Well, if you would have told me that the Giants would have gotten swept out of the gate in Arizona this season, lost their closer for the year with a torn elbow ligament, and are still playing without former all-star and batting champion, Freddy Sanchez, I'd expect something like a 4-9 start or something.
|Zito has another strong start|
Luckily for them, they've stayed strong as a team and thrived in the absence of their closer, as they got another decent outing from Barry Zito as he continues his attempt at a comeback season. Zito went 5.1 innings, allowing just 2 runs on 4 hits, though he did allow two long balls and walked 4 batters. He did a decent job though at getting himself out of trouble and kept the Giants in the game against the Mets top arm, Jonathan Niese. Say what you want about Santana, but fact is, he's nowhere near the arm that he was when he threw for Minnesota. I've actually watched Niese pitch a few different times this season already and he is the true ace of New York's staff, so another solid effort by the offense to be able to get to him early like they did. They did most their damage in the third inning, as Angel Pagan made his return to New York in fashion, going yard in the third to kick of the Giants scoring, followed by an RBI double from Buster Posey and a run scored on a wild pitch to give the Giants a 3 spot that they wouldn't give up until the 9th. Santiago Casilla's second save opportunity didn't go quite like his initial one, as he allowed a run on hit and a walk and failed to record an out in the 9th before giving way to Javier Lopez, then Sergio Romo. The Giants found out what it's like not to have a sure thing running out there in the 9th inning for the first time, and I'll say what I've been saying since the injury, I think they need to bring in a closer rather than rolling with Casilla/Lopez/Romo/Affeldt or whoever matches up well that particular night. They need a sure-fire 9th inning man, whether it's Heath Hembree or an arm from another team. I just think it's going to keep biting them in the rear, like it did Friday.
The Giants did manage to pull off the extra-inning win though, thanks to a big RBI single from young Hector Sanchez, as the kid continues to do good things with the bat. The rookie backstop had a 2-5 night with his 4th RBI of the season, raising his average to .300. Another thing I liked about this game is that we finally saw Buster over at first base, and I'd like to see more of Posey at first and Sanchez behind the plate if Sanchez keeps raking like he has. The Giants have only so many potential .300 hitters, and obviously, Sanchez is one of those guys, with plus power and is only 22 years-old. He's been a bit overshadowed by
|Hector Sanchez's Game-Winner|
Brandon Belt, as fans continue their outcry for more Belt, but I personally have been more impressed with what Sanchez has done on the young season than what Belt is doing at the plate right now. Just like last season, Belt had a scorching spring, but seems to have hit a wall here as soon as the team broke north. He's hitting below .100, and has basically played his way to the bottom of the bench. Huff and Pill look like they're going to get some looks here at first for a while as Nate Schierholtz has been hitting too well to remove from the lineup, especially vs. right-handed pitching. Belt's still a young kid, and has some time to develop and obviously has a bunch of tools, but he's not getting playing time, and when he is, he's not succeeding, which is basically stunting his growth. I think the Giants need to strongly consider sending him down to Fresno to work on things and get back to where he was towards the end of last season when he dominated AAA then finally started looking good at the big league level in September.