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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Giants' Backs Against the Wall

The San Francisco Giants are not mathmatically eliminated from the postseason quite yet, but they have put their own backs against the wall with a pair of ugly series' vs. Cardinals and Rockies. Luckily, the Giants barely squeaked out a victory Wednesday to salvage the series in Colorodo, but for a team that had to have a good road trip heading into the final week of the season it has been a horrible trip so far. After losing the 2 games in St. Louis, for the Giants to roll into Colorodo and get smoked in the first two games just shows that they aren't quite a playoff team this year. Playoff teams turn it on at this point in the year when it counts the most, and the Giants blew it vs. a team that they very well should have swept. The Giants threw their best 3 starters at the Rockies and all 3 did terrible. Noah Lowry had his worst career start, Matt Cain had his first bad start in over a month and a half, and Jason Schmidt continued his tough second half with another bad outing Wednesday. Fortunetely, the Giants were able to pull out the game Wednesday thanks in big part to a Barry Bonds pinch hit RBI single in the 8th inning to put the Giants ahead. I know Coors field isn't the easiest place to play, but after getting swept in St. Louis, they showed no urgency whatsover. However, the team is still hanging on. With exactly 10 games to play, the Giants are currently 4 1/2 games back of the first place Dodgers in the NL West, and 4 back of the wild card leading Padres. That will change Wednesday night after the Dodgers and Padres both play their games. The struggles in the first two series' of the road trip now makes the 4 games set in Millwaukee a must win. The Giants need to either sweep or at least take 3 of 4 in Millwaukee or else there season will be done, no matter if they are still mathmatically in it or not. The Padres and Dodgers both have pretty easy weekend match-ups as well, so the Giants could get left in the don't get hot in a hurry.

The biggest let down over the last week of ugly baseball has been the starting pitching. None of the Giants 5 starters had good starts their last time out. As a matter of fact, all of them where downright bad. Jason Schmidt has not been the ace this teams needs over the last month especially, but really over the whole second half. He had a nice 10 strikout game against the Padres September 9th, but he's been getting hit a lot harder lately. Noah Lowry had a huge dropoff over his last 3 starts. He started out the second half really well, but once September hit, it looks like his arm has gone dead. He's givin up 20 runs on 23 hits over his last 10 2/3 innings pitched. It's kind of a mystery because Lowry's only pitched 147 innings this season, but it may be the toll from last seasons' 204 inning campaign catching up with him. I think the Giants will be very lucky if they get much more from Noah Lowry this season. However not all the blame can go towards the Giants starting pitching. The Defense has been pretty bad as well over the last month or so. Ray Durham has had a great year with the bat, but I hace seen countless routine balls bounce off of or out of his glove and all of them seem to come in crucial situations. A struggling staff and sketchy defense don't go well together, and thats why the Giants head into Millwaukee 1-4 on this current trip. The leadoff spot has also been a tough spot to get going over the last month or so. Randy Winn is really struggling and showing he may be another guy the Giants overpaid for. I don't think a .257 average and a .319 on base percentage is quite what the Giants had in mind when they gave him that lucritive 3 year contract. The best thing the Giants have going for them is the reamaining schedule with the final 3 games of the year coming in San Francisco vs. the Dodgers. Let's hope those games mean somehting.
The Giants Baseball Blog


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