The Giants continued their strong play of late, winning 13 of their last 20 games, with a game one victory over the reeling Chicago Cubs. I said in our last post that this is a series the Giants should be able to sweep this three-game set, and they certainly got off on the right foot.
|Casilla Hurt Friday Night|
Madison Bumgarner, who was the Giants' pitcher of the month in April, had a hard time finding victories in May, collecting just one. However, he showed up Friday night at Wrigley in complete focus mode, striking out a season-high 11 batters over 8 terrific innings of work. The Giants ace lefty did not walk a single Cubs hitter, and allowed just 2 runs over the 8 innings before yielding to Santiago Casilla and Javier Lopez in the 9th. After winning 5 straight games from April 12th through May 5th, Bumgarner had gone win-less in his last 4 starts before Friday's gem. The win raised his record to 6-4 and dropped his ERA down to 3.04. The biggest surprise to come out of Friday's game for me was that Casilla failed to nail down a save for only the second time this season after hurting himself on Darwin Barney's base hit. I've raved here about the huge success Casilla's had in the closer role, and even with his hiccup Friday night, he still is sitting pretty with 14 out of 15 saves converted and a ridiculously low 1.54 ERA. Hopefully it was just a precautionary relief move as the Giants really need Casilla out there. He's been dominant as a Giant, rocking a 1.95 ERA in 2010, then dropping it to 1.74 last season and this year has it falling even further. His strikeout rate isn't through the roof, but he's efficient, and to have 14 saves on June 1st, when you weren't even the teams closer to begin the year, is pretty impressive stuff. Also, the guy who's taken over Casilla's previous role, Clay Hensley, hasn't missed a beat as he's been nearly as impressive as the Giants closer with a 1.77 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. I still think the Giants pen will need another reinforcement at some point, but they've been the glue to this teams latest win streak.
Now in Saturday's game, Matt Cain will try and continue his hot streak and match Bumgarner in the win column with 6, but it won't be an easy task going up against Matt Garza. Luckily for Cain though, the Giants' bats have been up to the task lately, with just about everyone in that lineup contributing on some front. The team got some very good news as well this weekend, as they expect Pablo Sandoval to go out on a
|Panda Back on Field Rehabbing|
rehab assignment next week with a target return date as soon as June 10th. I can only hope guys like Melky Cabrera, Buster Posey and Angel Pagan keep hitting like they've been once the Panda does return, because if they do, I don't think this team will have any issues with their offense. They've found a solid leadoff man in Gregor Blanco, and now they look to have at least temporarily solved the 2nd base problem with a healthy Ryan Theriot who's done nothing but rake since he coming off the DL. He's done a nice job in that 2-hole and I'm going to be curious to see what Bochy does with the lineup when Sandoval does return. After Cabrera has gone crazy at the plate and raised his averaged to .370 from the 3-spot, I doubt Boch will want to move him out of there. That was Sandoval's spot before he went down, so things could be in flux a little bit. My guess is they move Panda to cleanup, Posey down to the 5th spot and Angel Pagan up to the 2-hole or into the 6th hole. Either way, the Giants are going to be looking at a much more complete lineup card in the next week or two.
Well, I wasn't even aware at the time I wrote this piece, but apparently Pablo Sandoval has been brought up as a person of interest in a sexual assault case in Santa Cruz County regarding an incident at a hotel Friday morning. Pablo has cooperated with authorities and answered all questions, and according to the Giants Press Release, is still on target to start his rehab assignment this weekend. Still, this is disturbing news to come out and it surrounds the last possible guy you'd think would be caught up in something like this. I've met Panda a few times at team events, and I've never seen him without a smile and treating everyone well. Hopefully this turns out to be a big misunderstanding, but even if that is the case, this news still drags the third baseman's name through the mud... Also, the injury to Santiago Casilla is in his right knee and he's going to have an MRI. The Giants are hoping he'll avoid a DL stint, but with a short pen already, it may be inevitable. Tough news coming out of San Francisco Saturday and just when the team appears to be getting on a role!