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Royals series preview: The San Francisco Giants

These are not the 2014 Giants.

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MLB: Atlanta Braves at San Francisco Giants
Shimmy shimmy shake
Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

Without dirt-biking enthusiast Madison Bumgarner, the Giants haven’t exactly set the baseball world ablaze.

Perennial preseason favorites to at least clinch a Wild Card, the Giants have played absolutely miserable baseball in 2017. Rather than being in the thick of the playoff hunt, the Giants are duking it out with the Padres for the last spot in the NL West with only the Phillies holding a worse record than those two teams. With just how bad the Padres are fresh in everyone’s minds, up until the Royals took the last two games in that series, the Giants owned a worse record than San Diego.

Here are the game times and pitching matchups:

  • Tuesday, June 13, 9:15 PM CDT - Jason Vargas (L) versus Ty Blach (L)
  • Wednesday, June 14, 2:45 PM CDT - Jason Hammel versus Johnny Cueto

Royals at Giants pitching matchups

Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Jason Vargas (L) 12 74.1 59 19.9 17 5.7 2.18 3.34 4.53 4.33 1.8 3.3
Ty Blach (L) 16 64.1 26 10.0 13 5.0 3.64 3.96 4.72 5.04 0.8 1.4
Jason Hammel 12 64.2 51 17.6 23 7.9 5.43 4.55 5.28 4.89 0.6 0.2
Johnny Cueto 13 81.0 81 23.6 22 6.4 4.33 4.05 3.69 3.86 1.0 1.2

Ty Blach’s ERA might look nice, but a deeper dive reveals a K-rate so low that he might as well be a Twin. A groundball pitcher living on contact and not walking guys, this matchup probably goes one of two ways for the Royals. The Creighton alum either goes Cy Blach on the Royals or gets shelled. His SIERA and xFIP both point to some regression to the mean, so cross your fingers, Royals fans. Cueto hasn’t been nearly as dominant as he was for most of 2016. The Royals have seen two versions of Cueto, both as a Royal. Which one shows up is anyone’s guess.

Giants position players

Player Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Player Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Buster Posey C 222 8 28 23 1 .347 .437 .521 .410 160 2.6 2.5
Brandon Belt (L) 1B 269 11 34 28 2 .237 .353 .443 .346 118 1.2 1.6
Eduardo Nuñez 3B/LF 250 4 33 24 17 .300 .325 .414 .318 99 0.9 0.2
Joe Panik (L) 2B 236 3 22 18 2 .255 .326 .380 .305 90 0.8 0.9
Brandon Crawford (L) SS 197 4 21 25 2 .247 .294 .388 .287 79 0.8 0.4
Denard Span (L) CF 173 3 18 12 0 .259 .306 .401 .306 91 0.3 -0.5
Austin Slater LF 29 1 4 6 0 .320 .414 .560 .414 162 0.3 0.2
Kelby Tomlinson Util 42 0 5 1 2 .308 .341 .308 .291 81 0.2 0.1
Hunter Pence RF 176 3 18 20 0 .239 .278 .337 .267 66 0.0 -0.4
Nick Hundley C 110 1 10 10 0 .233 .257 .369 .261 62 -0.1 -0.5
Aaron Hill IF 57 1 6 7 0 .184 .281 .327 .268 66 -0.1 -0.4
Gorkys Hernandez OF 125 0 9 8 4 .196 .274 .250 .240 48 -0.4 -1.4

Aside from the predictably solid performances from Buster Posey and Brandon Belt, there has not been a lot to like from the Giants’ offense. The 3.0 fWAR they have amassed outpaces only the Royals and Padres, but those Wins comes largely from defensive contributions. Their offense is the worst in the majors. Their 78 wOBA trails the Royals by 2 points, and though their AVG and OBP are both within .005 of each other, the Giants have hit 25 fewer long balls than the Royals and nine fewer than the second-worst home-run hitting team in baseball, the Pirates. Their SLG is the worst in baseball by .021 points. That’s a lot.

When looking at their defense, UZR—which fWAR uses—loves the Giants, whose 6.6 UZR on the season is good for ninth-best in baseball. DRS, however, loathes the Giants’ defense, rating them the third-worst in baseball at -28 Defensive Runs Saved. That the two measures are so opposed to one another certainly raises some questions.

Poll

Who wins the two game series in San Francisco?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    Royals sweep
    (144 votes)
  • 36%
    No one (split)
    (91 votes)
  • 6%
    Giants sweep
    (15 votes)
250 votes total Vote Now

All stats courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Reference through action on Monday, June 12.

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