5-1 (44-34, 1.5 game lead in NL West)
9-2 L vs. Min; 5-1 W vs. Min; 2-1 W vs. Min; 4-3 W vs. Cle; 1-0 W vs. Cle; 3-1 W vs. Cle.
I went to the Giants game on Tuesday. It was the first time I’d been to AT&T since 2008 right before I moved to Boston. First time post-World Championship. It was great to spend the day in SF, to stroll around the ballpark, see the new plaques in the walk along right field, see the World Championship flag flying, watch the guys take BP. The weather was incredible. I’ve never been so warm at a night game in San Francisco.
Then the first inning happened. 8 runs. The Giants were coming off a sweep at the hands of the A’s. A 4 game losing streak was turning into 5. The Giants were falling out of first place. Fans booed MadBum. The Giants proceeded to “win” the rest of the game 2-1 and then burn off a five game winning streak of their own (scoring 15 runs in the process…yes, that is 3 runs per victory).
So what does all of this mean? The Giants are the worst offensive (or is that most offensive) team in the National League and yet are winning their division. It seems like there is no way they can keep that up. And yet, here they are. Best bullpen in the game right now, maybe one of the best ever. A group of starters that can shut any lineup down at any time. The Giants will hit the half-way mark in Chicago later this week…it’s been a great first half given all the adversity this team has had to face and yet you can’t help but wonder what it would be like to watch this team at full strength. There will be a trade, so be prepared…let’s hope it’s a smart one.
Hitter of the Week:
Let’s give it up for the catchers. Eli Whiteside tweaked his leg but over the last two weeks is hitting .286 with a home run and 5 RBI. When you adjust for Team that puts his WAR in Jose Bautista territory. Chris Stewart has not been as good, but when taken together they are at .256 with 3 runs, 1 HR, and 7 RBI over the last 14 days. Stewart has thrown out 6 of 10 basestealers and the pitchers seem to really love throwing to him (Timmy’s 12 k game, Cain gem on Saturday, and Bumgarner’s bounce back game last night). I’ll be honest, it’s super depressing that this has to be what we talk about in the hitter of the week section, and these guys are not going to make us miss Buster Posey any less, but I think we can admit that the catchers are not the most pressing issue in the lineup currently.
Pitcher of the Week:
Huge props to the Big Three (Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner) for turning in maybe their best starts of the year this week. Props as well to Ryan Vogelsong for continuing to do his thing. Brian Wilson also had a week of delicious awesomeness. But let’s tip our caps to two guys who can get lost in the shuffle: Guillermo Mota and Jeremy Affeldt. Mota hung 4 and 2/3 scoreless on the Twins in the wake of Bum’s day to forget and saved many arms. It’s arguable that the rest of the week does not go as well if he gets shelled too. Not a big believer in momentum, but I was not surprised to see the team bounce back so nicely in the rest of the series after that debacle…thank you Guillermo.
Affeldt was probably the best non-closer reliever in MLB in 2008-2009 with the Reds and Giants and then ran into injury and control issues last year. He lost his standing in the BP thanks to Romo and Lopez, but he seems to be regaining his form. If he gets back to the 08-09 level of dominance (and it sure looked like he was there last night: 2 innings and 5 ks for the save, and it looked like the Indians had no chance against him) then look out world: no team will have 5 relievers as good as Wilson/Romo/Lopez/Casilla/Affeldt. All are capable of getting strikeouts and ground balls in the right situation. Pure nasty.
Coming up: Day off Monday, double-header with the Cubs on Tuesday (including the return of Zito), 2 more in Chicago, and then on to Detroit for what should be another low scoring inter league match up. Go Giants!