The streaking San Francisco Giants will aim to continue their surge up the National League West standings when they visit the suddenly slumping Cincinnati Reds on Monday in the opener of a four-game series
The Giants enter having won five straight after completing a three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates with an 8-4 victory on Sunday. They have passed the Arizona Diamondbacks and moved into second place in the division behind the Los Angeles Dodgers
Cincinnati marks the second stop on San Francisco's season-high, 11-game, four-city road trip.
"I think that we probably looked at this stretch of the season in March and April as a time that was going to be crucial for us," Giants starting pitcher Alex Cobb said. "Now when we're here and in that moment, we know that we need to show up and really not take any of these series lightly and take care of business because we have a really tough schedule in August
"We're going to need to make a statement coming out of the break this year."
The Giants will send Logan Webb (8-7, 3.14 ERA) to the mound to make his 20th start of the season. The right-hander has made five quality starts and earned four wins in his past six outings, contributing to San Francisco's rise
In his latest start, Webb recorded his first career shutout, striking out 10 and holding the Colorado Rockies to seven hits in a 1-0 San Francisco win on July 9.
In three career games (two starts) against the Reds, Webb is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA, allowing no earned runs, and one unearned run, across 13 innings
The Reds will counter with left-hander Brandon Williamson (1-2, 5.21). The rookie is making his 11th start for Cincinnati and his first against San Francisco
In his latest outing, on July 6 at Washington, he returned for the third inning after a 1-hour, 43-minute delay. He allowed just one hit and struck out four over three scoreless innings before being removed from the game.
Two starts prior, he also was the victim of bad weather, lasting only two-plus innings due to a 1-hour, 44-minute delay in Baltimore.
Williamson is looking for his first win since beating the Kansas City Royals on June 13.
The Reds were one of the hottest offensive teams in baseball over the course of their 12-game winning streak in June and as they won nine of their last 12 games before the All-Star break
The Milwaukee Brewers slowed that momentum, though, shutting out the Reds on Friday and Saturday before completing the sweep with a 4-3 win on Sunday. Milwaukee defeated Cincinnati in five of the teams' six meetings on either side of the break
Losers of four straight, the Reds enter the series against the Giants having scored only three runs in their past four contests while falling two games behind the first-place Brewers in the NL Central
Reds manager David Bell showed off his frustration on Sunday when he was ejected in the second inning for arguing with home plate umpire Edwin Jimenez after Spencer Steer struck out looking
It was the fifth ejection for Bell this season.
"You just move on," Bell said. "Obviously, that was a tough series and they played us tough back in Milwaukee. You keep it just to what it is. You can't make too much of it. It was a tough series. They played great. We struggled this weekend. There's no question about that. We got a long way to go.
"And we've been good offensively all year. We will get back on track. Just scoring a run, I mean, after a few games, it can feel like a really long time. So getting back on the board was great. And so there's definitely some signs."
--Field Level Media