After losing a series to one of the worst teams in the NL, the San Francisco Giants aren’t heading into one of their toughest stretches with much momentum.
The Giants look to avoid losing their third in a row Friday night when they open a three-game series against a high-powered Boston Red Sox team coming off a thrilling victory.
With a 7-5 loss to Houston on Thursday, San Francisco (39-32) wrapped up a six-game trip with only two wins. Dropping their final two at Minute Maid Park was not what the Giants were hoping for with a difficult schedule over the next few weeks.
After this series, San Francisco has a three-game set against the rival Dodgers before heading to Colorado for the opener of a season-high 11-game road trip leading into the All-Star break.
“It’s obviously a tough stretch of games against quality teams - teams you can test yourself against, being where we are in the standings,” Aaron Rowand(notes) told the Giants’ official website. “I think everybody has the confidence that with our starting pitching, we can be competitive and have a chance to win every (series).”
Unfortunately for San Francisco, Barry Zito(notes) and Matt Cain(notes) had two of their worst outings of the season in the final two games in Houston, and scheduled starter Jonathan Sanchez(notes) is also coming off a disappointing performance.
This doesn’t bode well for facing a Red Sox team that leads the majors in runs (410) and slugging percentage (.469) and is second in homers (98).
“I’ve been feeling good at the plate lately, been seeing the ball good, hitting the ball all over the place,” said Pedroia, who is batting .500 with 13 RBIs in his last 13 games. “When you feel good, the only thing is you’ve got to get a good pitch to hit.”
Pedroia matched career highs with five hits and five RBIs Thursday, as the Red Sox (44-30) avoided a three-game sweep. The 2008 AL MVP also had a five-hit, five-RBI performance in Boston’s 10-2 win over the Giants on June 15, 2007. The Red Sox swept that series, the last between these teams.
Pedroia hopes to keep his surge going against Sanchez (5-5, 2.90 ERA), who allowed three runs, three hits and five walks in a season-low 2 2-3 innings in Sunday’s 9-6 win in Toronto. The left-hander was 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his previous four starts.
Sanchez hopes to get things turned around at AT&T Park, where he’s 4-2 with a 1.88 ERA in his last six.
Wakefield gave up four runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings in Saturday’s 5-4 loss to the Dodgers, but didn’t get a decision. The right-hander has yielded at least four runs in four of his last five starts.
Just as Sanchez pitches well at home, Wakefield is at his best on the road, going 2-1 with a 2.60 ERA in four starts away from Fenway Park.
The 43-year-old knuckleballer made his only start at AT&T Park on June 18, 2004, giving up seven runs in four innings of a 14-9 win.
Rowand is 11 for 17 with four homers lifetime against Wakefield.