SFO: Ryan Sadowski (2-2) 4.15 ERA. COL: Aaron Cook (9-3) 3.94 ERA.
The season has been an interesting one for 26-year-old rookie Ryan Sadowski. After two surprising awesome starts in a row to start off his big-league career, his last two outings have been rather forgettable. He had a hard time keeping things under control in his third start, and in his fourth start he just got absolutely shelled.
In a hitter's ballpark like Colorado, you have to be nervous with Sadowski taking the hill. His stuff isn't great, and if he leaves pitches up high, we could have a game that could turn out uglier than the last start he had in Atlanta. However, Sadowski pitches, the Giants need to come out of the gate fast. They can't have a slow start, especially with a rookie whose confidence is shaken and a quality starter in Aaron Cook on the hill. If the Giants are able to hit Cook early, I think that will bode good things for Sadowski early, who seems to be a lot better pitching with a lead (which he had in his first two starts of the year). However, if Cook mows down the Giants, as he has done in the past, then this game could get real ugly, real fast and I wouldn't be surprised if Sadowski would be out of the rotation if he has another poor outing.
The lineup at least is to Sadowski's advantage. Lewis is back in the lineup despite inexplicably not playing yesterday after a 3-for-3 performance on Friday. Furthermore, Matt Downs is sitting the pine, which is addition by subtraction in my mind. The only problem I have with this lineup is John Bowker is playing right. I don't know if he should be in the lineup period, let alone playing right field (does he even have an arm?). However, the only way Bowker is going to get better is by getting at-bats, so hopefully we can see a breakthrough game from the lefty. If he can make contact on the ball, it isn't crazy to think that those line drives he hit will fly out in Coors. It certainly worked for Troy Tulowitizki last night. Hopefully it can work for Bowker today.
This isn't a do-or-die kind of a win for the Giants (it is still July and there is two months of ball left to be played, so you can't consider this game being in must-win territory), but a win certainly would bode well for their Wild Card chance. The bottom line? The Giants need to be aggressive and get to Cook early. If he gains any confidence, and if Sadowski doesn't have the run support he had in his first two outings, this will be a long game for the Giants that will further add to Colorado's sickening amount of momentum since Clint Hurdle's firing.
For game updates check out the SJ Mercury's Andrew Baggarly's Giants blog at Extra Baggs. For live game thread and chat, check out the McCovey Chronicles.