We all know the story. They had a comfortable lead, then came the injury hurricane through the clubhouse, followed by the spiraling freefall, and ultimately left standing six games behind in the division. The San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks will have it out on the shores of McCovey Cove for a three game set, possibly setting up a showdown down the stretch, or the alternative, a runaway division title for the D'backs.
The Giants will face a buzzsaw in the D'backs right now, winners of nine straight and not looking to slow down anytime soon. Historically San Francisco has owned Arizona, and this year is now different; winners of 8 of the 12 games they've played this season thus far. But the D'backs are a whole different kind of animal right now, playing like a well oiled machine in all aspects of the game. Starting pitcher Daniel Hudson talked about the importance of this series for Arizona:
"It's a really important series, because any time you can play the team that's behind you in the division in September is huge," said Arizona right-hander Daniel Hudson, who will start Sunday's series finale. "You see how momentum can change in this game really quick. If we can take that momentum with us into that series and kind of put a little bit extra distance between us and get a little extra cushion, that would be a big help."
A six game lead is rather cushy is my opinion, but if the Giants can somehow figure out how to sweep this series, Arizona three game lead has got to feel like a one game lead, especially with another set between these two scheduled for September 23-25. It's almost like the Giants and Padres of 2010 down the stretch, except I highly doubt Arizona will go on a 10 game losing streak at any point this month.
Veteran outfielder Pat Burrell was in the trenches for the Giants' playoff push last September, and knows the mindset necessary to be successful the last month of the season:
"There's no secret these guys are coming in [hot]. They've proven that they deserve to be where they're at, and we've slipped -- no doubt about it. But it isn't over. We're going to fight this thing out. The better team is going to prevail, obviously, and obviously we feel like we are that team."
Arizona will see the All-Star trio of Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong on the mound, while the D'backs will counter with Joe Saunders, Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson. Arizona has the youthfulness and vigor of a up and coming team, while San Francisco bring experience and determination; which will prevail? Only time will tell.
3 game series vs Diamondbacks @ AT&T Park
|Sat 09/03 Ian Kennedy vs Tim Lincecum||6:05 PM PDT|
|Sun 09/04 Daniel Hudson vs. Ryan Vogelsong||1:05 PM PDT|
For more on the Giants, head over to McCovey Chronicles.