San Francisco Giants: 5 Ways to Prevent New York Yankees From Reaching Postseason
San Francisco Giants Can Play Spoiler One More Time
The San Francisco Giants thrived in the role of spoiler last weekend against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, winning three of four in the series and staving off their eventual clinching on the National League Western Division. This weekend in the Brox, San Francisco will have another opportunity to send hopeful fans home disappointed.
The New York Yankees are 3.5 games out of the second spot for an AL Wild Card spot behind the Tampa Bay Rays. In order to keep pace with their division rivals, the Yankees will most likely need a sweep of the reigning World Series Champions this weekend. The Giants, however, have several factors leaning toward their advantage.
Friday's match-up between former Cy Young winners proves the Giants as a favorite for the series opener. The Giants can virtually knock the Bronx Bombers out of postseason contention with a win on Friday. As well, the Giants have several players who have been performing superbly, and will arrive at Yankee Stadium with the will to ensure a pinstripe-less postseason.
The Giants will show up with the mindset of "if we can't get into the postseason, no one can." This weekend will be their last opportunity to spoil another team's season.
5. Tim Lincecum vs. C.C. Sabathia
Friday's series-opening pitching matchup between the San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees sees a distinct advantage for the reigning World Series champions. Two former Cy Young winners face off in Tim Lincecum and C.C. Sabathia, but only one has been in form. Lincecum is 4-0 over his last five starts with a 3.77 ERA, averaging just over six innings pitched and five strikeouts per outing. Sabathia has been struggling and is coming off a bad outing against the Red Sox in which he allowed five earned runs in six innings.
The Yankees need a win on Friday to keep pace with five other teams vying for the AL Wild Card. Lincecum can start the series off with a serious setback for the Yanks.
4. Yusmeiro Petit Continues To Shine
The Giants' starter for Sunday's game in the Bronx, Yusmeiro Petit, has been on a tear for San Francisco. He is 4-0 over his last five starts, posting a 3.03 ERA while walking nine and striking out 31. He's been a blessing for the Giants' bruised rotation and can be a definite factor in preventing the Yankees from reaching the postseason.
Andy Pettitte will face Petit on Sunday, and it will the left-hander's final start of his career. Pettitte will be fired up in front of the home crowd, but the circumstances call for a perfect opportunity to spoil the party at Yankee Stadium.
3. Hunter Pence's Remarkable September
Hunter Pence is one of the hottest hitters in baseball during the month of September, and his hot streak could spill over into this weekend's series. In 18 games since Sept. 1, Pence is hitting .373 with nine home runs and 26 RBIs. His OPS is an alarming 1.298. He needs to drive in eight more runs in the next nine games to tie Jeff Kent for the most RBIs by a Giant in a calendar month (34 in both June 2000 and Aug. 2002).
With the way balls fly out of Yankee Stadium, look for his power surge to continue as he plays not only for pride, but for a lucrative contract in the offseason.
2. Yankees Get Caught Up In Ceremonies
There will quite a bit of pomp and circumstance before Sunday's contest, as Mariano Rivera will be honored by the Yankees for his illustrious career with "Mariano Rivera Day" at Yankee Stadium. This is perfect opportunity for the Giants to jump out early while the Yankees are still a bit teary-eyed from the ceremony. Plus, Andy Pettitte will be making the final start of his career. The Yankees might get a bit distracted from the game early on, leaving the door open for the Giants to spoil their postseason odds.
1. Brandon Belt & Short Right Field At Yankee Stadium
Right field at Yankee Stadium is one easiest porches to hit a home run in all of baseball. Lefty Brandon Belt will surely be aiming to pull during the three-game series, especially after being robbed several times by the deep fences at Citi Field this past week. Belt has hit only one home run in the month of September, so he'll be trying to boost that stat categories with a couple of round-trippers during his first career appearance at Yankee Stadium.
Belt is the Giants' secret weapon this weekend. He knows the right field fence is merely a three-quarter swing away from a home run. As long as he doesn't try too hard, he'll make his mark against the Yankees, and possibly be the prime suspect in spoiling the Yankees' 2013 season.