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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Offense Carries Giants over Rockies

Well, the Giants starting pitching has been on a bit of a roller coaster ride lately, pitching beautifully against LA last weekend, but have struggled in the thin air in Colorado the last few nights.

Ryan Vogelsong struggled again in the opener on Monday, failing to get through the fifth inning again, and surrendering 5 runs to the Rockies. He was giving up hit after hit as he just didn't appear to have much life on his breaking pitches and change up. Madison Bumgarner followed up with a spotty outing himself in game two, but the offense, which came up just short of an impressive comeback Monday night, was up to task in Tuesday's game. Bumgarner gave up 5 runs and he too failed to get out of the fifth, but he helped himself out with a 3-run big fly that tied the game at 4. After that, the Giants offense really took over the ballgame. Angel Pagan had a big triple, Marco Scutaro continued his clutch hitting and Buster Posey reached base three times Tuesday, but the player of the game in this one had to be Brandon Belt. The 24 year-old first basemen had such an up-and-down first half that many Giants fans wondered if he'd ever get it going. Well wonder no more. The kid is hitting and he's hitting with confidence. It's nothing new, as he's been steadily building his average the last 6 weeks, but what I'm ecstatic about is the fact that he's hitting with punch again. He hit an RBI double out to the wall in left that even the steady-handed Carlos Gonzalez couldn't reel in. Then he hit a bomb later in the game that really helped put the icing on the cake (2nd home run in last 5 games), finishing with a career-high 4 RBI.

Contrary to his corner infield counterpart, Pablo Sandoval has fallen on some hard times and the Giants coaches are getting inpatient. Bruce Bochy, 'Bam Bam' Muellens and others met with Sandoval before Tuesday nights tilt in Colorado to discuss some potential changes in Pablo's approach at the plate. Ever since coming off the DL in early August, Panda has slugged under .300, which is way out of the norm for him. He just isn't hitting for much power, as evident in him being stuck on 8 home runs for two months now. The Giants coaches talked about shortening Panda's stride at the plate, and taking some swing out. I don't know how much of his current slump has to do with his conditioning, but it can't be helping. It's cost him some errors on defense, I know that much. He's still making most of the plays, but there are still those moments when he fumbles some of the easier ones. In the last couple games at Coors, he's bobbled a few easy grounders that ended up leading to unearned runs for Colorado and it really hurt the club on Monday (they ended up losing by 1). Bochy doesn't want to make any big moves just yet, but Panda was benched at the end of 2010 in similar circumstances, so he knows it's time to catch up or ride the pine.

So it's been a wild couple of games in Denver, much of what you'd expect from Coors Field, but the most important thing is the Giants are heading into the rubber match Wednesday with a season-high 6 game lead in the West after Arizona beat the Dodgers Tuesday. They have to like the pitching matchup they're getting tomorrow with Tim Lincecum going up against Jeff Francis. If Timmy keeps building off his recent success, he should be fine in this one. Plus with the wet, windy weather in Denver right now, 'The Freak' should feel right at home.
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4 Comments:

  • At 11:06 PM, Anonymous hitnrun said…

    Hard to believe that right now Zito and Lincecum are now pitching better than Vogelsong and Madbum. Since Bochy has so many arms in the pen, maybe he should consider an extra day off for the struggling pair and go with a bullpen game of Mota or Penny going long. Vogelsong and Bumgarner both look flat and spent, and so does Sandoval.

     
  • At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Who would hit third though if they took out the panda? Last time they had Melky, now they don't have many other good options.

     
  • At 8:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Magic number is 13. Check out app: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/baseballs-magic-numbers/id518587567?mt=8

     
  • At 2:18 PM, Anonymous Dante Rio said…

    I'm so happy for Brandon Belt. I remember around the deadline they were talking of packaging him in the Pence deal, but it's soo good they didn't. I really think he's going to be something. Great defense and really finding his way at the plate now. Kudos for the Giants for actually sticking with him!

     

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