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Monday, June 22, 2009

Giants Back on Track, Sweep Texas

The Giants reverted to their early-season form during their previous series with the Angels, but definitely got back on track vs. Texas over the weekend. The Giants swept the Rangers and put themselves back atop in the NL Wild Card standings.

The Giants received some rock-solid pitching over the 3-game set with Texas and got just enough hitting to make that pitching stand-up. The two starting performances that really stood out were Matt Cain's 8 inning, 3 hit, 1 run, 9 strikeout performance Saturday, followed by Barry Zito's 7 inning, 2 earned run, 8 strikeout performance. Unfortunately, as was the case in so many of his starts over the last 2 seasons, the Giants offense couldn't come up with enough support to supply Cain with the victory, although they did end up winning the ballgame.

It wasn't just the starters who carried the team this weekend though, the relievers played a big part as well. The Giants bully provided 8 1/3 innings of scoreless relief this weekend, with set-up man Sergio Romo reeling in a couple of victories. Romo has picked up right were he left off last season after missing the first 2 months of the year with injury, but return to the bullpen has really solidified things. And after Bobby Howry's scoreless inning on Sunday, the Giants have gotten all their relievers era's under 4. I know bullpens aren't as exciting to discuss and don't ever really get the credit they deserve, but the Giants' bully has been as key to their success as any other area on the team, and it may actually be their strength.

The pitching staff shined for them this weekend, but the Giants also had some hitters come through with clutch hits. Randy Winn, who has really been struggling lately, showed up in a big way late in Sundays' game. He provided a 2-out, go ahead RBI single in the bottom of the seventh, immediately after the Rangers had broken Barry Zito's no-hit bid and shut-out by tying the game in the top of the inning.

Other than Winn, it was all about Aaron Rowand and Pablo Sandoval, as it has been for most of June. Rowand 6 for 12 over the weekend, with 2 jacks, 5 runs and 2 RBI's. Sandoval had another 5-hit weekend, and although he didn't drive in any runs, he raised his average to a season-high .338. Both Sandoval and Rowand have really been the key cogs in the Giants offense over the month of June, and both may just find themselves on the NL all-star team because of it. Outside of a couple of Mets in David Wright and Carlos Beltran, there aren't any third basemen or centerfielders in the NL that are having a better all-around years than Sandoval and Rowand. Rowand has been a force on defense as well. After his sub-par 2008 season, I think a lot of people wrote him off as another free-agent bust, but it's safe to say he's earning his money this time around. And while he isn't your prototypical lead-off guy, I think he's found his niche there with this team.
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3 Comments:

  • At 11:47 PM, Anonymous Jason Billingsley said…

    Yeah, the Giants Bullpen leads the NL in era I believe. I think I heard Krukow mention that the other night. What a change from the last couple of years. I don't remember them being this good since the days of Robb Nen actually!

     
  • At 6:10 PM, Blogger Trevor said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At 6:11 PM, Blogger Trevor said…

    Well, Sabean had ignored the bullpen for years, then he added Affeldt and Howry this winter, and it really eased the load on everyone else. I agree, this is the best I've seen the Giants pen since 2002.

     

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