Madison Bumgarner provided one of his better starts of the season, but it still took the Giants 14 innings to take game one of their series in Milwaukee thanks to a tough defensive mistake. The normally sure-handed Brandon Crawford committed his 9th error on the season in the 8th inning, leading to a big blow that cost Bumgarner the win and a shot at a complete game.
|Bumgarner and Buster|
Brandon Crawford and Joaquin Arias each came up with crucial errors late in the game to help allow Milwaukee climb back from a 3-1 deficit. The Giants got on the board early with a big swing of the bat by Buster Posey, as their star backstop connected for his 5th home run of the season in the top of the first inning, giving MadBum some breathing room right off the bat. Bumgarner hasn't won since May 5th, but the left-hander went 7 2/3 strong, allowing 1 earned run on 5 hits while striking out 10. Unfortunately, Bumgarner was also charged with 2 unearned runs, which cost him a shot at his 6th win, when Ryan Braun hit a 2-run jack in the bottom of the 8th. Luckily for the Giants, their bullpen was up to the task Monday night and provided 6 scoreless innings of relief, capped off with Santiago Casilla's 2-inning finish to earn the win. Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt, Clay Hensley and Javier Lopez each had scoreless appearances as well. There were two things to like about this game; the late inning heroics and clutch hit by Hector Sanchez, a guy I continue to get more impressed with the more I see him, and also the way the team kept it together and held on after their defense almost cost it for them. The Giants have been walking a dangerous line with really poor infield defense all season long know, and it really got worse after Pablo Sandoval went down. These dumb errors have cost the Giants many of games so far, but they managed to play through the mistakes Monday, and that win gives me some inspiration that things are on the upswing.
However, if this team wants to create some separation between them and .500, they're going to have to make some improvements. It seems like this team has been playing really good ball of late, and yet they still sit just 2 games over .500 heading into play Tuesday. We mentioned one big reason for that in the last post, that being Tim Lincecum's early season struggles, but the other thing that's killed this team has been their inadequate defensive play. Surprisingly, this teams offense is scoring some runs. Melky Cabrera is a monster and Angel Pagan is starting to catch up. They've helped keep the offense afloat in absence of their slugging
|Sanchez Still Having Trouble|
third basemen, and had this team gotten consistent defensive play through the first 2 months of the season, they'd be sitting a lot prettier than 22-20 right now. I've never seen defense be such a problem for a Giants team in many seasons. They've taken steps at ensuring strong defense behind their excellent starting rotation over the years, and they've always played fundamentally sound ball up until this year. A big part of that has been the shuffling going on in the infield with Panda and Freddy Sanchez out. Not to mention, one of their prime middle infield backups signed in the offseason, Ryan Theriot, has also been on the DL for most of May. At some point, this team is going to have to make a move for some insurance at 2nd base. Arias is not the answer, Culberson is not ready and Manny Burris is not a starting caliber player. I still am very surprised they couldn't woo Orlando Hudson to come north and play for a winner after San Diego released him. I mentioned him in our last post and the more I look at potential targets coupled with the fact the Giants will have to deal more prospects, the more Hudson made sense for this team. They could have gotten him for nothing at all, and despite his slow start, he'd have been heads and shoulders above anyone else their currently trotting out to 2nd base and given them defensive stability up the middle.