The San Francisco Giants have rebounded nicely since the suspension of Melky Cabrera, winning seven of their last ten games and sweeping the Dodgers in L.A. to claim a 2.5 game lead in the National League West. The club has scored the most runs of anyone in the month of August, which is a surprise given their offensive struggles the last few seasons.
In what could be a potential playoff preview, the Braves will head to San Francisco for a four-game series at beautiful AT&T Park beginning Thursday night.
Buster Posey is having a breakout season for the Giants and has joined the MVP race with a .327 batting average and .941 OPS. Now that Cabrera is off the team for 50 games, Posey is the only hitter with double-digit home run numbers (19) and has nearly two-times the amount of RBIs (79) as the team's second-best option, Angel Pagan (47), does.
This is a club with no real weakness, although a slump to Posey would completely kill their offensive output. The back-end of the bullpen has been a bit shaky in recent weeks, which has prompted manager Bruce Bochy to handle the ninth inning on a case-by-case basis most nights depending on the matchups.
Start Times & Pitching Probables:
Thursday, 10:15 p.m. ET - Tommy Hanson (12-5, 4.27 ERA) vs. Barry Zito (9-8, 4.42 ERA)
Friday, 10:15 p.m. ET - Ben Sheets (4-3, 3.07 ERA) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (10-7, 2.85 ERA)
Saturday, 4:05 p.m. ET (FOX) - Mike Minor (6-10, 4.74 ERA) vs. Madison Bumgarner (14-7, 2.83 ERA)
Sunday, 8:05 p.m. ET (ESPN) - Tim Hudson (12-4, 3.69 ERA) vs. Tim Lincecum (7-13, 5.30 ERA)