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San Francisco Giants Series Preview: This World Series rematch isn’t especially intriguing

The Giants have remade themselves into a beast after a few lean years following their dynasty.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Miami Marlins Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals were last in San Francisco in 2017, where they took two games in the second half of a four-game home-and-home series with their 2014 World Series opponent. Even including that World Series, it’s just the fourth trip to San Francisco for them in team history. They’ve generally played pretty well in San Francisco, but they also traveled there with better teams than this one. This Giants team is coming off a 107-win season that sort of came out of nowhere as they showed some different training and development regimens to set them apart from the rest of the league. It’s kind of funny because it seems a little bit like people are thinking they’ve taken a step back. They sort of have because they were so good last year and they’re missing Buster Posey plus Brandons Belt and Crawford have struggled some, but they’re still good.

It’s actually the pitching that’s dropped off a fair amount. Alex Cobb has had a rough year and is on the IL. Anthony Desclafani was so good last year that they gave him a three-year deal and he made three starts, wasn’t good and is now on the IL. Jake McGee has had a rough year. Tyler Rogers is having a rough year. Logan Webb has been good, but not as good as last year. Carlos Rodon has been good, but not as good as Kevin Gausman was. I actually have some faith they’ll turn that around. The ship for 100+ wins has likely started to sail off, but I wouldn’t be surprised with the way this team is run that if we look up in early October, they’ll have 90+ wins. It’s a good team and it’s a well-run team. That usually gets results.

Royals vs. Giants Matchup Stats

Category Royals Giants
Category Royals Giants
Winning % .339 .559
Team wRC+ 93 108
Team xFIP 4.68 3.65
Run Differential -88 35
Highest fWAR Bobby Witt Jr., 1.6 Carlos Rodon, 1.9

Giants Projected Lineup

Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Luis Gonzalez LF 144 .307 .368 .417 8.3% 18.8% 125 0.4
Mike Yastrzemski CF 199 .275 .377 .467 13.1% 20.6% 141 1.6
Wilmer Flores 1B 226 .243 .310 .406 8.0% 15.5% 103 0.6
Joc Pederson LF 169 .267 .337 .560 8.3% 21.3% 150 1.0
Brandon Crawford SS 212 .219 .311 .353 9.4% 18.4% 92 0.7
Evan Longoria 3B 83 .234 .289 .481 7.2% 30.1% 117 0.3
Tommy La Stella DH 64 .230 .266 .426 4.7% 14.1% 94 -0.2
Thairo Estrada 2B 214 .277 .327 .410 6.1% 14.5% 110 1.1
Curt Casali C 98 .227 .296 .398 8.2% 31.6% 98 0.7

Giants Projected Bench

Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Austin Wynns C 9 .500 .556 .500 11.1% 22.2% 210 0.3
Darin Ruf 1B/OF 203 .221 .335 .349 13.8% 25.1% 102 0.1
Donovan Walton INF/OF 54 .170 .185 .358 1.9% 18.5% 49 -0.3
Heliot Ramos OF 14 .154 .214 .154 7.1% 21.4% 12 -0.3
Austin Slater OF 97 .250 .371 .425 15.5% 27.8% 130 1.0

It’s worth mentioning here that the Giants platoon A LOT. Mike Yastrzemski, Joc Pederson and Tommy La Stella are generally in the lineup against righties only while Darin Ruf, Heliot Ramos and Austin Slater will be in there against lefties. I think it’s fair to say that most teams don’t platoon quite like the Giants, so I wanted to point that out here.

Giants Key Relievers

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP fWAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP fWAR
Camilo Doval 26 25.1 2 2 27.1% 9.3% 2.84 3.19 0.3
Dominic Leone 24 23.0 3 0 25.8% 3.2% 2.35 2.90 0.3
Tyler Rogers 27 27.1 0 2 13.2% 6.6% 5.27 4.29 0.3

Royals vs. Giants Projected Pitchers

June 13 - RHP Brady Singer vs. LHP Alex Wood, 8:45pm

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Brady Singer 8 35.1 3 1 24.1% 2.8% 4.33 2.76 0.3
Alex Wood 11 55.1 3 5 23.3% 6.4% 4.23 3.11 1.0

Brady Singer has now made five starts since coming back from Omaha. The first two were each scoreless over seven innings, but I thought he was actually as good in the third as he was in the first even though the box score said otherwise. In a losing season, the box score is important, but maybe not quite as important. He struggled in his next start against Houston, but then I thought he looked okay against the Blue Jays, again in spite of the box score. Where my concern lies is in his pitch mix. The changeups have disappeared again, so that’s a bit of an issue, but I’m also wondering why he isn’t going to his slider more given how good a pitch it is. He did throw more against the Blue Jays than the Astros, but he’s gotten 17 whiffs on 28 swings over his last two games on it. It’s working. Throw it. His sinker is a good pitch, but it’s a better pitch when there’s more of a threat of the slider. I’d like to see that slider creep up into the 45 percent-range for usage and maybe look at 40-45 percent for the sinker and 10-15 percent for his changeup. This is a Giants team that will use the platoon advantage every chance they get, so Singer will be facing some lefties. The slider and changeup will be his friend in this game.

Career vs. SF: First Appearance


Alex Wood is one of those pitchers who you assume is in his mid-30s or maybe even upper-30s because it feels like he’s been around forever, but he’s only 31. He hasn’t ever exactly been a rotation horse, but outside of a couple lean years, he’s been a solid rotation piece for a lot of seasons. When he’s right, he’s getting strikeouts and limiting walks pretty well. Like Singer, he works with a sinker, slider and changeup, but he’s a much lower spin guy. He gets it done with a lot of deception as the sinker tops out at 94 or maybe 95 sometimes and the slider spin rate is just around 2050 rpm. When he has been hit hard, it’s generally on the sinker. He makes an effort to work higher in the zone with it, but it can flatten out a bit and that’s when hitters need to pounce. He’s been much tougher on lefties than righties and you can’t count on him to get deep into a game, but he’s generally pretty effective while he’s in there.

Career vs. KC: 1 G, 0.1 IP, 0-1, 27.00 ERA

June 14 - LHP Kris Bubic vs. RHP Logan Webb, 8:45pm

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Kris Bubic 8 22.2 0 3 16.1% 14.3% 9.13 5.19 -0.4
Logan Webb 12 71.2 5 2 20.0% 5.8% 3.77 3.27 1.4

Kris Bubic has made two starts since coming back from Omaha. I thought he looked terrible in the first one and he threw five shutout innings against a good Astros offense. Then I thought he looked much sharper (though not great) against a bad Orioles offense and he couldn’t get through the fifth and ended up giving up four runs. On the plus side, he only walked two and he struck out five, which was just his second start out of seven where he struck out more than he walked. I thought he had his changeup working and got some truly ugly swings on them. Again, the Giants will use the platoon advantage, which means he’ll see a lot of right-handed bats in there. Bubic isn’t afraid to throw his changeup to a lefty, but if it looks as good as it did against Baltimore, he’ll have a shot to build on an outing that was much more promising in spite of the results.

Career vs. SF: First Appearance


Logan Webb was the Giants fourth round pick in 2014 and he kind of cruised through the minors, but took a bit to find his footing at the big league level. While I don’t trust the Royals coaching staff to help coax the talent out of their young pitchers, Webb is an example of someone who took a little time before taking off. He had a 5.36 ERA in 21 games and 94 innings between 2019 and 2020. But last year, after a rough start in Colorado brought his ERA to 5.34 though seven starts, something clicked. He wore down a bit as the season went on, but he finished the season with 20 starts and a 2.40 ERA with a 27.4 percent strikeout rate and 4.8 percent walk rate. The Giants were 18-2 in those starts. That’s pretty good. He gets a ton of grounders and while the strikeout rate has dropped back some, the walk rate is still quite good. He uses a sinker, a changeup and a slider and he throws them all about the same amount of the time, so you can’t really guess much against him. He’s been dinged some against lefties this year, which would lead you to expect to see that his changeup has given him problems, but it’s actually the sinker. And to make him even scarier, he gets better and better as the game goes on. When he faces a lineup a third time, they hit .171/.224/.214 against him.

Career vs. KC: First Appearance

June 15 - RHP Jonathan Heasley vs. RHP Sean Hjelle, 2:45pm

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Jonathan Heasley 6 32.1 1 3 15.7% 12.9% 3.62 5.52 0.0
Sean Hjelle 2 4.0 0 0 35.3% 11.8% 4.50 2.37 0.1

Boy did Jonathan Heasley have a fantastic outing against the Orioles on Friday. It was seven shutout innings with seven strikeouts and no walks and just one hit allowed. Now THAT is more like it. I think it’s fair to see he’s actually building on things from outing to outing. He gave up three runs on four hits against the Diamondbacks in Arizona, but walked six batters. The next time out against Cleveland, he gave up three runs on six hits in six innings but walked just three. Then in his next start, he gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings against a very good Astros lineup and walked just two. And then he had his last start. In all, he’s still walked way too many batters overall, but he’s averaging just under six innings in his last five starts since his season debut and has given up just 22 hits in 29 innings with a 3.72 ERA. Is he an ace? No, but this is a good Giants lineup for him to see if he can continue to build. I’m not expecting a repeat of Friday night, but I think he can give the Royals a few quality innings and keep them in the game.

Career vs. SF: First Appearance


This was supposed to be Jakob Junis, and it’s a big bummer that it isn’t. I’m guessing it’ll be Sean Hjelle, but will update if that changes. Hjelle is 6’11”, so you can’t miss him out there and he’s been just okay in AAA to start the year. Overall, he has a 5.28 ERA with 54 hits allowed in 46 innings and only 36 strikeouts, but he’s given up just three runs in 15 innings in his last three AAA starts with 13 strikeouts, so he’s trending better at least, though they were broken up by a short stint in the big leagues. His fastball sits around 92-94, but can top out at 96-97 at times. He likes his curve and it’s a pretty decent pitch. He also has a changeup that I’ve heard is getting better but still needs some work. He’s been hit around pretty hard by lefties, so I would hope the Royals would stack their lineup the best they can. Yes, that even means Ryan O’Hearn.

Career vs. KC: First Appearance

Royals vs. Giants Prediction

I think the Giants are good and maybe even better than their good record. The Royals are bad, though maybe better than their record as well. I think the Royals win one of the three and they should be happy about getting that much.

Poll

How many wins for the Royals against the Giants this week?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    3
    (4 votes)
  • 8%
    2
    (14 votes)
  • 51%
    1
    (86 votes)
  • 38%
    0
    (64 votes)
168 votes total Vote Now