|1:10 PM PT2:10 PM MT3:10 PM CT4:10 PM ET16:10 ET20:10 GMT4:10 1:10 PM MST3:10 PM EST3:40 PM VEN0:10 UAE (+1)3:10 PM CT, May 5, 2019
Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio Attendance: 23,654
Reds' Castillo, Giants' Samardzija face off in series finale
San Francisco Giants at Cincinnati Reds
- The Giants' bullpen has a 3.23 ERA this season, fourth best in MLB. Their relievers have a 2.78 ERA when entering with a lead, best in baseball.
- The Reds were shut out by Noah Syndergaard's complete game on Thursday, their eighth game this season scoring one or zero runs. Only the Marlins (12) and Giants (nine) have more such games this season.
- After losing the first two games of last season's series, Cincinnati won four straight against San Francisco. The Reds slugged .575 against the Giants last season, their best against any opponent.
- Brandon Belt has a career 1.057 OPS against the Reds, his best against any National League opponent. The only active players with a higher OPS against the Reds (minimum 150 plate appearances) are Carlos Gonzalez (1.061) and Albert Pujols (1.061).
- Yasiel Puig's .178 average is the third lowest in the National League among batting title qualifiers. The last player to hit as low in the first 30 games of his Reds career (minimum 100 plate appearances) was future Hall-of-Famer Johnny Bench (.167). Puig has played in 29 career games with the Reds.
- Cincinnati is hitting .207 this season while San Francisco is batting .214. Those rank 30th and 29th, respectively, in MLB. However, the Giants' ERA is 3.72 while the Reds' ERA is 3.21, which ranks fourth and first, respectively, in the National League.
- Mets trade candidate Wheeler lands on IL
- Crawford 8 RBIs, Giants rip Rockies 19-2
- Rays try to put dent in Yankees' lead
- Surging Braves visit struggling Brewers
- Cubs roll into home series against Reds
Veteran Jeff Samardzija gets the unenviable task of attempting to stall a rejuvenated Cincinnati Reds offensive attack when the visiting San Francisco Giants go for a second win in three tries in the high-scoring four-game series on Sunday afternoon.
The Reds were confounded by New York Mets pitchers Jason Vargas, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard for three straight days earlier this week, before once again finding a friendly foe in the Giants, who have had more than their fair share of problems in Cincinnati in recent years.
The Reds bombed Giants pitching for 11 runs Friday night and ripped five home runs as part of a nine-run attack on Saturday, but managed only a split in the two games when San Francisco rallied from eight down to win the series opener 12-11.
That loss snapped a seven-game Reds home winning streak against the Giants that dated back exactly three years. Cincinnati outscored San Francisco 58-15 in those games.
That dominance reached a 78-29 count after Saturday's assault, even if that win only served to get the Reds back on the winning track rather than add to a streak.
Rookie Nick Senzel contributed to Saturday's romp with his first major league homer. It came one day after he's recorded an infield single for his first big-league hit.
Promoted for the first time earlier this week, the 24-year-old prospect provided just the shot in the arm that the Reds had hoped when they selected Senzel to replace Matt Kemp on the roster.
"This is a team that doesn't need a savior; it could use a jolt," Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams noted earlier in the week. "We have really good offense. There are a bunch of guys on this team that will make it happen. Nick's going to slide right in there, play good defense in center, swing the bat."
Senzel will take his shots at arguably the Giants' best pitcher so far this season on Sunday.
Coming off a 1-5 season that had many Giants fans wanted Samardzija traded or just flat-out released, the 34-year-old has rebounded positively to a lesser workload this season.
Limited to 90 or fewer pitches in all six of his starts, Samardzija (2-1, 2.53 ERA) has been consistently effective, capped by five shutout innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers in his last start.
"The focus is on five really good innings," Samardzija has explained. "Anything beyond that is gravy."
The ex-Chicago Cub has faced the Reds 26 times in his career, 12 times as a starter. He has gone 3-5 with a 4.00 ERA in those games, including 2-4 with a 4.60 ERA in games at Cincinnati.
Samardzija not only will be up against a confident Reds lineup but also their hottest pitcher in right-hander Luis Castillo (3-1, 1.45).
The 26-year-old has allowed two or fewer runs in all seven of his starts, and has a positive history against the Giants, having beaten them with 6 2/3 strong innings last August in his only previous head-to-head meeting.
--Field Level Media
Updated May 5, 2019