San Francisco Giants: 7 Reasons for Positivity on the Upcoming 10-Game Roadtrip
After a home stand to forget, the Giants would prefer to not be playing in the hot and humid weather in Florida and Atlanta against stiff competition in Atlanta, a Florida team that swept them at home in May and a rejuvenated, young team in Houston.
While this trip may seem daunting, I would like to take the opportunity to think optimistically, and so I present to you seven reasons for positivity heading into this road trip.
The Weather Forcast in Florida
The weather forecast for the weekend in Florida is for thunderstorms all weekend. If the Giants and Marlins have just one game postponed due to rain, the Giants could conceivably skip one of Jonathan Sanchez' starts on the trip.
Granted, the game would most likely need to be made up as the Giants seemingly will take this down to the wire again, but that is forward thinking.
Thinking for the now, it would give the Giants an opportunity to not lose a game due to ineffective pitching, and perhaps if it would have to be made up, Jonathan Sanchez would not be the pitcher
Get Away from the Negativity
All season, the Giants have been a great team at home. The just concluded home stand was a disaster. The Giants finished 3-7 against Arizona, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and will limp across the country to Florida.
This is exactly what they need right now. They need to get away from everything and focus solely on baseball.
Sometimes home is not a comfortable place to be, and it appears that the Giants are not exactly comfortable on their own turf right now. They could benefit from a trip.
Great Pitching Matchups
If the rotations stay the same, three of the four starting pitching matchups in Atlanta will be great, (Tommy Hanson is having his pitching shoulder examined but has not been scratched from his next scheduled start).
Barring any changes or injuries, we can expect to see Bumgarner vs Tommy Hanson for the first fame, Matt Cain vs Brandon Beachy for the second and Lincecum vs Derek Lowe for the fourth.
While the Braves obviously have an advantage due to their superior offense, the Giants may have exorcised some Atlanta based demons last October, it promises to be a fun series to watch.
Key Injuries for the Opposition
I would never advocate for a player to be hurt, but it is a part of the game, so when your team doesn't have to contend with some of the best players on the opposing team, it is clearly a positive.
In Atlanta, the Giants are scheduled to face Tommy Hanson in the series opener, but he is currently dealing with a sore right shoulder and could miss his start.
All-Star catcher Brian McCann is on the DL with a strained left oblique muscle and has yet to be scheduled for a rehab assignment although that may happen as early as Friday.
If that is the case, it conceivable that he could return during the Giants series, but for now the Braves have not announced a return date for their offensive leader.
Starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens is on the DL and is expected to remain there through the series that ends next Thursday, Aug. 18.
In Florida the injury of note is not a star player but one who could have caused distractions had he played in the series. Scott Cousins is currently on the 60-day DL and will not play in the series.
Hopefully, the Giants and Marlins will play a straight forward, clean series. Cousin's involvement in any game would have clearly caused unnecessary distractions.
Carlos Beltran Is Expected to Return
Carlos Beltran has been out of the Giants lineup since he tweaked his hand/wrist on a check swing Sunday against Roy Oswalt.
The Giants are confident that he will be fine once the series opens in Florida. The Giants are not offensive world beaters with him, but they are a fairly painfully pedestrian club without him.
Beltran's return will be a welcome sight.
The Giants Record in the Three Ballparks in Recent History
Since 2009, the Giants have a combined 15-11 record in Florida, Atlanta and Houston. That is a good record on its face, but it isn't as simple as it looks.
In 2009 and 2010, the Giants have played to a 5-2 record in Florida which includes a three-game sweep of the Marlins in 2010. The Marlins did sweep the Giants in May of this year at AT&T Park, so the Giants know they have hands full if they are to continue their recent success in Florida.
Including two postseason games in 2010, the Giants have a 4-6 record in Atlanta over the past two seasons. While the Braves also swept the Giants at AT&T Park earlier this season, for the sake of optimism, I think that the Giants will have some luck on their side as they return to the site of their NLDS victory celebration from last year.
The Giants have played three series in Houston since 2009 going a combined 6-3 which includes a season opening three-game sweep of the Astros in 2010.
The Astros are a young, hungry team, but the Giants have played well in that ballpark recently and should continue that trend.
The Giants Will Miss Anibal Sanchez in Florida
This is a no-brainer as No. 1 and is cause for celebration as the Giants head east. Anibal Sanchez has absolutely dominated the Giants in his career.
In three career starts against the Giants he is 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA. He has thrown 24 innings giving up 11 hits and four walks while striking out 19 and allowing a batting average against of .141.
That's dominant, and the Giants are lucky to be avoiding him.