The Giants have used the "small ball" formula for much of their offensive success this season, but they had a power outburst in the most unlikely of all places, lighting up Petco Park this week to take 2 of 3 from the reeling Padres.
|Blanco Goes Deep Twice in SD|
The Giants connected for 37 hits in the three-game set, including 5 big flies, which is normally about a seasons worth of home runs for them at Petco Park. This week, the air was thin down south though, and one guy who really took advantage of that was Gregor Blanco, who went deep twice in the series after connecting for just one in his previous 130 at-bats in 2012. It wasn't just the long ball that Blanco was supplying either, as the leadoff man went 7-15 with 5 extra-base hits vs. San Diego. He narrowly missed a two-homer game in the rubber match Thursday, as he knocked one off the wall in deep center after going yard earlier in the afternoon, but Gregor Blanco did a bit of everything in this series, and showed you exactly why he's the ideal leadoff hitter and helping catalyze this offense. Speaking of offensive catalysts, the Giants have sort of stumbled upon another diamond in the rough in Ryan Theriot, who like Blanco has hit his way into a regular role with this team. Theriot has been the hottest hitter in baseball since coming off the DL and has raised his average from .183 up to .286 over the last 10 days. He too had an incredible showing in San Diego, as the Giants top of the order really got things going for them and helped them score early and often. In the win Thursday, Buster Posey and Angel Pagan, two other studs who could be on their way to the all-star game each had 2-hits and a home run. The Giants used the long ball to support Matt Cain, who didn't quite have his best stuff Thursday, but thanks to the offensive support, hiked his record up to staff leading 7-2.
Madison Bumgarner won Wednesday's game in much of the same fashion as Cain did Thursday. He didn't have his best outing on the year, but thanks to early offensive support, he was able to pull out his second consecutive victory. Unfortunately the same can't be said for Timmy Lincecum's start in the opener Tuesday. I was so wrapped up in the draft the last few days, that I didn't get a chance to write about Lincecum's
|Pablo Ready to Return|
outing Tuesday, but once again the ace was plagued by the big inning. It seems like Lincecum's gotten into a pattern of pitching very good baseball each start, except for one bad inning which ends up biting him in the rear. He gave up 4 runs in the 2nd inning Tuesday, then locked in for the remaining 4 innings of his start and looked like two completely different pitchers in one ballgame. On a positive note, his last two starts have been indicators that he's on the mend as they've clearly been his two best since April. This weekend, he won't get much of a break going up against the powerhouse Texas Rangers, which will be a nice test, and also a chance to gain some confidence back with a win. The Giants also announced Wednesday that they expect the return of Pablo Sandoval to come after the weekend, as they've tentatively set his return date for Tuesday vs. Houston. Panda started his rehab assignment down in San Jose and went deep in his first game. The Giants think the wrist is physically ready now, but they want Pablo to try and get back into game shape over the weekend as he's apparently added a few extra pounds while recovering.
The Giants also saw the return of their closer Thursday, as Casilla closed out the series clinching victory after Sergio Romo was perfect in his place. Romo's performance Wednesday was especially admirable, as the right-hander tweaked his knee while warming up, added a knee brace, and proceeded to shut down San Diego on two faulty knees. After the game the guy was covered in ice with a pack on his shoulder, elbow and both knees. Hopefully with Casilla returning, it will take some pressure off Romo and give Bochy a few days to rest him. With B-Weez already down for the count, the last thing this team needs is something happening to their most important bullpen arm.