Having dug themselves another hole, the San Francisco Giants will seek to repeat recent history when they attempt to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the visiting Atlanta Braves on Sunday night.
The final matchup of the regular season between the clubs is expected to turn into a second consecutive survey of the San Francisco bullpen, with Tristan Beck (3-2, 3.34 ERA) up first. The Giants used four relievers after opener Ryan Walker in Saturday’s 7-3 loss.
Right-hander Jared Shuster (4-2, 5.00), recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett earlier in the week, is the scheduled starter for the Braves.
Atlanta’s win Saturday made it two straight over the Giants in San Francisco and four of five going back to its 2-1 series win at home last week.
For the second straight week, the Braves will go for a series sweep on Sunday, a position not at all unfamiliar to the Giants. Not only did they lose the first two games in Atlanta last week, but they’ve also dropped their first two meetings with the Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies this month.
Last Sunday’s win also came with an opener on the mound — Jakob Junis — and required a two-out, bases-loaded walk to Joc Pederson in the ninth to produce the difference-making run in a 4-3 win.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler wasn’t making excuses when he admitted after Saturday’s game that his team is just running into better teams.
“We’re going up against some of the best offenses in baseball. Not just some of the best offenses — but hot, good offenses,” he said. “It’s tough to limit their run output. And if you’re not able to limit their run output, you have to figure out a way to outscore them, and we’re not doing that.
“It’s just not good enough against these really good teams that are playing better baseball than us.”
The Braves have won four in a row, both out-hitting and out-pitching the Giants in the first two games of this series, 5-1 and 7-3 wins. Michael Harris II, Austin Riley and Orlando Arcia have contributed home runs to the two wins, while starting pitchers Spencer Strider and Max Fried combined to allow just three runs in 13 innings, followed by a bullpen that has given up one run in five innings.
While his teammates have provided the power, Ronald Acuna Jr. has flashed some of his speed in the series, swiping his 59th base in Saturday’s win. He’s now one steal and two home runs away from becoming the first in baseball history to steal 60 bases and hit 30 homers in the same season.
But the Braves are much more than Acuna.
“Everybody knows it could be somebody, anybody, that’s gonna pick the team up. So we’re all in good moods,” catcher Travis d’Arnaud said/ “Even if we get out, it’s like, whatever, the guy behind us is gonna pick me up. It makes hitting a lot less stressful.”
—Field Level Media
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