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Preview: Reds (60-82) at Giants (75-68)
Venue: AT&T Park
Date: September 14, 2015 10:15 PM EDT
The San Francisco offense has gone nuts in the last three games despite plenty of injuries, and it shouldn’t have a tough time keeping it going in a series against three Cincinnati pitchers that have been incapable of limiting much of anyone.
The Reds’ Keyvius Sampson will take the first shot at changing that Monday night at AT&T Park, where the Giants have started a nine-game homestand with three straight wins.
San Francisco (75-68) won 10-3 Sunday to complete a sweep of San Diego with 27 runs scored and a .340 average. Buster Posey was 2 for 3 with two RBIs and is batting .479 in his last 14 games, boosting his average to .329 and putting him in position to contend for the batting title and potentially top his career-best .336 mark from 2012.
The pitching staff has also been impressive for an entire turn through the rotation, posting a 1.64 ERA and .145 opponent batting average in the last five games. That started with Tim Hudson limiting Arizona to a run in six innings of Tuesday’s 6-2 road win.
The right-hander, retiring at season’s end, was starting for the first time since July 26, and dating to that win over Oakland, he’s gone 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in 13 1-3 innings of two starts and two relief efforts.
“That just goes to show you how much feel he has for pitching,” Posey told MLB’s official website of the success despite a sporadic workload.
Hudson (7-8, 4.51 ERA) is 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA in his last four starts against the Reds while completing at least seven innings in each. The 40-year-old hasn’t allowed much to Brandon Phillips (4 for 27), Skip Schumaker (3 for 20) and Joey Votto (2 for 14).
San Francisco is trying to make a run with Brandon Crawford (calf, side), Joe Panik (back), Hunter Pence (strained left oblique), Nori Aoki (concussion) and Gregor Blanco (concussion) all out of the lineup.
With the Reds (60-82) and Arizona now coming to town followed by six on the road against the Padres and Oakland, the Giants have a favorable schedule leading into a crucial four-game set with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but they’re going to need some help to make up one of two substantial deficits with 19 games remaining. They’re 7 1/2 games back of both the Dodgers in the NL West and Chicago Cubs for the second wild card.
Sampson (2-4, 6.94) is 0-3 with a 10.24 ERA in his last five starts, allowing a .393 opponent batting average and 5.59 walks per nine innings. The rookie surrendered five runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings of Wednesday’s 5-4 home loss to Pittsburgh.
The Reds are also coming off an impressive series, but winning three of four at home over MLB-leading St. Louis ended with Sunday’s 9-2 loss.
Todd Frazier homered and is 6 for 17 with three homers in his last five games. With a career-high 33 for the season, he’s one off of Jay Bruce’s 2012 total and four back of Votto’s 2010 mark for the franchise’s high since Adam Dunn hit 40 in each season from 2005-07.
“We played a good Cardinal team and took three out of four,” Frazier said. “We’ll take that any day of the week. We helped a couple teams. We made the race a little closer. It’s hard to take four from any team.”
They did it the last time they visited San Francisco in June 2014, have won five straight at AT&T and haven’t lost a series there since 2010. The Giants, however, took three of four in Cincinnati from May 14-17, concluding with 30 runs in three straight wins.