The San Francisco Giants had a chance to be the first baseball dynasty of this century if they could have repeated as World Series champions this fall. That’s not going to happen.
San Francisco entered its three-game set at AT&T Park with the Red Sox in last place in the National League West. The team is all but a lock to finish under .500 for the first time since 2008, when the Giants lost 90 games. San Francisco will have to settle for being one of four franchises — the Yankees, Red Sox and Cardinals being the others — to win two World Series since 2000.
So what’s been the problem for Bruce Bochy‘s club? The offense is one, as it ranks 24th in baseball in runs and second-to-last in home runs (pitcher-friendly AT&T Park is partly to blame for the latter number). Reigning NL MVP Buster Posey (.303, 14 homers, 61 RBIs) has been good but not quite up to last year’s high standards. The only other regular batting over .300 is former Red Sox infielder Marco Scutaro, the hero of last year’s NLCS. Scutaro has battled some injury problems this season, as has World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval.
It’s been the pitching staff that has been the biggest disappointment. San Francisco had one of the best rotations in baseball in 2012 but is 12th in the NL this season in ERA. Matt Cain was a preseason Cy Young favorite but is 8-8 with a 4.35 ERA. The Sox will miss him in this series. The Giants’ best starter has been young lefty Madison Bumgarner, and Boston misses him as well.
This is Boston’s first trip to San Francisco since winning two of three there in 2010, a year in which the Giants won the World Series. The Sox were set as -140 series favorites by Bovada oddsmakers. San Francisco hasn’t won a home series since just after the All-Star break.
Tuesday’s Game 2 will have Live Betting. Ryan Vogelsong, another struggling Giants starter, is scheduled. Vogelsong (2-4, 6.75) lasted just 3 2/3 innings last time out against Washington, allowing three runs and six hits while walking three. He threw 92 pitches in that short outing. Vogelsong, who is 1-2 with a 6.68 ERA at home this year, has made two starts since missing nearly three months with a fractured hand. His velocity still isn’t all the way back. Only a few Red Sox batters have faced Vogelsong, and Stephen Drew is the only one with a hit.
Boston counters with Jake Peavy (1-1, 5.00). Expect to see Giants reserve outfielder Jeff Francoeur in the lineup. He’s 11-for-32 with two RBIs in his career against Peavy. Hunter Pence and Sandoval each have a homer off him.
Wednesday’s series finale will also have Live Betting. Right-hander Chad Gaudin (5-2, 3.06) is the scheduled Giants starter. He’s been a pleasant surprise this season but was blasted for eight runs and 11 hits by the Marlins last time out. San Francisco actually won that game and has won four straight Gaudin starts. A Mike Napoli home run prop might be smart against Gaudin. Napoli is 7-for-16 with three homers and seven RBIs off him. Boston starts lefty Felix Doubront.