The San Francisco Giants play host to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the series finale on Sunday afternoon from Oracle Park. The Giants have come away with wins in the first two games after winning two of three in the first series between the two teams back in June. Primed to grab the sweep, San Francisco is looking to make one final push towards the playoffs, while the Pirates have the role of spoiler secured. In what should be an exciting game, National League fans won't want to miss this one.
Pirates Aim To Avoid SweepWhile the Pirates were able to tread water for a few months, as the season has drawn nearer to the finish line, Pittsburgh has continued to fall further and further down in the NL Central standings. Heading into Sunday, they are narrowly ahead of the Reds for last place in the division and have one of the worst records in the National League to go along with it. A 3-7 record over their last ten games leaves quite a bit to be desired and with a 21-40 record away from home, there's little reason to think that this group will turn things around not only on Sunday but the last six weeks of the season.
Injuries have also continued to mount for this group of late, on both sides of the ball. Positionally, they continue to be without Roberto Perez (hamstring) and Canaan Smith-Njigba (wrist), while Ke'Bryan Hayes (back) remains questionable as the weekend closes out. Adding to that are five relievers being ruled out for the finale, which only further depletes an already thin bullpen.
Ben Gamel to the rescue! pic.twitter.com/Ginff8lYIi— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) August 13, 2022
According to MLB.com, the Pirates will lean on Zach Thompson to take the ball on Sunday. The righty has struggled this season and certainly could have his hands full, especially being on the road. He comes into this one with a 3-9 record and 5.08 ERA, though has been better of late, allowing only five combined runs in his last two starts. Adding in a 4.1 inning performance in which he only allowed two runs against these Giants back in June, he'll be looking to replicate that in this one.
Pittsburgh's lineup has been abysmal for much of the season, which has only served to add more pressure to their rotation. They rank in the bottom five of baseball in runs, average, OPS, and strikeout rate, while ranking right in the middle in home runs has helped to prop up their numbers slightly. Hayes has been their most dangerous hitter for much of the season, though without him in the lineup, it could continue to be a challenge. The last week of action hasn't seen anyone take over and lead the way and without consistent hitting, grabbing the win on the road will always be a challenge.
Giants Mounting Final PushThe Giants have certainly taken a step back this season after winning the division in 2021 and are looking for one final push towards the finish line. They sit well outside the Wild Card race for now but securing the sweep over Pittsburgh would at least continue to give them some confidence and momentum, especially with a trio of easy series coming up for this group. Having gone 5-5 over their last ten games, this team has the quality to remain dangerous, though they need to find that consistency as the season winds down. A 31-27 record at home should give them some additional confidence and momentum, as will have already won the first two games of the series.
With the team getting healthier of late, it shouldn't come as a surprise to see the wins coming more and more frequently as well. Joey Bart (ankle) does remain questionable as the weekend closes out, while Colton Welker (shoulder) is the only other position player out. Four relievers continuing to miss action isn't ideal, though it doesn't seem likely that'll haunt them in this one.
Series win: 𝐒𝐄𝐂𝐔𝐑𝐄𝐃 🤜🤛 pic.twitter.com/qN773ZFGSK— SFGiants (@SFGiants) August 14, 2022
According to MLB.com, Alex Wood will get the ball for the Giants, as the lefty aims to finish the season better than it started. One of baseball's better pitchers of late, he's struggled this season, coming into Sunday afternoon with an 8-9 record and 4.17 ERA. Coming off of a shutout against the Padres the last time out though, he should be primed to come away with another strong start in this one.
San Francisco's offense does remain a mystery and while they've been strong on the weekend so far, it remains to be seen how they'll close things out. They rank in the top ten of baseball in runs and home runs, but with a team average and strikeout rate that sits near the bottom of the league, they'll be hoping that doesn't hold them down in this one. Over the last week, a handful of guys have been hitting over .300 and with the lineup rounding into form, they should see some continued success in the series finale.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Giants are primed to grab the series sweep on Sunday afternoon against the Pirates and the matchup on the mound will be a big reason why. Wood has been a strong arm in baseball across the last few seasons and while he's struggled more in 2022, he has the tools and momentum, coming off of a shutout, to make navigate Pittsburgh's struggling lineup in this one. For the Giants, their own lineup has been surging lately and with the power and run production that they're capable of, they'll certainly put it all together in the finale on Sunday. Additionally, according to covers.com, the Giants are 4-0 in their last four games against NL Central opponents and 5-1 in the last six meetings with the Pirates overall.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Pirates have struggled on the offensive side of things this season but even despite that, this one should have plenty of runs. The Giants rank in the top ten in baseball in runs and home runs and considering Zach Thompson's struggles on the mound, San Francisco could score into the double-digits on their own. For the Giants, Wood is likely to navigate Pittsburgh's lineup well but some rust this season is bound to show through on a few pitches and mistakes. Additionally, according to covers.com, for the Pirates, the over is 4-0 in Thompson's last four starts overall and is 3-0-1 in their last four games after scoring two runs or fewer in the previous one. Also, the over is 13-6-4 in the last 23 meetings between the two teams in San Francisco.