SFO: Matt Cain (12-2) 2.12 ERA. HOU: Mike Hampton (6-8) 5.36 ERA.
This is going to be an interesting series. First off, the Astros look bad on paper. They're 52-53, they have Mike Hampton on the hill, they play in the home-run hitters paradise they call Minute Maid Park. If you just look at this from a distance, this should be the Giants' series easy, right?
Well...I'm not so keen on that. With Cain, Sanchez and whoever Bochy decides to make the No. 5 starter pitching this series, I'm a little worried about how this series will go (just because I'm so suspect in the last two. Yes, I fear the unknown). Did we pick up some much needed momentum after the 3-7 road trip to start off the second half? Yeah, but we still are a bad road team, bottom line, and I'm wondering if the Giants are due for a letdown after going 7-1 in last week's homestand.
The good thing about this series? We should at least win one game. Cain is on the hill and I have a feeling that he is going to continue to deal today. He really has looked great in his last four outings, and should already be the NL's first 13-game winner (unfortunately, the Giants offense forgot there was a game in Cain's last outing against the Pirates until the 10th inning). The Astros lineup is scary, but I think Cain and the Giants bullpen is more than capable of handling them, even in their own ballpark. The key will be keeping Michael Bourne off the bases (which they did in San Francisco) and getting run support of their own right off the bat (which they did in San Francisco as well). If the Giants are in a tight game after four or five, I don't like our chances, even if we are up, simply because of the ballpark. However, if we are up by four or five going into the fifth, I'm more confident just because the Giants don't blow leads very often, if ever.
It was a great week last week to be a Giants fan. Hopefully, the Giants can pick it up and make themselves a little more respectable on the road during this trip in Houston. Cain has to set the tempo. If he struggles...well...I just don't want to think about that.
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.