GIANTS (63-61) AT DIAMONDBACKS (61-63)
4:10 p.m. ET; FS-A, NBCSBA, MLB.TV
The San Francisco Giants (-1) will send ace Madison Bumgarner to the mound Sunday afternoon as they try to complete a four-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks (+1) in Phoenix.
The Giants have gone from one game behind the D-backs to two up on them in the National League wild-card chase. The D-backs have lost four straight games overall and are 4 1/2 games back of the second wild-card spot, with four contenders ahead of them.
“We have been playing in this area of the standings for a long time,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo told reporters. “Do I sense any more urgency than we’ve already had? No. If I say one thing to the guys, it’s that we’re in a one-game playoff every single day.”
San Francisco has been spanking Arizona pitching, with 28 runs and 46 hits in the first three games of the series.
Bumgarner (8-7, 3.63 ERA) has been in a groove lately, with the Giants winning nine of his past 10 starts. He is 5-0 in that stretch, including four outings in which he pitched at least seven innings without giving up more than one run.
The 30-year-old lefty has wins in each of his past two starts, allowing a total of one run and three hits in 14 innings.
“He’s our guy,” manager Bruce Bochy said in the San Jose Mercury News. “The No. 1 guy, they’re invaluable. They affect the club in so many different ways. One, their leadership. How they carry themselves. How they compete.”
This will be Bumgarner’s 36th appearance (35th start) against Arizona. He has a 12-11 record with a 2.54 ERA.
While he has surged in the past several weeks, Arizona starter Merrill Kelly (8-12, 4.75) has gone the other way. The D-backs are 2-8 in his past 10 starts, and he has allowed at least six runs in three of his past four outings.
The 30-year-old rookie is 1-1 with a 2.76 ERA in three starts against San Francisco.
Kelly, a right-hander, will have to try to slow down lefty Mike Yastrzemski, who has hit leadoff for the Giants in the past two games and has been hot enough to stay there against right-handers. The 28-year-old rookie belted three homers on Friday night, including the go-ahead shot in the top of the 11th, and he followed with three singles Saturday night.
He spent six seasons in the Baltimore system without reaching the majors but has been a revelation since being acquired in spring training and called up in late May. The grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski has 11 homers since the All-Star break.
“I just made a few small adjustments this offseason to try to be a little more impactful with the bat,” Yastrzemski said on MLB.com. “I knew that was something that would help me. I’ve always been known as a defensive player and always tried to show that I had the ability to hit. To be able to have a little bit of success here so far has felt really good.”
Another hot Giant: Kevin Pillar. He smacked two long balls on Friday night and followed with a 5-for-5 night Saturday. He is hitting .453 (24-for-53) this month with four home runs.
For Arizona, Nick Ahmed has homered in five of his past seven games.
–Field Level Media