Ending the series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on a high note was absolutely key for the San Francisco Giants. There's a lot to be said about rivalries and whether or not teams play harder against said rivals, but it's undeniable that the players feel better after beating a rival than they do after just any old win. Jonathan Sanchez picking up the win in a very solid outing was key for him, and closer Brian Wilson coming in and dominating in games one and two was also very key, as the Giants will be depending on him an awful lot this season.
Now though, they're ready to hit the road, and tonight will be taking on the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first game of a three-game set and a six-game road trip. We're slated for a pitching matchup between Matt Cain of the Giants and Daniel Hudson of the Diamondbacks.
Cain has been the most impressive of the San Francisco pitchers so far this year, with a 1-0 record in two starts and a 1.38 earned run average. He gave the Giants their only win against the Dodgers in the opening four-game set to start the season and was dealt a no decision against the St. Louis Cardinals last Saturday, a game the Giants would eventually win 3-2, despite Cain giving up both of those runs off of five hits.
He'll be looking for run support, and that might hinge on the status of second baseman Freddy Sanchez, who missed Wednesday's finale against Los Angeles with a shoulder injury, but is listed as probable. Centerfielder and lead-off man Andres Torres is still listed as doubtful.
Hudson hasn't been playing terribly, but he is off to a rough start, sporting an 0-2 record with a 3.46 ERA. His last outing on Saturday yielded two runs for the Reds off of three hits, while walking three and striking out eight. It was definitely a strong outing from him, but he was handed the loss as the Diamondbacks couldn't score more than one run, though they'd eventually lose by 6-1 anyway.
He'll be on the lookout for Pablo Sandoval and Aubrey Huff, the former hit a homerun (along with, surprisingly, Mike Fontenot) and the latter went 2-for-3 with a run batted in. The Giants are 6-6 overall, but only are 2-4 on the road so far this season. Arizona is 3-3 on their current nine-game homestand, and the Giants clearly held the edge in Arizona last year, winning six of nine on the road against the Diamondbacks.
Don't be alarmed when you see the jerseys today - they'll all be sporting the number 42, in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. All players, managers and umpires will be sporting the number, and there will be a ceremony before the game.