SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- The series finale between the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants on Wednesday pits one starting pitcher hoping to extend his recent success against one coveting more run support.
Cincinnati right-hander Dan Straily (5-6, 4.01 ERA) will make his first career appearance at AT&T Park. He enters riding a string of three consecutive quality starts, and he hopes to help the visitors capture the three-game series.
San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner (10-5, 2.14 ERA) has similar impressive recent numbers (1.93 ERA over four starts), but is only 1-1 in that time because his teammates has scored only nine runs during that stretch.
The Reds (39-61) sit in last place in the National League Central, while the Giants (59-41) are atop the NL West. However, San Francisco is still trying to escape a post-All-Star break slump. With a 9-7 victory on Tuesday, the Giants won for only the second time in 10 games, and they hope to carry momentum into Wednesday's finale.
"We're still in July here," San Francisco right fielder Mac Williamson said. "We've still got all of August, all of September and a couple days in October. A lot can go down between now and then. We just need to keep our heads down, keep grinding away and playing. We can't look too far ahead. You can get in trouble. ...
"We play our game, do what we can do. We can only control on what we can do on the field and in this clubhouse, so that's what we're focused on."
Giants pitcher Matt Cain, who homered and got the win Tuesday, added, "We know the situation that was going on. We just need to keep building. We had a couple good games (and some) tough losses since the break. You're going to hit those patches, but just find a way to get out of them."
Opponents are hitting only .213 against Straily this year. In his career against the Giants, he is 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA in two starts. Straily threw 6 1/3 innings of three-run ball in a 7-4 win over San Francisco on May 4 in Cincinnati.
Straily allowed two runs on five hits and struck out eight over six innings during the Reds' 6-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in his last start on Friday. Cincinnati won three of Straily's past four starts.
Bumgarner is 3-1 with a 2.40 ERA in his last four starts against the Reds, though he hasn't faced them this year. He is 3-3 with a 4.33 ERA in seven outings against Cincinnati overall.
The Giants have won 13 of the left-hander's 21 starts this season. They came up short in his last outing, falling 3-2 to the Yankees in New York after Bumgarner allowed two runs in seven innings on Friday.
As a staff, San Francisco would like to stop allowing the long ball. Cincinnati struck for four more home runs Tuesday. The Giants have allowed 23 home runs in the 10 games since the break, 18 surrendered by starters.
"Some guys and some teams are just hitting home runs," Cain said. "We've just got to do a better job pitching to the end of the bat and the hands a bit more. It just seems like some guys are capitalizing on the long ball."