For the first time in three weeks, the Giants received a much needed off-day Thursday after taking two of three from the Diamondbacks at AT&T Park. Needless to say, some of the players were running on fumes and looked it lately, so this day off couldn't have come at a better time.
|Cabrera up to .373|
The Giants got off to a good start in their series with Arizona, taking the first two games and holding the D-Backs offense to just 2 runs in 2 games. Then the much anticipated match-up of Tim Lincecum vs. Ian Kennedy
came around Wednesday, and the Giants bats were nowhere to be found. For the first time in almost a month, Lincecum pitched solidly, allowing just one earned run over 7 innings of work, but he did walk 5 batters and couldn't quite match the D-Backs ace. All the Giants hits came out of the top-5 slots in their lineup, and their problems with the bottom half of the lineup continue to bite them in the worst possible situations. Luckily for them, they may have found at least a short-term answer at 2nd base with Ryan Theriot. The Giants took him off the DL 5 days ago and he's raised his average 20 points since then. It doesn't hurt that Bochy has slotted him in between a few of the hottest hitters on the team in Melky Cabrera and Gregor Blanco. That should help him see some hittable pitches and he's a guy who can put the ball in play and allow Bochy to do hit and runs when Blanco gets on. Also, speaking of the "Melk Man", his average now sits at .373 after he set a Giants record for hits in a month during May with 50. Without a doubt, he gets my vote for player of the month for this team, and he has a real shot at winning that honor for the whole NL as well.
If only they could have worked around the Giant-killer, Paul Goldschmidt, the Giants may have been able to pull out the sweep. That's the only thing about Lincecum's performance Wednesday that had me scratching my head. Timmy threw very well, but Goldshmidt has owned Lincecum in his young career, with 4 of his 13 career HR's coming off the Giants ace. Low and behold, he was the guy to come up with the game changing swing of the bat vs. Lincecum. Still though, all in all, the Giants have to look at Lincecum's most recent start
|Vogey's ERA Now 2.31|
as a breath of fresh air after the way he struggled in May. His record has fallen to 2-6, but at least he got his ERA down out of the 6's and probably would have won the game had it not been for the swing of the bat from Goldschmidt. One guy who's gone in the opposite direction of Timmy lately has been the Giants veteran, Ryan Vogelsong. Vogey didn't get a decision in his start Tuesday, do to the Giants late victory, but he did a tremendous job maneuvering through 7 innings, and striking out 8 D-Back hitters. The 34 year-old has been so strong lately, that some believe he's become the best pure pitcher on the staff right now. Of course Cain and Bumgarner are doing their thing as well, and can't be discredited, but Vogelsong has been the one guy who's mirrored his performance week after week since coming off the DL. The Giants desperately needed someone to step up while Timmy was in a funk, and Vogelsong rose to that challenge. Now if they can get all five guys throwing well together, it would certainly spark this team.
Next up, after their off-day Thursday, they'll play host to the sputtering Chicago Cubs who enter the weekend set at 18-32 on the seasons. This match-up is another one that the Giants should be able to take care of business in, as they're playing much better than Chicago, have a better team and are playing host. This has sweep written all over it if you ask me, and that would put the Giants at 30-24 for the year if they can pull it off, a season-high 6 games above .500. With Sandoval on his way back, and the pitching really rounding into form, the time is know for the Giants to create some separation from the .500 mark. Also, for any of our weekend warriors who play in baseball leagues this summer, with summer kicking off, you can upgrade your game with fastpitch training
as well as AETC pitching machines
. I got back on the diamond last summer for the first time since high school, nearly a decade, and had a blast. If you get a chance to play in a rec league, I strongly suggest you take it.