After seeing a 6-0 lead evaporate in Atlanta on Monday night behind Matt Cain, the Giants were determined to not let another winnable game slip away Tuesday. Fortunately this time they got a strong outing out of Jake Peavy, as well as a huge Hunter Pence 3-run blast to avoid another late letdown.
For fans who were wondering why the Giants were so adamant about adding a starting pitcher before the deadline, they got their answer on Monday night. With the amount of time he's missed and questions still surrounding that flexor-tendon in his right forearm, Matt Cain has sort of become the big question mark in the Giants rotation. Tim Lincecum is shelved for the foreseeable future and Tim Hudson was ousted from the rotation after the Mike Leake acquisition so Cain has all the sudden been put under a microscope. He's made 6 starts now since his return, so we have a pretty good idea of what he's going to present down the stretch. He's rocking a 2-2 record with a 4.91 ERA, a 1.45 WHIP and a .303 BAA. Those aren't very Cain-like numbers at all, as he's always been a guy to post respectable peripheral numbers despite his win totals throughout his career. However, his stamina just doesn't seem to be there, as he's yet to go more than 6 innings in a start, and is coming off back-to-back starts in which he's allowed 18 hits and 8 ER over just 11 innings of work. Before the Leake trade I just don't think they have the confidence in Cain to throw him out there in a playoff scenario, and now they don't necessarily have to.
|Peavy: 6 IP, 1 ER, 8 K's vs. ATL|
Bruce Bochy, Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans are really banking on at least one of the Cain/Peavy duo to contribute something in the second half, and so far it seems like Jake Peavy is going to be that guy. He turned in one of his better outings of the 2015 season, going 6 strong, limiting the Braves to just 1 run on 5 hits and struck out a season-high 8 batters while walking just 1. Unfortunately, thanks to rare lead cough-up by George Kontos, Peavy wasn't able to factor into the decision but did lower his season ERA and WHIP to 3.75 and 1.19, respectively. I think he's clearly placed himself ahead of Cain in the rotation and probably would get a playoff start if the Giants are indeed able to reach October and prevail beyond a possible Wild Card bout. Obviously you have MadBum as the ace and now Leake as your number two, then after that they'd probably go Peavy in game three then either MadBum again in game 4 if it's win or go home or rookie, Chris Heston, if it isn't. First of all, the Giants need to make the playoffs though and plenty can change down the stretch as there are still 8 solid weeks of baseball left, but the former "Horse" of this staff would be appear to be the odd man out come October.
Now, switching gears to the offensive side of things, aside from that pitching meltdown on Monday in Atlanta, the Giants have continued their solid play since the All-Star break and a big reason because of it has been the offense. I mean, this Giants' offense has become one of my favorite bunches of all time just because of their ability to beat you in multiple ways, the home-grown core and the power potential each guy carries after Aoki in that lineup... The two guys, in my mind, that have set this lineup apart from others though have been Brandon Crawford (and his power surge), and the emergence of Matt Duffy. I feel like we're getting what we expected to out of Posey, Belt, Pence and maybe a little more than expected out of Aoki and Panik. Crawford and Duffy, however, have fully surpassed everybody's expectations, even their own.
|Crawford leads SF with 18 HR|
BCraw has always had sneaky power in that bat but this year it's shown up with consistency, and was huge in a lineup that was void of Hunter Pence for about 2 months of the season. And of course, Duffy saved the day after the Casey McGehee fiasco didn't work out and has turned out to be even better at the hot corner than even his predecessor of years before in Pablo Sandoval. I mean, remember when we all were sort of panicking on who was going to be the Giants third basemen if Pablo left them high and dry, then it actually happened? 8 months later and I don't think the Giants could have asked for a better scenario. Not only are they not on the hook for the overweight, underachieving Sandoval for the next handful of years at $18M per, but they've replaced him with a guy who's already a better all-around player right now and it probably won't even be close in another 3 years. Now, Pablo was a postseaon machine and who knows if Duffy has that same ability one the big stage, but the Giants' brass should be thanking their lucky stars that "Fat Panda" chose the "greener pastures" in Boston!