The San Francisco Giants have taken two out of three games in their first two series in Arizona this season, but given their current position in the NL wild-card standings, that may not be enough to help this time.
Nonetheless, that’s what the increasingly desperate Giants will hope to do Wednesday night as they turn to the inconsistent Jonathan Sanchez(notes) in the decisive finale of their three-game set with the Diamondbacks.
San Francisco (81-70) had the chance to pull within 1 1/2 games of wild card-leading Colorado if it could finish off a three-game sweep of the Rockies last Wednesday, but a 4-3 loss stretched the deficit to 3 1/2.
The Giants have lost more ground since, and fell a full five games behind Colorado on Tuesday night. The Rockies held on to beat San Diego 11-10, but San Francisco couldn’t survive a poor outing from Matt Cain(notes) in a 10-8 loss to the Diamondbacks.
“As good as they’ve been, you know they are going to trip once in awhile. It so happens it’s been the whole rotation here,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Sanchez (6-12, 4.29 ERA), meanwhile, hasn’t escaped the fifth inning in his past two starts - both against the Los Angeles Dodgers - and allowed four hits in 4 1-3 innings Friday, though the Giants’ offense led the way to an 8-4 win.
The left-hander is 2-9 with a 4.52 ERA overall on the road, but he’s been far better away from AT&T Park over the past few months. He’s 2-1 with a 2.04 ERA on the road since Aug. 1, and has struck out 11 per nine innings.
Sanchez is 1-3 with a 6.05 ERA in seven road games - four starts - against the Diamondbacks (66-86), and walked seven despite allowing one run over 5 1-3 innings in a 2-1 loss there June 11.
Arizona scored 10 runs Tuesday for the first time since Aug. 28, even with their most prolific run producer surpassing his own infamous record. Mark Reynolds(notes), second in all of baseball with 43 homers, struck out three times to give himself 206 this season - two more than the record he initially set a year ago.
“At the end of the day, he is 40-plus home runs and 100 RBIs,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “When that production is coming with the strikeouts, it’s almost a moot point.”
Reynolds has especially been a strikeout machine against Sanchez. He’s 3 for 16 with a homer and 10 strikeouts versus the left-hander.
Rookie Kevin Mulvey(notes) (0-1, 9.00), acquired from Minnesota on Sept. 1, will try to make a better impression than he has in his first two starts with the Diamondbacks. Mulvey has lasted four innings in each of his first two outings, on Friday allowing four runs, four hits and four walks before leaving without a decision in Arizona’s 7-5 win over Colorado.
“I felt like he was just too tentative,” Hinch told the Diamondbacks’ official Web site. “He just looked a little apprehensive with the strike zone. … I didn’t think his fastball command was very good and he relied a lot on his slider, and it looked like they were sitting on it a little bit.”
San Francisco wraps up its home schedule with three games against Arizona from Sept. 29-Oct. 1.