PHOENIX — At the trade deadline, Arizona and San Francisco took separate paths toward their common goal — a berth in the National League playoffs.
The Diamondbacks added four players, including third baseman/shortstop Eduardo Escobar and veteran reliever and old friend setup man/closer Brad Ziegler. Also joining the team were power left-handed reliever Jake Diekman and long reliever Matt Andriese.
The Giants, who did much of their work last winter by adding big bats Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen, opted to stand pat with a group that is five games behind the crowded pack at the top of the NL West as they prepare for a four-game series in Arizona that begins Thursday.
“It’s not how good you are. It’s how well you play,” Giants executive vice president Brian Sabean told reporters as the deadline passed on Tuesday.
“Whatever team plays the best for the longest is going to win out at the end. I think we’ve got enough talent. We’ve got enough experience. We’ve got some youthful enthusiasm. We’ll take our chances.”
The Diamondbacks felt energized by the additions, especially in light of the fact that third baseman Jake Lamb suffered a shoulder injury last week that forced him onto the disabled list for the second time this season and cast doubt on his availability down the stretch.
Tests showed Lamb has fraying in his left rotator cuff, a situation that could require season-ending surgery. It will be Lamb’s call.
“I think it just says the organization wants to win,” said Arizona center fielder A.J. Pollock, who homered in a 6-0 victory over Texas on Tuesday that pushed the D-backs into first place in the division entering an off-day Wednesday.
“They believe in what we have going on here. We feel like we played really good baseball at the beginning of the year and for some reason couldn’t get that long streak going. But when they make moves like that, I think it gives a little bit of a boost. We feel like we have a really good club here. Hopefully we can get on a roll.”
Arizona has won four of five after losing a pair in Wrigley Field early last week, and the Giants will enter on a three-game winning streak after completing a sweep at San Diego on Tuesday, when McCutchen homered.
“We definitely have the tools here on the team we’ve got,” McCutchen told reporters. “We’ve just got to find a way to work together and win ballgames any way we can. We’ve just tread water. We’ve got to find a second push, man, and finish strong.”
Bumgarner, who was not activated until June 5 after suffering a fractured hand in spring training, has made quality starts in seven of his last eight appearances and in eight of his 10 this season. After losing his first two decisions, he is 3-2 with a 2.44 ERA and a .191 opponents’ batting average in seven starts, with 42 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings.
He faced Arizona in his first start of the season on June 5, giving up eight hits and two runs in six innings of a 3-2 loss at AT&T Park. Bumgarner has not gotten much support when facing the Diamondbacks. He was 0-3 with a 2.89 ERA in four starts against them in 2017 and is 9-11 with a 2.60 ERA in 31 career appearances against them. He is 6-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 17 games at Chase Field.
Greinke is on an extended roll, and the Giants have had trouble against him regardless of circumstance. Greinke has won his last seven decisions and nine of his last 10. He is 7-0 with a 1.53 ERA in his last eight starts, with 53 strikeouts and seven walks in 53 innings. He has given up two earned runs in his last 22 2/3 innings, during which he has dropped his ERA to a season-low 2.96. He is fifth in the league in ERA and fourth in WHIP (1.05).
Greinke had a season-high 13 strikeouts in a 6-1 victory over Colorado on July 22, when he mixed in 13 curveballs. Two were put in play weakly for outs, and he got four strikeouts with the pitch that was clocked between 65-71 mph.
“The results have been as good as you could hope for this year,” Greinke said of the curve. “It’s going to stop working I think any time now, I think, but as of now it is still working. It was good in 2004 and then it was bad in 2005. After people saw it, it stopped working. There is some confidence in it, because the results have been good. Try not to over-expose it.”
Greinke won his only start against the Giants this season, in April, and was 2-0 against them last season. He is 12-2 with a 2.31 ERA in 18 starts against them in his career. Greinke is 5-1 with a 2.39 ERA at home this season after going 13-1 at Chase Field in 2017.