The Giants have a 65-49 record heading into Friday, good enough for first in their division and one of the best marks in the MLB. San Francisco won the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014, so 2016 could be yet another even year in which they go all the way. New additions like Denard Span and Eduardo Nunez have added even more on-base consistency to an already potent offense. Returners such as Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, and Brandon Belt have continued their tradition of dominating the National League. The Giants have had the good fortune to evade most injuries and trade-deadline departures, with the exception of Hunter Pence’s stint on the disabled list and the trade of infielder Matt Duffy to the Tampa Bay Rays. However, San Francisco gained another much-needed quality starting pitcher, Matt Moore, in that trade. He adds even more depth to a rotation that already features Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, and Jeff Samardzija.
For reasons unknown to most, pretty much all of the most well-known baseball media outlets predicted a losing streak for the Baltimore Orioles prior to the 2016 MLB season. The Orioles have proven they're a force to be reckoned with in the wake of that embarrassment, and continue to lay waste to the American League. Although they aren’t leading their division at the moment, they have had possession of the spot this season and trail the Blue Jays by just half a game heading into Friday. Baltimore has also welcomed new additions like Mark Trumbo, Pedro Alvarez, Steve Pearce, and Yovani Gallardo to their roster. Not only that, but Adam Jones, Chris Davis, and Manny Machado have all remained productive and relative healthy this season. Though pitching has been an issue, the Orioles offense could be enough to catapult them to the World Series come October.
The Giants will send out Johnny Cueto to man the hill on Sunday. He’s experiencing arguably his best season ever, putting up a 2.93 ERA and a 13-3 record so far. Not only that, but he’s 5-2 with a 2.63 ERA at home. Cueto is 2-1 in his last five home starts, and 0-2 in his last five overall. He hasn’t faced Baltimore yet this year, but he owns a 1-0 record against other AL East teams. His .259 batting average allowed to lefties doesn’t bode well for this matchup, and neither does his post-all-star-break ERA of 5.02. Hopefully this is the game Cueto can use to get back on track.
Sunday will mark Wade Miley’s third start for the Baltimore Orioles, and he will seek to earn his first win with his new club in San Francisco, a notoriously pitcher-friendly park. He’s 1-4 in his last four road starts, though that singular victory came at Wrigley Field as a member of the Seattle Mariners. He hasn’t faced the Giants yet this season, and earned a no-decision in his only start against another NL West team. His 4.98 ERA and 7-10 record aren’t appealing, but his career mark of 4.08 shows he has room for improvement. With the help of the Orioles’ bats, he could prove to be a very valuable acquisition, especially for the postseason.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Both pitchers have struggled, but you’d expect Cueto to turn his fortunes around at home. The Giants win this one 7-1.