If the San Francisco Giants are to maintain their momentum from before the All-Star break, they’ll need to avoid their longest road losing streak in over 15 years.
The Giants try to record their first win away from home in nearly a month Friday night when they open this three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
San Francisco (46-43) followed a seven-game slide by winning four of five before the break. The Giants had no trouble sweeping three straight from lowly Philadelphia, batting .426 and outscoring the Phillies 27-9, including Sunday’s 4-2 victory.
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"I thought it was important for us to build some momentum," manager Bruce Bochy told the team’s official website. "I thought it was critical to get back on track, play some good ball and stay in the hunt. … We’re not where we want to be, obviously, but you want to hang in there."
Bochy’s team is second in the NL West, 4 1/2 games back of Los Angeles. That deficit would be smaller if San Francisco hadn’t dropped seven straight road games after winning 21 of its first 35. A 6.43 ERA during that skid has been the biggest issue, though the offense hasn’t helped much either, averaging 2.7 runs per game.
The Giants haven’t lost eight straight away from home since May 12-20, 2000.
While San Francisco hasn’t officially named a starter for Friday, Matt Cain (1-1, 4.09 ERA) is likely to get his third start after sitting out a year because of elbow surgery.
The right-hander struggled in his season debut at Miami on July 2, giving up five runs and two homers with four walks in five innings of a 5-4 loss. He bounced back five days later by yielding two hits with seven strikeouts in six innings of a 3-0 win over the New York Mets.
Cain is 2-0 with a 2.79 ERA over his last five starts at Arizona.
He should have a red-hot Buster Posey behind the plate. Posey is hitting .442 with 13 RBIs in his last 14 games after going 8 for 13 in the past three, and is a lifetime .336 hitter at Chase Field.
The Giants took two of three at Arizona to start the season from April 6-8 but they’ve lost six of the next seven at home.
The Diamondbacks (42-45) entered the break with three straight losses to the Mets after finally getting back to .500 with a win over Texas on July 8.
They hit .174 and scored seven runs against the Mets but manager Chip Hale feels his team can bounce back.
"It’s so easy to fall into that trap of feeling sorry for yourself, and they haven’t done that at all," he said. "That’s one thing about this club that we’re hoping is going to be the rest of the way. We’ve been able to sort of separate good series from bad series. We’ve already proven that."
Robbie Ray (3-4, 2.16) make his first appearance against the Giants, looking to win back-to-back starts for the first time.
The left-hander ended his three-game slide by allowing two unearned runs in 7 2-3 innings of a 4-2 win at Texas on July 7.
He’s lost his last two home starts with a 5.40 ERA.
Arizona is expected to have outfielder Ender Inciarte back from a strained right hamstring.
Inciarte, who hasn’t played since June 15, went 8 for 25 with a homer in seven games during a rehab stint in the minors.
All-Star Paul Goldschmidt is batting .406 (13 for 32) during a nine-game hitting streak against the Giants.