Giants face Marlins seeking rebound

By Spencer Fordin

Perhaps the answer is on the road.

The Giants have lost 11 of their last 16 games, and they’ll head into Friday’s series opener against the Marlins looking for something to break their fall. San Francisco has lost three straight home series for the first time since 2008, and will have a 10-game road trip to put that trend squarely in the rearview mirror.

The Giants, embroiled in the league’s tightest division race, held a share of first place for 47 straight days. San Francisco has allowed (420) more runs than it has scored (407) this season, and the team’s most recent loss — a 9-2 decision against Pittsburgh — dropped the club a half-game behind first-place Arizona.

The most interesting thing about this series may be the history between the two sides. The Marlins and Giants haven’t met since the late-May series featuring a collision between Scott Cousins and Buster Posey that kicked off a firestorm, an incident that Florida catcher John Buck said nobody has forgotten.

posey aug 11 1
Florida Marlins’ Scott Cousins, top, collides with San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28)
on a fly ball from Emilio Bonifacio during the 12th inning of a baseball game in San Francisco,
Wednesday, May 25, 2011

“I’m sure it’s on their map,” said Buck of the league’s heightened awareness, “obviously since [the Giants] kind of caused a ruckus even after we left. I’m sure they’ll be keeping an eye on the games.”

San Francisco, strangely enough, is also involved in a weird extra-base streak. The Giants’ last 19 home runs have all been of the solo variety, setting a new franchise mark and tying the all-time league record. San Francisco’s previous high came in 1997, when the Giants hit 15 straight solo homers.

Florida will send Ricky Nolasco to the mound Friday, and the Giants will counter with Matt Cain. Nolasco is 2-3 with a 4.55 ERA since the All-Star break, and he’s managed to complete at least six innings in seven of his last nine starts. Nolasco is 2-4 with a 4.03 ERA at home and 6-4 with a 3.67 mark on the road.

Seven players on San Francisco’s roster have homered off Nolasco at some point in their career. Nolasco has allowed two earned runs or fewer in eight of his last nine starts. He allowed nine earned runs in the lone exception, and if you excise that start, his season ERA drops a half-run (from 3.86 to 3.36).

Cain, meanwhile, has been one of the league’s most consistent pitchers and ranks in the top 10 in opponents’ batting average (.222), innings pitched (159) and ERA (3.00). The former first-round Draft pick has thrown 18 quality starts this season, and the Giants have posted a 14-10 record when he starts.

The Giants, who still have four players — Pat Burrell, Posey, Freddy Sanchez and Miguel Tejada — on the disabled list, posted a 13-13 record in April and winning marks in May, June and July.

Giants: Cabrera brings solid glove

Shortstop Orlando Cabrera was never expected to be an offensive savior when he arrived at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. He was just supposed to field his position. Cabrera, batting .244 (10-for-41) since the trade, has mostly done that, making just one error in his first 11 games with the Giants.

Marlins: Bonifacio crossing the plate

Emilio Bonifacio has scored 21 times in 25 games since the All-Star break, which ranks him third in the National League and fourth in the Majors. The utility man is batting .307 with a .388 on-base percentage in 51 games as Florida’s leadoff hitter, and he’s a .333 hitter the first time he faces a starting pitcher.

Worth noting

Both teams will have a day off Thursday. … The Giants tied a record set by the 1914 Philadelphia Phillies, who also hit 19 consecutive solo home runs. … San Francisco’s run total (407) is the lowest among all NL teams. … The Giants are 28-15 in one-run games and 13-9 in two-run games. … Former Marlins outfielder Cody Ross, the reigning Most Valuable Player of the NLCS, will make his first return to South Florida.

See Related: Giants Archive

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