Giants-Rangers Series Preview (2024)

It’ll be fun to watch the San Francisco Giants matchup against Bruce Bochy again. We’ll be reminded of the really good times, especially with the occasion of the 10-year anniversary of the Giants’ last World Series win.

In a nice bit of symmetry, Bochy’s reigning World Series champion Rangers are below .500 (like the Giants!) on the season and towards the end of May suffered their longest losing streak of the season (6 — like the Giants!). Their longest winning streak of the season has only been 4 (like the Giants!). It has been a bit of a hangover for this squad, with middle of the pack pitching (15th by fWAR) and a middle of the pack lineup (17th by fWAR).

Again, this all feels very familiar. The Giants’ hangover squads of 2011, 2013, and 2015 all experienced a measure of this funk, with 2013 being the only real true stinker. 2011 was a bummer, of course, because of Buster Posey’s ankle injury and has a very strong flavor of “What might’ve been” if that pitching staff (3.21 ERA) had gotten into the postseason. That lineup, of course, even with Carlos Beltran, was simply putrid (.242/.303/.368).

The 2024 Rangers’ team batting line? .243/.314/.384. You can tell we’re in a totally different era, though, because that line is good enough for a 98 wRC+. The 2011 Giants were 88. Sure, that’s a bit more on base and a bit more slug than those Giants had, but it’s also the case that the Rangers haven’t been able to followup their tremendous hitting performance last season (5.44 runs/game). In fact, they’re a full run worse (4.44 runs/game). To put it another way, the Rangers have scored just two more runs than the Giants (273).

World Series hangover or Donnie Ecker’s formula starting to breakdown? We’ll get to examine the matter up close in this weekend’s three game series.

Of course, pitching and defense still matter, and that’s why the Rangers are probably going to be fine at the end of teh day. Their +5.2 Defensive Runs Above Average (as a team) is 6th in MLB behind the Blue Jays (9.8), Yankees (9.7), Diamondbacks (7.4), Twins (6.7) and Royals (5.4), I’ve written out this full list because two of these teams have handled the Giants pretty well and the rest of the list feature teams that are also contending for Wild Cards, albeit in the inferior league.

The Giants’ defense is comparatively worse (-6.0 Defensive Runs Above Average as of this morning), which doesn’t help when their Fielding Independent Pitching ERA of 3.91 is still approaching middle of the pack (13th in MLB, 6th in NL). The Giants, as “not great, not terrible” as they are, have been buoyed by their offense — their 104 wRC+ is 10th in MLB (6th in NL). How will they fare on the road against Texas’s middle of the pack pitching that’s being deployed by one of the best managers to ever manage a bullpen? We’ll find out.

I went back through the McCovey Chronicles archives to see if there was anything Bochy-worthy to add into this preview and, well exactly 10 years ago today was the second day of the MLB Draft. Grant wrote:

After selecting Tyler Beede and Aramis Garcia with their first two picks on Thursday, the Giants went with a mix of position players and pitchers, sticking with college players with Cape Cod (read: wood bat) success, as is their wont. Here’s a list of who they drafted from rounds 3 through 10 on Friday ...

3rd round: Dylan Davis, OF, Oregon State
4th round: Logan Webb, RHP, Rocklin HS
5th round: Samuel Coonrod, RHP, Southern Illinois-Carbindale
6th round: Skyler Ewing, 1B, Rice
7th round: Seth Harrison, CF, Louisiana-Lafayette
8th round: Austin Slater, CF, Stanford
9th round: Stetson Woods, RHP, Liberty HS (CA)
10th round: Mathew Gage, LHP, Siena College

There’s remembering some guys and there’s seeing some notable guys. Webb, the key to the Giants’ success, and Austin Slater, the latest lightening rod. Also, it’s a little weird that Webb will be starting for the Giants almost 10 years to the day they drafted him. And cool.

Anyway, the 2014 season was the improbable story of the Giants surviving the season with Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson in the rotation (though Ryan Vogelsong had a bit of a bounce-back season, too, at least compared to 2013), and none of that mattering because they had Madison Bumgarner.

It was also the season of Should the Giants even try to win the Wild Card Game? and Matt Williams being a bumbling idiot and pulling Jordan Zimmerman early enough in Game 2 of the NLDS to allow the Giants to make their comeback of historical significance. I wonder if the Giants’ current third base coach will be asked about that in this weekend miasma of nostalgic embrace. Hopefully, there’s some entertaining present day baseball on top of it.

Series details

Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Texas Rangers
Where: Globe Life Field, Arlington, Texas
When: Friday (5:05pm PT), Saturday (1:05pm PT), Sunday (10:05am PT)
National broadcasts: MLB Network simulcast (Friday), Roku — no, seriously (Sunday; CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW TO WATCH)

Projected starters

Friday: Logan Webb vs. Michael Lorenzen
Saturday: TBA vs. TBA
Sunday: TBA vs. TBA

Where they stand

Rangers, 30-32 (2nd in AL West), 275 RS / 262 RA | Last 10 games: 6-4
Giants, 30-33 (4th in NL West), 273 RS / 301 RA | Last 10 games: 3-7

Rangers to watch

Corey Seager & Marcus Semien: With Josh Jung out and Evan Carter likely to be out far longer than expected, the pressure for these two up the middle defenders, also the two best players on the team by fWAR (Semien: 2.4, Seager: 1.8), to be The Offense only grows. Seager closed out May with a 13-game stretch wherein he homered 9 times, but he’s homerless in June with only one extra base hit (a double onJune 1st). BUT! He’s still 7-for-18 with a pair of walks and just 2 strikeouts. Meanwhile, Semien’s final 17 games of May were putrid: 11-for-69 (.159/.224/.290), with just 3 doubles and 2 homers. In June, though, he’s 8-for-17 with a double and a homer and 6 walks against 3 strikeouts.

Ordinarily, I’d argue that the key to the series would be preventing the other players from getting on base so these guys don’t power crooked numbered innings, but Bochy has been hitting them 1-2 in the lineup, which means an early 2-0 deficit in each game, at least, if the Giants aren’t careful, and if they manage to dance through that minefield there’s still the matter of sutting down the lower third of the order ahead of the lineup turning over.

Michael Lorenzen: He was another late into Spring Training signing, opting for the Rangers on a 1-year deal on March 21st. But he’s done much, much better than either Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery. Just... so much better. He made his season debut on April 15 with five shutout innings in Detroit. He’s had basically two bad starts this year: his 3rd and 5th starts of the season, with 5 ER in 6 IP against the Reds in Texas and 6 ER in 6 IP at Oakland. In four starts since that Oakland game, he’s pitched 25.2 innings and allowed just 3 runs (all earned; 1.05 ERA), a 0.99 WHIP and 21 strikeouts. His FIP has been 2.90, which means he’s not walking a lot of guys or giving up home runs.

David Robertson: I’ve always admired his pluck because he’s one of the few players who represents himself. That saves him a nice chunk of change from a commission standpoint. He’s always bet on himself. At 39, in his 16th season, he’s showing he’s still got it. He’s having one of his best seasons, in fact, with a 2.86 ERA (career 2.90) through 28.1 innings and a 2.50 FIP (career 2.95). A 12.7 K/9 (career 11.8). A 3.2 BB/9 (3.7 career). We were in lockdown when I was 39, but here’s Robertson at the same age making hitters sick with his 94 mph cutter and knucklecurve.

Giants to watch

The Mikes, Conforto & Yastrzemski: The Rangers have just two left-handed pitchers on their entire staff: starter Andrew Heaney and reliever Jacob Latz, so, it’s really these guys’ time to shine... right? Conforto is 1-for-10 in his first three games off the IL following a three-week absence. Yaz has started to turn things around in the past week and a half. He has just 7 hits in 38 PA, but 5 of them are extra base hits.

Heliot Ramos: Last year, Heliot Ramos hit a somewhat memorable home run in the 9-3 loss to the Rangers when they visited in August — well, memorable to me, anyway, because I was there. During that game I observed that he and Gabe Kapler seemed a little frosty. Ramos averted his gaze walking back to the dugout in his first couple of at bats. The Giants as a team though felt very isolated, as though each player was a sovereign citizen. And, well, we know how that went. I am no body language expert, of course, but it was interesting to observe that and then watch how the Giants handled Ramos last year and even in the early going of this season.

He’s hit so well, though, that it’s impossible for the team to do anything other than let him rip — for a bit. There’s no reason to believe they won’t be looking to bench or send him down after an 0-for-8 stretch, if they’re convinced some other player gives them a better chance to succeed in the near-term. He’s had 108 plate appearances since his callup on May 8th, and during that time he’s slashed .304/.407/.511 (.918 OPS). We all (rightfully) gravitate towards that slugging percentage, note that he’s hit 3 home runs in the first five games the team has played in June. But he’s also drawn 15 walks on the season — 6 in the past two games. He playing so well, resisting pitches you can see he reeeeeally wants to swing at so consistently that it feels like he’s doing it as a bit, as though he’s mocking the team’s edict of “Now you listen here young man: you select those pitches you swing at carefully, ya hear? And take your walks too, Mister!”

Anyway, let’s see if he can continue this run he’s been on.

Blake Snell’s spot in the rotation: Will the Giants simply place a gas can on the mound and light it on fire?

Prediction time


Giants @ Rangers - how will it go?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Giants sweep

    (17 votes)

  • 6%
    Giants swept

    (8 votes)

  • 52%
    Giants win series, 2-1

    (62 votes)

  • 26%
    Giants lose series, 2-1

    (31 votes)

118 votes total Vote Now

Giants-Rangers Series Preview (2024)


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