With the way the Giants have been swinging, and their lack of right-handed bats, I was thinking Clayton Kershaw would mow down this lineup Tuesday night, but the Giants got to him early and Ryan Vogelsong delivered and made 2 runs hold up vs. the reigning Cy Young winner.
|Sanchez Making Progress|
The big blast came off the bat of Brett Pill, a guy I've been campaigning for getting some regular at-bats over at third in Panda's absence. Pill's obviously shown a knack for coming up with the big hit when his team needs it. He only has 37 at-bats on the year, but has 2 HR, 6 RBI and an .855 OPS. That's production the Giants could use on an everyday basis, the only question would be where to stick him. I don't mind giving him some looks at third, as I said, but one of the teams downfalls early on has been their defense, so Bochy is caught in somewhat of a rock between a hard place with Pill. Whether it's 2nd base, 3rd base or left field, I think this guy's proven enough in a short amount of at-bats that he needs to play. However, it'll be interesting to see how the playing time get's distributed with Aubrey Huff scheduled to return soon and Freddy Sanchez finally playing the field in a minor league game. Sanchez played 3rd base in an extended spring because he's still having trouble with cross the body throws. I love the idea of moving Sanchez over to third if that will get him up here. The Giants desperately need that right-handed bat, and without Panda, have a gaping hole over at third base which Sanchez could lock down until the big guy returns. That could also give Sanchez more time to build strength in his arm preparing him for his move back to 2nd upon Pablo's return. Now Freddy hasn't faced big league pitching in a year, so it may take him some time to get acclimated once he does get back, but the fact that he played the field without any set-backs Tuesday is a great sign for the Giants.
Tuesday was just a good day all around for the Giants, they beat Kershaw who had a ridiculous 6-1 record and 1.24 ERA vs. them heading into the game, but it really wasn't the offense that won this game. Pill came up with the huge blast early in the game, but it only netted the Giants two runs, and that's all they got. It took an outstanding effort on Ryan Vogelsong's behalf to out-pitch Kershaw and Vogey did just that. It's sort of
|Vogelsong Beats LA|
been sort a a tough start for Vogelsong in the since that he's gotten little to no run support in his starts and that was the case Tuesday, but the Giants gave him a couple runs early, which always takes some pressure off a starting pitcher. As a result of low run support, that was Vogey's first win of 2012, despite sporting a 2.94 ERA with 26 K's in 33 innings. The Giants have scored 15 runs through Vogelsong's first 5 starts of the year, which needs to improve. Vogelsong's a strong pitcher, but he's not Cain or Bumgarner and you can't really count on him going out there and pitching 8 innings of 1-run ball like Cain and Bumgarner have been doing. He is going to give you 6-7 innings of quality baseball though, and give the team a chance to win the game like he did Tuesday. After that start, the Giants now have 4 of their 5 starters with ERA's below 3, but are still just a .500 team, and a big reason for that has been the early struggles of Tim Lincecum who's the only starter without an ERA in the 2's and is still trying to get his feet under him here in 2012. The Giants are 2-4 in games their ace starts, and that has to improve for this squad to be clicking on all cylinders. I mean, typically for Timmy those numbers would be swapped and if that were the case, it would have the Giants 2 games above .500 and just 2 games behind LA despite all their early season injuries and spotty defense. Lincecum goes tonight vs. Chad Billingsley with a chance to give the Giants the series and get himself back on track and the Giants sorely need him to cash in on it.
The Giants did lose another player in Tuesday night's game to injury, and a guy who's been instrumental to the offense early on as Angel Pagan left the game with tightness in his hamstring. Both Pagan and Bochy said it's not serious, and should only keep the center fielder sidelined for a day or two, but that's certainly something to keep an eye on. Pagan had his 20-game hit streak snapped on Monday, but he's been quietly building up numbers after an extremely slow April which even sparked discussion of him being removed from the lineup all together. He's another switch hitter with some power and speed and the Giants need him healthy, so if they need to rest him 4 days to be on the cautious side, I say do it. No need rushing him back in early May at the risk of having him tear or further injure the hamstring and lose him for a couple of months, especially with the way the Giants are battling injuries early on.