Giants got a couple back against the Marlins, but the last one we should have won … and let get away. Josh Osich may just need a second after the week he had. Consecutive beanings of the same DBacks player the second of which led to a bench-clearing, followed by giving up the dinger that cost us the last game. Ouch.
Just a quick Reader this week to feature, as usual, a few good bits you may have missed. In the parlance of our times ICYMI:
John Shea has an excellent piece on early returns from the experiment of using the Starting Pitcher in the 8-spot (which we of course love so much here at GBC). It’s too early to say anything definitive, but I LOVE that Bochy is committed to a serious sample size. This early data will be immensely useful down the road.
And with Barry Lamar back in town with the Marlins, Gutierrez at ESPN wrote about it, thusly, but I really loved this moment: Bonds seems so relieved of bad and idiotic and rude and hateful press. It is nice to see him laugh … and to hear him brag about himself again!
After the come-from-behind victory in game one, the Giants were forced into another come-from-behind situation in game two, when Yusmeiro Petit was burned by Marlins bats for four runs in the first four frames.
In fact, the very first batter Petit faced, Christian Yelich, ripped a line drive home run. The day already felt long. But Petit evoked three consecutive fly balls for outs and looked for the most part, together.
In the bottom of the first, Pablo Sandoval not only extended his hitting streak to 7 games, but added an RBI, doubling in Pagan to tie the score, 1-1. But the Marlins bats went to work on Petit after that, culminating in the four-run 4th that chased him from the game.
To their credit the Giants clawed their way back and tied this one 5-5, But Santiago Casilla imploded in the top of the ninth allowing the Marlins to knock in two more for what would be the final score, 7-5, Marlins.
Miami got 14 hits and seven runs in this one. Beat us up. What is it with their bats and our park? Man, I hope we don’t see them in the playoffs.
After game two, the team, fans and broadcasters didn’t seem too concerned. After all, Petit was making an emergency start for the staff ace, Tim Hudson. He was chased, the Giants responded, and the bullpen was due, maybe even overdue, to blink, after weeks of successful shutdown work. So O.K. put it behind us, get a good night’s sleep and move on.
But then came last night’s 5-0 shutout loss for Tim Lincecum … featuring Brandon Hicks missing first base on a one-out double that had advanced Sanchez to third. Reviewed. Out. … Ugh. Oh, and a missed tag at the plate by Hector Sanchez added to the Giants woes.
Tim Lincecum had a quality start, went six and allowed just three runs, but the Giants couldn’t get anything going against the Marlins Tom Koehler. Rough outing.
Now the brows start furrowing, as the home stand is at 3-3, with today’s game being the difference between tying or losing the series to these Marlins in our park, again – and winning or losing the home stand.
Ryan Vogelsong goes for the Giants vs. Jacob Turner. Luckily Turner’s not great (0-1, 6.75ERA). But the bigger question is whether we can play sharp ball and defend against the Marlins bats that love AT&T Park.
When the Miami Marlins came to town last year with Matt Cain on the mound, my son and I took his grandmother visiting from India. Here they are after the game, and you can see the Marlins crushed us 7-2:
In fact, Miami historically score a lot of runs at AT&T and have forced the Giants to do the same to get their wins. So yesterday, after Matt Cain fell behind early 1-4, it looked like the same old script: Cain gets behind early, gets no run support, but settles in and quiets the opponent, scattering a few more hits, only to lose because the Giants can’t plate any runners.
Not this time. Even with Belt out, the Giants lineup looked daunting and filled with guys who have been hitting this year: Pence, Morse, Colvin, Posey … and even Sandoval, who entered the game with a slump-breaking six game hitting streak. It looked on paper like a lineup that could, possibly, maybe, finally produce run support for Cain.
Flashback for Perspective
Five years ago, in 2009, when the Giants at (79-66) were chasing the Rockies (82-64) and a shot at the Wild Card for the playoffs, we were within a game and a half with a three game series at AT&T on tap. A sweep would put the Giants in first, my favorite Giant, Matt Cain was on the mound, and it was as close as we had been all year. So I took my son (that little cute guy in the photo there) for his first night game.
Cain followed his incredibly consistent modus operandi: scattering five hits and four runs (via two homers) across six innings. The Giants had runners in scoring position in the 9th down 4-3 and Nate Schierholtz struck out to end the game. This was close as we would get to the playoffs … until the next year when we won it all. : )
But as we all know that game was not only typical of what happened to Matt Cain all that year long, it has continued to this day. The poor guy hasn’t had a win all season because the Giants sometimes can’t score even one bloody run for him.
I want to be honest … it physically hurts when I think what we have done to Matt Cain’s win-loss record. This guy should be HoF bound and may not make it on any ballot because of that win-loss record. That is why he is my favorite Giant … because I know I’m going to be spending the rest of my days arguing for his election to Cooperstown.
But unless you’re the New York Yankees, or now, the Dodgers or Angels, help for the batting order requires an incremental build up of bats over a few off-seasons. To his great credit, Giants GM Brian Sabean has worked at it: Fontenot and Ross during the season of 2010; Melky, Pagan and Blanco in the offseason and Scutaro and Pence during the season of 2012; and now Michael Morse – the biggest bat of all – in 2014.
Cost Effective? Shoot “Mr. CE” should be Sabean’s nickname. With two rings in four years, he has out-Moneyballed Billy Beane.
So last night, when the Giants bats fought back from a 1-4 deficit to take a 6-4 lead for Matt Cain, I almost wept … years in the making.
Hunter Pence was 3 for 5 and scored three runs. Michael Morse crushed an opposite field home run to right and Buster Posey drilled the go-ahead two-run double to give the Giants the lead they would never relinquish. Way to go Gerald! The increasingly impressive ‘pen did the rest.
And though he wasn’t as much of a factor, Pablo did extend his streak with a hit that advanced Hunter Pence to third and later in the game moved Posey there on a deep sac fly. Posey would score on a Morse single.
This was a significant come from behind win for the Giants.
I really should make mention of Pagan’s at-bat that may have saved this game … but instead I will let El Lefty Malo do it.
There were some negatives: Pablo had another errant throw. We got lucky a ball that hit Pence on the foot (which would have been an automatic out) went unobserved by the refs (and that there is as yet no replay). But all those fall under Category 4: Take Advantage of Others’ Mistakes.
As you must have read by now, staff ace Tim Hudson has been scratched tonight for a minor injury that is basically a “rest scratch” for the oldest guy on staff. Yusmeirio Petit will get his second emergency start of the season. He has been up and down and we are starting to develop a really team-oriented approach to the early season, so I LOVE this: keeping Petit from getting cold and resting the old guy with potential to get injured. It’s just like spelling Pagan and letting Blanco develop in case it has to happen more often. These are all moves that create a 25-man roster that can win any game, with any lineup.
I am starting to get really good feelings about this season. Yesterday, when Cain was down 1-4, for the first time this season, I broke out:
After I put it on, we swarmed back to win.
We have never lost the season or the World Series when either my son or I wear The Necklace every game day.