The red-hot San Francisco Giants were able to sweep their four-game series with the Cincinnati Reds. The talk of the Giants has been the success of their starting pitching. Their starters stayed true to form during the four-game set, cruising through Reds hitters. The bats for the Giants exploded in the final game of the series, scoring a whopping 19 runs. 19 runs are good for the most runs scored in a single game this year. This four-game set with the Reds marks the third Giants sweep of the year. They took three of three from the Colorado Rockies and two of two from the Texas Rangers. Of the 14 series that the Giants have played, they have won nine, tied once, and lost just four. This is what allows the Giants to stay on top of the hill with an MLB-best 28-16 record.
Starters roll in Giants Sweep of Reds
Alex Wood was the lone starter that didn’t face the Cincinnati Reds during this series. Of the four that went, they totaled 24 innings pitched and allowed just two runs. The Giants starters have the best rotation ERA in the majors, and the proof is in the pudding with a stat line like that. Kevin Gausman had the most impressive start of the bunch. Gausman, who noticeably didn’t have his “A” stuff in his start, still dominated the powerful offense of the Reds. Gausman’s velocity was down throughout this start, and he struggled a bit with command. Still, Gausman was able to throw six innings of one-hit ball. He struck out eight batters on his way to the Giants 4-0 shutout. Gausman has cemented himself as an early Cy Young candidate with another great performance.
Bullpen Struggles Continue
Although the Giants starters allowed only two runs, the Reds offense still scored nine runs in the series. This means that the bullpen, once again, struggled. The bullpen allowed seven runs in 12 innings pitched. Jose Alvarez and Matt Wisler both surrendered two runs. Zack Littell and Jarlin Garcia allowed one run each. The seventh was an unearned run, off of rookie Camilo Doval.
The bullpen has been the only weakness shown by the Giants this year. There have been days where the bats were quiet, and it’s fair to say they have underperformed, but with a +57 run differential, it’s fair to say that the offense has been doing its part. The trade deadline is still over two months away. And who knows, the Giants could be ten games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers at that point. However, if the team keeps rolling, the bullpen will be a point of emphasis for Farhan Zaidi and his Giants.
Although the bullpen has struggled, the back end has had success. The one-two punch of Tyler Rogers and Jake McGee has been very good, currently leading the majors in saves with 18. McGee did have a stretch where he struggled, after starting the season very hot. It seems as if McGee has gotten back on track after pitching two innings in this Reds series, retiring every batter he faced. Six outs, on 17 pitches. Rogers has been dominant in all 25 games he has entered, after the first game of the year with the Seattle Mariners. Through Rogers’ 25 appearances, he holds a 0.70 ERA
19 Runs Scored in Series Finale
The first pitch was thrown at 12:37 pm EST. That is not a common time for this Giants team. Although, scoring 19 runs in one game is rather uncommon as well. Maybe there is something to these early games because there was a race to the bat-rack in this one, and it would be fair to say this Giants club would be open to more of these early games after this performance. Mike Yastrzemski was the only player on the lineup card that failed to record a hit. Technically, starting pitcher Johnny Cueto didn’t get a hit either, but if you’ve ever seen Cueto swing a bat, you would, one, smile, and two, say that he didn’t count. Although Yastrzemski failed to record a hit, he spent plenty of time on base after taking three walks.
The RBI hero in this one was shortstop Brandon Crawford with six. Crawford also joined the home run party with a three-run shot in the fifth inning. Crawford’s 11 homers lead the Giants. The most exciting at-bats came at the hand of Darin Ruf. Ruf, who has one triple in his career, was a triple shy of the cycle in just the third inning. In the seventh, Ruf ripped a double with catcher Curt Casali on first. Ruf was running the bases like a man possessed. Unfortunately for Ruf, Casali stopped at third. Ruf smiled as he looked over at Casali; the look on Ruf’s face said it all for him, “come on, man.” That cycle-breaker notwithstanding, another Giants sweep is a thing of beauty. They seem to be ready to take on the reigning World Champions, and their biggest rival.
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