In a series that many baseball people were calling a potential NLCS Preview, the Giants certainly didn't look the part in their matchup with the East-leading Washington Nationals.
|Even Cain couldn't beat the Nats|
The Giants were blown out in the first two games of the series, then had a late 5-1 lead in Thursday's finale that they coughed up. The pitching in Washington was just brutal all series, outside of Matt Cain's first 6 innings on Thursday. Tim Lincecum started things off in Tuesday's rainy mess by taking a huge step backward after a couple consecutive promising starts, and that really set the tone for the series. The Giants looked lost at the plate and especially out on the mound. The starters, Lincecum and Bumgarner really were responisble for letting Washington get out to huge leads early on in Tuesday and Wednesday's game, but Matt Cain did a pretty good job of giving the bullpen some rest and giving the team a quality outing Thursday, only to see it wasted by the bullpen. Jeremy Affeldt got knocked around in relief of Cain, but Sergio Romo managed to come in and have a quiet 8th to get the Giants to the ninth with the lead. Santiago Casilla wasn't as lucky, giving up 2 runs in the bottom of the ninth and coughing up save number 4 on the year, and watching his ERA climb up to 2.84 and WHIP to 1.33. Those numbers don't sound that bad, but when you look at how Casilla's fallen off the last few weeks from where he was in April/May, you get the feeling the Giants may be looking to make a move there.
With the All-Star break coming up Monday, this isn't exactly how the Giants wanted the sun to set on their first half, especially after their surge in late June, and now they get another first place team as they travel to Pittsburgh for the weekend set. These bad outings in Washington could push Brian Sabean into 2nd gear in his search for upgrades to the bullpen, which was physically taxed in this series. Not only that, but the pen is
|Blanco's average falls to .253|
starting to get stretched a little thin and it seems like every reliever's performance has suffered lately (besides the amazing Romo). Also, with the trade Deadline coming up a few weeks after the All-Star game, the time for the Giants to act, if they're going to make a move, is approaching quickly. I haven't heard too many promising bullpen arms linked to SF yet, but I'd imagine Sabean will be looking for late relievers, possibly even a closer. Andrew Baggarly reported yesterday that the Giants could inquire about Shane Victorino, but I don't think this team needs another light hitting switch-hitter. If they're going to add a bat, it should be one they need, and not another leadoff type hitter. Granted, Gregor Blanco has struggled lately, but they still have a few guys they could leadoff if it comes down to it (Pagan would be my first choice).
In some roster news, the Giants officially announced that Freddie Sanchez would be undergoing surgery on his back which will end any chance of him returning in 2012. It looks like his career in SF may be finished as he's a free agent after the season. With that now becoming official, I'm curious to see if the Giants don't try and upgrade 2nd base too. Not that Ryan Theriot has been bad, but I just don't see him holding up through the rest of the year. Also, down south, the Dodgers got some more bad news on the injury front as bright young shortstop Dee Gordon has joined Matt Kemp and Andre Eithier on the DL. The Dodgers have had some rough luck on the injury front early, yet the Giants are again looking up at them in first place. The break can't come quick enough for the Giants right now!