhausted out there," Gibson told the press after the Diamondbacks' loss in the third game, as per MLB.com's Tyler Emerick.
The Dominance of Brandon Belt
Brandon Belt has had the Diamondbacks' number all season.
Belt went 5-14 over the weekend, hitting .357, scoring one run and adding one RBI to his stat line.
Blet's home run in the third game broke the Diamondbacks' spirit. The Diamondbacks had cut the Giant's lead to two when Belt blasted a 1-2 pitch into the pool in right field.
Arizona never recovered.
Belt has a combined .400 batting average against the Diamondbacks on the year. He also has hit three of his seven home runs against the Diamondbacks and has driven in 10 RBI in the teams' nine meetings.
This was a big weekend for the Diamondbacks. Not only could they have extended their lead in the NL West but the Diamondbacks had the highest fan attendance for a three-game series since 2011.
A total of 120,338 fans came to Chase Field over the weekend, and most of those fans went home with a sour taste in their mouth.
Looking forward, the Diamondbacks will need more from their starters.
They have back-to-back series against NL West opponents. They will need their starting pitching to go deep into games to give their bullpen a rest.
The Giants and Diamondbacks will meet on July 19 for a three-game series in San Francisco.
All stats, unless otherwise indicated, come from MLB.com.
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