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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Offense Obsolete in Pittsburgh

The Giants did manage to score a couple of runs on Sunday to support Matt Cain's strong start and salvage their finale in Pittsburgh, but look no further than the offense as far as why the team lost this series.

In the first two games after the all-star break, the Giants mustered just 1 run on 12 hits in 23 innings of play (Friday nights game went 14 innings). So it's pretty easy to see why they lost the first two games of the second half, despite getting superb pitching performances out of Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum. Zito's start was especially intriguing because he had been coming off a horrible one, and his 5-9 record was starting to cause some chatter. His record did fall to 5-10, but he gave a quality effort, throwing 6 1/3 innings and allowing just 2 runs on 6 hits while striking out 4 batters. So yes, he did take another loss, but it was another loss in which he pitched well enough to win but got zero run support from the offense. Lincecum's start the night before was prototypical Lincecum. Dominating for 7 strong, striking out 10 batters and making only one mistake on the night, in which the newest Giants' killer to come along, Garrett Jones, hit over the center-field fence. With Randy Johnson on the shelf for for foreseeable future (a return before mid-August is looking less likely at this point), it's key that guys like Zito, Sanchez and Sadowski step up, and right now they're doing it.

They did their best, but the Pirates couldn't keep the Giants offense completely down all weekend. They did show up on Sunday (mainly just in the sixth inning) in order to support another brilliant outing from Matty Cain. Pablo Sandoval, Nate Schierholtz and John Bowker all had RBI's while Bengie Molina provided a 3-hit effort himself. One guy who didn't get a hit, and who's gone stone cold since the start of July is Aaron Rowand. The center fielders' success at the leadoff spot over the last 6-8 weeks has been a big reason why they've put themselves where they're at in the standings. Before Rowand moved to the leadoff spot, the Giants were hovering around .500, but after the move, Rowand took off, and so did the Giants offense. Now, I'm not blaming the icy second half start solely on Aarond Rowand, but it's apparent that the Giants need to have people at the top of the lineup that can jump start this offense and right now, Rowand is not doing so. I'm sure the Giants would love to see Randy Winn take off, and play himself back into the leadoff spot, but he's battling out of a long slump himself at the moment. The Giants are kind of an odd team in that they don't really have a prototypical leadoff guy, but in their type of offense and with their type of game plan, they really do need one. It may be time to give Fred Lewis a few starts to see if he's learned anything while riding the pine for the last 5 weeks? We'll see what Bochy comes up with if Rowands' average continues catapulting down, cause he's going to have to make a change.

GBB Notes
: It's been a while since we reviewed whats taking place in the minor leagues for the Giants. In June, we talked about the draft for the first couple of weeks and never did get to doing our Minor League report for that month, so we'll be taking an extra long look at the Giants farm teams in the next post, so stay tuned!
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Tony said…

    Yeah, the Giants leadoff hitters went 0 for 15 against the Pirates, and didn't get on base once. That makes it hard to score runs.

    These days I'd be happy with a leadoff hitter that would just take a few pitches.

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  • At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Rowand is tanking fast, but hopefully it's just a slump. Good to see Winn finally coming around.

  • At 11:16 PM, Blogger Jeff Oscodar said…

    OK, here a different viewpoint. I actually would go after Halliday and would give up prospects. AT&T is a pitchers park and you can therefore never have enough front line pitching. Lincecum, Haliday, Cain, Johnson (?) Zito, Sanchez is a lot of good starting pitching. I don't mind giving an unproven pitcher (Alderson or Bumgardner) for a proven star. Remember Kurt Ainsworth and Noah Lowry. I would also give up both those prospects to keep other teams like the Dodgers or Cards from getting him.

  • At 2:59 PM, Blogger Jeff Oscodar said…

    well ... maybe not BOTH, but you get the idea. Pack the rotation in a pitcher's park and buy a bat in free agency next year (e.g., Adrian Gonzalez)


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