The Los Angeles Angels and San Francisco Giants will wrap up their four-game series on Thursday night. The Giants are hoping to secure a series win after winning on Tuesday and Wednesday while the Halos will look for the split.
With their back-to-back losses to the Giants, the Angels are approaching a danger zone. They’ve now lost six of their last seven games, and a loss on Thursday will put them ten games under .500.
The Halos entered the season with high hopes, only to fall flat on their face. Things don’t get any easier for them with their next seven games against Oakland and Houston, making Thursday’s game critical if the Angels stop the bleeding.
Meanwhile, things aren’t much better for the Giants despite winning back-to-back games. San Francisco is still the only team in the NL West with a losing record, putting them eight games off the division’s pace. Before beating the Angels on Tuesday, the Giants had lost five in a row, so they need to keep winning if they’re going to have any hope of making a playoff push during the second half of the season.
Put Some Gaus On It
The Giants will send Kevin Gausman to the mound on Thursday. The 29-year-old has been one of San Francisco’s more reliable starters this year. Over four starts and one relief outing, Gausman has posted a 4.21 ERA while striking out 34 in 25.2 innings of work.
He’s also faced some of the best lineups in baseball, pitching twice against the Dodgers, once against the A’s, and the Rockies. That being said, he’s yet to register a win this year.
On Thursday, Gausman will be facing one of the most disappointing lineups in baseball. Outside of Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon, most of the L.A. hitters have underperformed this year. Justin Upton has been a disaster while Shohei Ohtani is still hitting under .200.
The good news for the Angels is that both Trout and Rendon have hit Gausman hard in the past. The two are a combined 14 for 38 (.368) with four home runs against the San Francisco starter. However, the Angels will need help from other areas of the lineup to get a win.
The Angels will give 22-year-old Jose Suarez the start on Thursday. This will be the 2020 debut for the southpaw after he made 15 starts and four relief appearances for the Angels last year. Suarez was 2-6 with a 7.11 ERA.
Even worse, he seemed to struggle more during the second half of the season. Nevertheless, the Angels remain high on Suarez and hope he can be a shot in the arm for the back end of their starting rotation.
The Giants have been surprisingly decent offensively this year. Mike Yastrzemski has blossomed into a bonafide star. Veteran Donovan Solano has shocked the league by hitting .386 with an OPS of .952. Infielder Wilmer Flores has turned into a fruitful offseason signing, hitting .301 with five home runs.
Flores is historically potent against lefties, so he’ll be someone to watch closely against Suarez. Outfielder Austin Slater is in the same boat, as he has owned lefties this year. However, the San Francisco lineup is still lacking depth with many of the club’s veteran hitters no longer producing at the same level as past years.
They Might Be Giants
Picking games between two losing teams is always tricky. However, the Giants have a lot of momentum and will be facing a starter who’s unproven in the majors.
The Angels are struggling for answers these days, especially on the mound. With that in mind, bet on the Giants to win at home on Thursday.