After struggling in the opener of this three-game set, it's safe to say the San Francisco Giants haven't enjoyed their recent visits to Great American Ball Park. With Pablo Sandoval on the verge of matching the franchise's longest hitting streak to open a season, the Giants try to avoid a seventh consecutive road loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night. San Francisco, which had won five of six entering Tuesday, saw its recent struggles in Cincinnati (8-9) continue with a 9-2 defeat. Matt Cain allowed three runs over 6 1-3 innings before Dan Otero was tagged for six over the seventh and eighth.
Sandoval has hit safely in all 17 games - breaking Willie Mays' San Francisco record to begin a season - and can tie Johnny Rucker of the 1945 New York Giants for the longest opening run in franchise history with another one Wednesday. The Giants, though, could have a hard time getting things going against Arroyo. The 35-year-old is 1-0 with a 2.91 ERA through his first three turns in the rotation - his lowest career mark through three starts to open a season. The soft-throwing right-hander earned his first victory Thursday at St. Louis. He gave up a three-run homer to Matt Holliday - one of just five hits - over a season-high eight frames and struck out five in a 6-3 win.
Arroyo will be opposed by Barry Zito (1-0, 1.71 ERA), who after mostly cruising through his first two starts, labored over five innings of Friday's 4-3, 10-inning victory at New York. He surrendered a pair of solo homers and walked three, throwing 100 pitches. Zito is 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA over five starts in Cincinnati since joining San Francisco in 2007. He faces a Reds team averaging 5.8 runs during a 4-1 stretch.
While we'd love to ride the success of Arroyo as he has shown the first signs of consistency relatively early this season, he can just as easily falter into a funk. The Giants have been able to put some decent collective offense together this season, highlighted by the promising starts of Sandoval, Buster Posey (.373) and Nate Schierholtz (.340) who have all hit 3 HR apiece so far. The confines of the Great American Ballpark have been historically friendly especially when the ball is carrying. Joey Votto has just one homer and is of fto a slow start hitting .276, but Jay Bruce and Ryan Ludwick have hopefully given new light to this struggling offense. We love the price here and will hope both offenses can get things back in gear. Best of luck however you play!