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Monday, September 03, 2012

Comeback Success Continues

The Giants just finished a road trip in which they were the comeback kings, and they've brought that magic back to AT&T Park.

After getting down in numerous games on the road last week, the Giants still managed to have a 5-1 trip, which tells you a few things. First off, they have some swagger right now offensively. They know they aren't out of any game because of their ability to string together hits. They aren't really doing it with the long ball, but they're actually hitting with runners in scoring position right now, something that eluded them early in the season. A big reason why they were able to pull out the victory on Labor Day was because the middle of their order produced like the Giants were envisioning when they brought in Hunter Pence. The new right fielder is starting to swing the bat a little better (over .300 in his last 18 games), and in turn, it's giving the guys in front of him some much better pitches to hit. This was fully evident in the Giants 9th inning comeback Monday as J.J. Putz refused to walk Buster Posey with first base open and Buster ended up tying the game with a double down the left field line. Pence launched a 2-run triple off the wall in right center earlier in the game and it put AZ pitching on notice. It's no coincidence that Posey and Panda have been heating up again since Pence has started hitting.

Another thing this late-inning comeback success has shown is the solid relief pitching the Giants have been getting lately. Unfortunately, Monday's game wasn't a great example of that, as Guillermo Mota gave up 3 runs in relief of Barry Zito, but after that, they tightened up nicely. We saw the pen come through numerous times on the recent road trip, including 2 double-play grounders induced by Javier Lopez to end games in crucial spots and terrific pitching out of the new set-up man, Santiago Casilla. Since Casilla was ousted from his closing duties, he's pretty much swapped roles with Sergio Romo, and he's done an excellent job setting up. I thought the Giants bridge from the starters to the closer would take a hit with Romo and Lopez being used largely in closing situations, but that just hasn't been the case. I'm still no fan of the closer-by-committee set-up Boch is running, but he obviously has a handle on it. Plus, I think we're starting to see Romo kind of take over the role as the season goes. Lopez is still brought in to get through tough lefties, but #54 is the guy I expect to see out there in most save situations going forward.

There were a lot of other small things done Monday to enable the Giants to pull out the victory, from Brett Pill's perfect sacrifice, to Marco Scutaro's clutch hitting, and you can just see the confidence in this team right now. Even the September call-ups appear to have grasped it. Speaking of which, I know it's just been one inning, but I was very impressed by Jean Machi's stuff Monday afternoon. He looks like a legit late-inning guy with that heavy fastball and nasty split.
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  • At 7:01 PM, Anonymous Bleacher Bum said…

    Great game! I'm seeing a lot of 2010 fight in this teaM!

  • At 11:31 PM, Anonymous hitnrun said…

    The Giants are hitting much better with RISP because the lineup looks much more balanced one thru eight. Scutaro has been a godsend in the number 2 hole, and with Belt, Pence, Arias, Sanchez and even Crawford all getting good looks at the plate the results are showing. Bochy has finally realized that you have to win with offense and if you cannot have home runs, you have to have threats for hits at the plate. Hopefully we have seen the last of the Burriss, Whiteside, Christian, six thru eight rally killing slots wasted on guys who absolutely cannot hit to save their lives.

  • At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Why did they just call up Runzler. Isn't he the lefty that can't throw a strike. I thought he was having a terrible year in AAA so why even bother bringing him up? Should have brought Embree instead.

  • At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Kevin W. said…

    He's all they have left to bring up...

  • At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Devin Asada said…

    I hate losing to the D-Bags. The G's better have another comeback in them tonight or else.....


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