It is tough to argue with, or nit-pick, a 6-1 week, which the Giants just pulled off, but it doesn’t feel like they played all that well. I think this is due to the fact that the way they won was decidedly out of character.
Perhaps the hangover from 2012 is this: the Giants don’t fear playing behind. Typically, you think of this team as one that has to get ahead early and protect leads. It’s not a team that appears designed to be able to come back.
But comeback they did, and they continue to do. Of course, some of that is due to very poor play on the part of the Cubs. Nonetheless, they swept a division rival and took 3 of 4 from a team they should take 3 of 4 from, regardless of how it is done.
Bottom line: 6-1 is a good week.
6-1 (9-4); 0.5 game lead in NL West
4-2 W vs. Col; 9-6 W vs. Col; 10-0 W vs. Col; 7-6 W @ CHC; 4-3 L @ CHC; 3-2 W @ CHC; 10-7 W @ CHC
Pitcher of the Week:
Come on down Barry Zito. Yahoo! Sports insinuated after Zito’s start against the Rockies that this is simply a contract year phenomenon, but Giants’ fans know Zito has pitched well at times, especially early in 2010 and late in 2012. It seems that he has finally make peace with his stuff, he is learning how to be a control artist, and most of all, he is comfortable with who he is as a pitcher. He will have some bad starts, he just walks too fine a line not too, but who in this rotation inspires as much confidence right now as Zito?
Hitter of the Week:
Zito! Just kidding, but the dude’s gotten just as much press this last week for his hot “hitting” as he has for his pitching.
How about that Nick Noonan. Here’s a guy a lot of us had pegged for opening day 2013 a few years back. Then he stalled out at AA and was forgotten in the wake of Gary Brown’s and Brandon Crawford’s and Joe Panik’s. But, again, a few years ago he was as legit a position prospect in the Giants’ system as anyone. He’s blocked by Scutaro for now and would probably struggle after the league gets a book on him, but he has such a nice swing, and he beat good pitches against the Cubs…that wasn’t a cheap 5 for 8!
Enigma of the Week:
Tim Lincecum had 2 bad innings. Taken together it looks like this: 2 IP, 9 ERs, 4 BB (including the opposing pitcher), 5 H (including 1 double and 2 home runs), 1 wild pitch, and 2 Ks. For those who like ratios that’s an ERA of 40.50 and a WHIP of 4.50. Not good.
The rest of those outings, though, look like this: 9 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 H (all singles), 0 WP, 9 Ks. That’s an ERA of 1.00 and a WHIP of 0.67.
So, what to make of all that? First, and this a duh observation, Lincecum needs to avoid the bad inning. Second, he is striking a lot of guys out, which means his stuff is still nasty. Third, and this is the most important, Lincecum needs to identify EARLY what is working and what is not. Yesterday both of the home runs came off poor change-ups. Lincecum can’t feel it out and ease in to what is on and what is off in a start anymore. He needs to know when the game starts what he has to work with.
To me, it seems to come down to concentration. When it’s there he is still a really good pitcher, when it is not, it is really ugly.
The Giants head to Milwaukee for 3, and then get 12 straight against division rivals San Diego and Arizona. I’d love to seem them stay hot, but clean up the starting pitching a bit and work from ahead instead of behind.