The Giants went limping into the All-Star break last week, but they've come out sprinting in the second half. After sweeping the Astros at AT&T this weekend, the Giants moved back into sole possession of first place in the NL West.
|Lincecum Shut Down Houston|
This team certainly looked like a rested bunch for this weekends set, especially in the starting pitching department. They got terrific starts out of all three starters in the series, including a 7-inning, 2-hit victory by Madison Bumgarner Friday night, and a strong start by Matt Cain in the finale Sunday. Oddly enough, the most dominant outing came from the guy that absolutely needed to start the second half off strong, but didn't even factor in the decision (Tim Lincecum). Granted, it was against the Astros, hardly the most imposing lineup in the NL, Lincecum looked like a completely different pitcher than the guy who was knocked out in the 4th inning in Washington during his last start. The one big difference was his command of his fastball. When he's controlling that pitch, it makes all his other pitches so tough to handle, and he had uncanny control of it Saturday night. It wasn't overpowering, sitting in the low 90's, but it didn't have to be. He struck out 11 batters over 8 innings, and was focused all the way through that last out in the 8th. I've never seen a pitcher run down a passed ball third strike and gun the runner down like he did. That was reminiscent of an '09 Lincecum outing and was a real treat to watch. He didn't get the win, but the team did, and it was probably his best start of the season so he'll take it!
They picked a good weekend to be on their A-game too, because the starting pitchers didn't receive a ton of help from the offense. Buster Posey had the big 2-run shot Friday night as well as a 3-hit game Sunday, and
|Posey Leads Team in HR's|
Hector Sanchez made up for his defensive lapses with a 4-hit night Saturday. Other than that, it was an uneventful weekend with the bats. It goes to show you just how this pitching staff can carry this team when everyone's clicking. Santiago Casilla had a bit of hiccup on Saturday night, which cost Lincecum a victory, but it was more dumb luck than it was a bad outing. The one thing I'll be looking forward to is what Bochy does behind the plate with Tim Lincecum's starts moving forward. I like how Boch rolled with Sanchez again on Saturday night with Timmy, and if he thinks this team is better off having Sanchez catch both Lincecum and Zito, I'm all for it. Why not go with what works until it doesn't? The only thing I'd like to see in that case is Buster Posey playing a lot more first base. He's by far this team's best bat from the right side, and I just don't want to see him on the bench just for matchup purposes. If he needs a day off, give it to him, but Bochy has to be smart and choose wisely the times to rest him.
The Giants get the day off Monday before embarking on their next road trip starting off in Atlanta. Luckily they'll will be leaving San Francisco as the sole possessors of first place in the NL West, but only by a game over LA. The Dodgers are scuffling though, and this is another good chance for the Giants to create some space before Kemp and Eithier get back into rhythm.