The Arizona Diamondbacks return from the All-Star break and travel to San Francisco for a three-game series against the Giants from July 19-21.
The D-backs currently sit atop the National League West with a 2.5 game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants trail the Snakes by 6.5 games.
With the trade deadline just two weeks away, this could be a make or break series for the Giants. A D-backs sweep could put the Giants in “sell” mode, but a Giants sweep or series win could get them right back into the playoff picture.
Struggling pitcher Ian Kennedy will take the hill on Friday opposite right-hander Chad Gaudin.
The D-backs’ right-hander has had just three quality starts in his last eight outings and has not won since June 1. He has given up 10 runs in his last two starts and has an ERA of 5.42 on the season.
Gaudin began the season in the bullpen, but has been in the rotation since the beginning of June. He has only given up 10 earned runs in the six games he has started, winning three of those decisions.
Saturday’s matchup will feature southpaw Wade Miley (6-7, 4.01) against right-hander Matt Cain (5-6, 5.06).
Both pitchers were All-Stars in 2012, but each have been struggling to find consistency this season.
Miley has very quietly been one of the D-backs’ better pitchers of late.
In Miley’s last three starts, he has only given up four runs in 21.1 innings with two quality starts. His ERA is sitting at 4.01, which is an entire run down from the 5.01 mark he had on May 31.
The D-backs have won three of Miley’s last five starts.
Cain is coming off one of the worst stretches of his career. He did not even last an inning in a 7-2 defeat to the New York Mets last Thursday.
The right-hander also got lit up by the Dodgers in his start prior to last week, when he gave up eight runs in 2.1 innings.
In three starts this season against the D-backs, Cain has given up eight runs in 19 innings with 22 strikeouts.
On Sunday, the Giants will run out left-hander Madison Bumgarner, who is fresh off his All-Star appearance.
Bumgarner is 10-5 with a 3.02 ERA and has a run of quality starts in six straight games.
The southpaw has pitched very well against the D-backs, giving up just four runs in three starts this season.
Righty Randall Delgado will get the call for Arizona against Bumgarner.
Delgado has five quality starts out of the six games, and he has been fairly reliable despite posting a 1-3 record.
The Giants have won six of the nine games the teams have played this year.
After the D-backs’ weekend in San Francisco, they will return to Chase Field for a seven-game home stand that includes dates with the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres.