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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Giants Slowed Down In Milwaukee

After starting off the road trip by taking 3 of 4 in Chicago and winning in comeback fashion, the Giants came just short of pulling off two comeback wins in the first two games of their series with the Brewers.

In game one, the inevitable happened as Barry Zito came tumbling back to earth and his 16-start team winning streak came to an end as the Brewers really teed off on him. It was the worst I've seen Zito look since early last year as he just wasn't fooling anyone and didn't have his crisp command working for him but it was one game in a live yard and I'm confident he'll get back on track in his next outing back home. Ryan Vogelsong had the complete opposite luck in Wednesday's game, as the Brewers jumped him for 3 early runs, but he nailed down after to turn in a very solid effort. It's really been only one Brewer's hitter that the Giants haven't been able to figure out and that's been Yuniesky Betancourt. Had it not been for his grand slam in game one, then two-run job off the top of the wall in center in game two, we're likely looking at two Giants' victories. If you would have told me a Brewer would have 2 homers and 7 RBI in the first two games of this series, my money would have been firmly on Ryan Braun, but the scary thing is, he's really done nothing in the two games yet and is bound for a breakout in Thursday's finale.

If there is one positive to take into game three in Milwaukee, it's that the Giants have the confidence that they'll be in the game no matter what happens early on. They got behind by 6 on Tuesday and almost made the full comeback, then erased that early 3-run deficit vs. a Kyle Lohse that was very much on his game on Wednesday. Both Vogey and Lohse had off innings, but were dominant for the other 6 they worked, leaving it up to the bullpens. Typically, in a close, late game you like the Giants chances, but they're working without one of their best relievers in Jeremy Affeldt and they didn't help themselves as Brandon Crawford made a rare fielding mistake on a throw he shouldn't have made in that bottom of the ninth. On the other hand, Crawford was one of the main reasons the Giants were even in this game as he collected another multi-hit game and improved his hit-streak to a career-high 10 games. He's showing more power and has looked like a completely different hitter at the plate early on in 2013. You can see it in his body language it the plate and I'm now expecting good at-bats from him each time out.

Tuesday's loss can be attributed to an off night for Zito and his historic inabilities at Miller Park, but you can't really put Wednesday's loss on one guy. Santiago Casilla was the losing pitcher, and Crawford's errant throw helped set up the winning run at third with less than two outs, but the Giants did have some opportunities to move ahead in this game after they tied it in the 6th. Their offense has slowly been rounding into form, but they still aren't getting much from Buster Posey or Brandon Belt and until one of those guys gets going, they're going to have to continue to scrape for runs. On most nights, their defense and their pitching will come through for them, it's that offense that's going to be the question mark all season long, and they fell just short in a winnable game Wednesday!
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