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Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers @ San Francisco Giants

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The Brewers are about to see a drastic drop in the quality of their opponent this weekend

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

After another day off, the Brewers will hope to carry the momentum from stealing a game against one of baseball’s best teams into a series against one of baseball’s worst teams.

The San Francisco Giants come into the weekend in last place in the NL West at 28-38, but a pythagorean record of 25-41 based on their -83 run differential, the second-worst total in the league behind only the Pittsburgh Pirates -- who the Brewers have made a habit of beating this month.

Through 66 games, the Giants have the second-worst OPS in all of baseball at .653, ahead of only the Marlins. They’ve hit just 60 home runs this year, less than half of the Brewers’ 121, and fewer than Christian Yelich, Mike Moustakas and Yasmani Grandal have hit combined.

As we saw with the Marlins series, that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of doing damage if they can string hits together, but that’s been an issue for the Giants all year -- while Miami is hitting .236 as a team, the Giants are tied for worst in all of baseball at .222.

A weak offense is nothing new for the Giants, but the pitching staff is no longer capable of carrying the team as far as it has in the past. They now rank in the bottom 10 in team ERA, and much of that has come against the starting rotation, which is carrying a 5.18 ERA. The bullpen, meanwhile, has been one of the few bright spots for the team, with Old Friend Will Smith finally back healthy and holding down the 9th inning with a 2.03 ERA as the team’s closer and 16 saves while striking out 38 and walking only 6 in 26.2 innings.

Probable Pitchers

Friday, June 14th - 9:15 p.m. CDT
Zach Davies vs. Drew Pomeranz

Pomeranz is trying to dig out of a big ERA hole after a brutal month of May that saw him get hit to the tune of a 19.16 ERA, allowing 22 earned runs in 10.1 innings over 4 starts. The lefty is coming off a very good start against a strong Dodgers lineup, though, throwing 5 shutout innings while only allowing 3 hits and striking out 7.

Saturday, June 15th - 3:05 p.m. CDT
Jimmy Nelson vs. Madison Bumgarner

Bumgarner also turned in a very good start against the Dodgers his last time on the mound, allowing just 1 run over 7 innings. No word yet on if he’s been able to fish that run out of the ocean, though. With the way he carries himself, you’d think he would be 35 by now, but he’s still only 29, despite the significant mileage put on his left arm. The soon-to-be free agent has a 3.83 ERA/3.89 FIP in 14 starts, striking out 84 and walking just 17 in 87 innings.

Sunday, June 16th - 3:05 p.m. CDT
Chase Anderson vs. Jeff Samardzija

After a rough couple seasons, Samardzija has gotten some good results so far this year. He’s put up a 3.72 ERA (albeit with a 4.63 FIP) by increasing his strikeout rate from a lost 2018 season, but has still struggled with home runs, allowing 11 in 67.2 innings.

Player to Watch

Brandon Belt remains the only true regular threat in the Giants’ lineup, putting up a line of .250/.376/.474 with 9 home runs and 13 doubles.

After Belt, the next highest OPS+ on the team belongs to Pablo Sandoval, who may actually be putting together a bit of a late-career resurgance. In 141 plate appearances in 61 games, the now-32-year-old Panda is hitting .275/.312/.557 with 8 home runs and 13 doubles. He still isn’t showing much plate discipline, but he’s at least seeing better results than he has been getting since before his disastrous departure to Boston.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference