Aug. 17 MLB Preview — San Francisco Giants (62-61) at Arizona Diamondbacks (61-62)

(Bruce Bochy photo courtesy Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports)

This is the full preview(s) as seen on the Winners and Whiners and Stat Salt websites. The confidence rating for all picks on a scale from 1 to 5 is in parentheses.

Note: The 5/5 does NOT represent the best overall pick of the day’s games when there are multiple games, simply the best pick(s) from each individual game.

When and Where: Saturday, Aug. 17, Chase Field, Phoenix, Ariz., 8:10 p.m. EDT.

Say this much for San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy: he is going out on his terms as his team contends for a National League wild-card spot in his final season.

After re-jiggering his rotation to open this critical four-game set against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Bochy will give Logan Webb his major league debut Saturday night as the NL West rivals continue their series.

Webb earns promotion after one Triple-A start

Bochy opened the season by pushing Jeff Samardzija back a day to Friday, and his decision to give Dereck Rodriguez the ball paid off handsomely with seven shutout innings Thursday night as San Francisco rolled to a 7-0 victory.

Now Bochy is expected to roll the dice again with the 22-year-old Webb (NR), who has been at all four rungs of the minor league ladder this year from Rookie League to Triple-A before joining the team in Arizona on Friday.

The right-hander’s lone start for the Sacramento River Cats on Monday was an impressive one as he limited Nashville to one run in seven innings while striking out seven. Webb spent most of this time at Double-A Richmond, where he posted a 2.18 ERA in seven starts and eight appearances while striking out 47 in 41 1-3 innings.

“He was throwing the ball well in Richmond, we thought he did a nice job in a start in Sacramento, so we’re going to slot him in,” manager Bruce Bochy told the San Jose Mercury News.

Webb has made five starts and seven appearances after serving an 80-game ban for violating the league’s PED policy. The suspension makes him ineligible for postseason play should the Giants make the playoffs, which is something that gnaws at the righty.

“It’s tough to think about,” Webb said. “But at the same time, I have my family, friends and teammates supporting me. Those are the people I’ll have to lean on. Yeah, I’ll definitely always have a little chip on my shoulder. I think I always have, but it’s a little bit bigger now.”

D-Backs also shuffle rotation, bump Clarke into spot start

Arizona manager Torey Lovullo also has shuffled his rotation, opting to push scheduled starter Merrill Kelly to Sunday and giving rookie Taylor Clarke (4-3, 5.46) the ball. The Diamondbacks will recall Clarke from Triple-A Reno before the game and place Robbie Ray on the injured list to make room.

Clarke was demoted after an Aug. 4 start in which he allowed a pair of home runs and three runs over 4 2-3 innings against Washington in Arizona’s 7-5 defeat. The right-hander, who did not factor in the decision, had a maintenance start last Saturday for the Aces and pitched three shutout innings.

He also walked four and threw only 28 strikes among his 59 pitches. Control was not a big issue for Clarke over his 13 starts and 14 appearances for the Diamondbacks as he totaled 22 walks in 62 2-3 innings.

Strike zone command, however, proved more problematic as he served up 15 home runs in those games — eight coming in 28 1-3 innings at home. Clarke has split two outings against the Giants, with the loss coming in the most recent matchup June 21 when he yielded six runs and seven hits as both Kevin Pillar and Alex Dickerson took him deep in an 11-5 Diamondbacks loss.

Notable Trends

The Diamondbacks are:

  • 1-4 in Clarke’s last five starts vs. NL West teams.
  • 2-5 in their last seven home games vs. right-handed starters.
  • 1-6 in their last seven home games vs. the Giants.

The Giants are:

  • 13-3 in their last 16 games vs. NL West teams.
  • 16-6 in their last 22 road games vs. right-handed starters.
  • 15-6 in their last 21 road games.

*****5-Star Pick*****

Giants OVER 4.5 runs (-125)

There is a lot to like about the Giants offensively of late as they enter this contest with five or more runs in five of their last seven games and in five of their eight games in Arizona.

Opponents have also pushed across five or more runs in eight of Clarke’s 13 starts, and with Webb making his major league debut, the Giants will be motivated to give the youngster all the help he can get.

****4-Star Pick****

OVER 10 runs (-115)

The number came in higher than expected, but after the teams combined for 12 home runs Friday night, the play continues to be the over. Lost in Webb’s rapid ascension was an Aug. 2 game at Harrisburg in which he gave up 10 unearned runs. Granted, seven of them came in one inning after a two-out error, but still, it is an interesting outlier.

Clarke’s struggles keeping the ball in the park, though, are a bigger reason, especially after Mike Yastrzemski and Kevin Pillar combined for five homers for the Giants in Friday night’s win.

***3-Star Picks***

Giants ML (+105)

With both managers operating by the seat of their pants with their rotation and after San Francisco’s wild 10-9, 11-inning victory Friday night, here’s why the Giants are the pick:

Are you going to go against the manager who has three World Series titles and nearing 2,000 career victories, especially after he has already pulled one such move this series and gotten a huge result out of it?

Trusting a pitcher making his major league debut beyond the money line is a bridge too far, but the Giants keep finding ways to claw out victories, and the expectation is they find a way here once more.

Giants -0.5 runs first 5 innings (+130)

An alternate spread courtesy, the hunch is the Giants will continue their trend of leading at the halfway point in Arizona. San Francisco is 5-1-1 in its seven games at Chase Field after leading in the first two games of this series.

The Diamondbacks are 9-4 after five innings in Clarke’s starts, though the Giants have gotten one of those wins in their two matchups. Arizona is also 1-4 in its last five at home in the first five innings.

OVER 6 runs first 5 innings (-105)

The five-inning over is 7-2 in Clarke’s last nine starts and also has delivered in both of his outings against the Giants. While the under is 6-2-1 in San Francisco’s last nine overall, the Giants should give the over a fighting chance considering they have scored three or more runs in the first five innings in six of their last eight games.

Giants OVER 1.5 runs first 3 innings (+121)

The Giants have scored two or more runs in the first three innings in their last seven non-interleague games, and Clarke’s early struggles — he has a 7.27 ERA in the first two innings and given up seven homers in his 13 starts — make this worth a play for a decent plus-money reward.



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