San Francisco Giants 3 Up, 3 Down: Sweeping the Snakes

PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 01: Austin Slater #53 of the San Francisco Giants hits a RBI single against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the third inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 1, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 01: Austin Slater #53 of the San Francisco Giants hits a RBI single against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the third inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 1, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco Giants played one of their best series of the season, sweeping the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks in three games.

3 UP

1 – Now or Slater

Austin Slater took advantage of his playing time to the fullest extent this weekend. He was in the lineup on Friday against lefty Patrick Corbin and came up with a three-hit game, including a pair of doubles that each drove in a run. Those were the only two runs the Giants scored in a 2-1 win.

He was back in there again on Sunday, and was right in the middle of an offensive explosion. He had two hits in three at-bats, one of which drove in the run that put the Giants ahead for good in the third inning, and reached twice more via walks. He also stole his third bag of the year.

Slater has made the most of his limited chances this year. In 22 at-bats, he owns a .409/.548/.500 slash-line, and certainly looks like a player worthy of more playing time.

2 – Starting Young

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The Giants sent a pair of rookie starting pitchers to the mound in the first two games of the series, and they pitched their hearts out. Andrew Suarez allowed one run in six innings while pitching through some terrible BABIP luck, and Dereck Rodriguez followed with 6.1 shutout innings.

Both youngsters have continued to grow at the big league level, and over the past month, have helped turn the rotation from a weakness to a strength. It keeps getting mentioned, but the Giants will have extremely difficult decisions to make in their rotation very soon.

3 – No Road Blues

The Giants came into this series as an awful road team, with a 16-26 record with a -50 run differential. They didn’t look like that in Arizona, as they completed their second road sweep of the season, and the first since early May when they took three in a row from the Atlanta Braves. The Giants also outscored the D-Backs by 11 runs, their best run differential in a road series since that set with the Braves (+15).

Their consistent disappointing outings on the road have been the most frustrating aspect of the Giants this season, but there was no disappointment in this one. They came in 5.5 games behind Arizona for first place, but handled their business and now leave just 2.5 back.



1 – Holland Off His Game

For the first time in a long time, Derek Holland just didn’t have it in his Sunday start. He battled through what was probably his worst command since April, and he couldn’t put hitters away. He got through just 3.2 innings and needed 90 pitches to do so, walking four batters and allowing seven hits. He does deserve some credit for allowing just three runs (which was also made possible by Cory Gearrin and Brandon Belt in the fourth), and not giving back an entire lead.

This was a rough one for a guy who had been the team’s most consistent pitcher for just about two months now. When the rest of the rotation was pitching terribly in May, Holland was the best of the group. When the rotation upped their game in June, Holland did the same and worked to a 2.70 ERA. But Sunday just wasn’t his day.

However, the day wasn’t a total disaster for Holland. He collected his second hit of the season and the first double of his career, and later scored his first run since 2013. Also, the Giants improved to 6-0 on the season when Holland is the starting pitcher in a series finale.

2 – Not So Funny Bone

Like his counterpart, Arizona starter Zack Godley did not have command of the fastball on Sunday. He walked five and nearly hit Nick Hundley on a fastball he lost high. He later hit Pablo Sandoval in the elbow, and he was forced to leave the game. X-rays came back negative and it was labeled a simple bruise, but if Sandoval is going to miss any extended period of time, it will be a serious test of the Giants’ infield depth.

Gorkys Hernandez didn’t escape Arizona unscathed either. He fouled a ball off his foot in the ninth inning on Sunday, and took a long time to shake it off. When he fouled another ball away later in the at-bat, he was still moving around with a noticeable limp. He seems a likely candidate to get a day off on Monday, and hopefully won’t miss any longer than that.

Next: The Giants' Biggest Difference This Season

3 – The Next Stop

It’s never a good thing to be heading to Coors Field. The fact that the Giants’ bullpen had to get 16 outs on Sunday doesn’t make matters easier on the pitching staff, either. Another winning series would be phenomenal, but that isn’t an easy place to do it.