Giants, Diamondbacks look to build on recent success

Apr 18, 2024, 1:59 AM | Updated: Apr 19, 2024, 3:25 pm

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Logan Webb #62 of the San Francisco Giants pitches in the top...

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Two highly touted National League West teams currently under .500 get an opportunity to continue a recent upward trend at the other’s expense when the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants open a four-game series on Thursday.

Both teams have won three of five entering the series. The Diamondbacks are kicking off a 10-game trip, while the Giants are opening a 10-game homestand.

The Diamondbacks enter the series coming off a 5-3 home loss to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday. Ketel Marte had a single, a double, a home run and two RBIs in the defeat.

The other Arizona run was the product of a Joc Pederson homer on the eve of his return to San Francisco. Pederson hit just .235 with 15 home runs for the Giants last season.

After playing 37 of his 121 games in the outfield for the Giants in 2023, the veteran has settled into a designated hitter role for the Diamondbacks. He has hit .355 in 13 games as a DH this season.

Pederson drew interest from the Diamondbacks in the offseason because of their issues with right-handed pitching last season. Pederson, a left-handed batter, has had all but three of his plate appearances against right-handers this year, and he is hitting .323 against righties.

He entered the Wednesday game as a sixth-inning pinch hitter against a right-hander, then homered in the ninth against Cubs left-hander Drew Smyly.

“I don’t really look at numbers much,” Peterson said. “I like to get with the hitting coach and figure out the best game plan to win that one at-bat.”

Pederson is expected to be back in the starting lineup Thursday with the Giants scheduled to throw right-hander Logan Webb (1-1, 3.80 ERA), who has had the upper hand in career head-to-heads. Pederson has gone just 2-for-7 against Webb, but does also have a walk and a hit by pitch in 10 plate appearances.

Webb had his best outing of the season in his most recent start, an 11-2 win at Tampa Bay last Saturday in which he allowed just one run in seven innings. The 27-year-old has made 10 previous starts against the Diamondbacks, going 5-3 with a 2.80 ERA. He beat them 8-5 and 4-2 in head-to-heads at home last season.

The Giants took two of three in Miami to begin the week, earning the series win via a 3-1 decision over the Marlins on Wednesday. Kenton Winn worked six strong innings on a day when the Giants did not homer for the ninth time this season. Six of those nine occurred in succession on their last homestand against the San Diego Padres and Washington Nationals.

Giants manager Bob Melvin walked away from the latest victory hoping winning leads to more hitting, not necessarily vice versa.

“To get out of these little funks that we’re in, it usually takes a little bit of a winning streak,” he said. “Confidence rises and you’re able to gain some momentum. We just haven’t had a ton of traction as far as that’s gone yet.”

Ryne Nelson (1-2, 5.27 ERA) will be the man tasked with continuing the Giants’ offensive struggles. The 26-year-old right-hander has faced San Francisco three times (all starts) in his career, going 1-0 with a 3.44 ERA.

Nelson recorded his lone win of the season in his most recent start, a 4-2 home victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday. He allowed just one run on seven hits in six innings while striking out four and walking one.

–Field Level Media



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