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Showing posts from September, 2012

Lincecum Mediocre in Final Tune-Up

Although these last 6 games haven't meant a whole lot since the team clinched last weekend, one of the issues the Giants are still figuring out is what exactly will be their playoff rotation. The guy who's been penciled in to start game two of the NLDS may not have the stronghold on that spot after his last two outings. The great success that Tim Lincecum was having throughout most of the second half of the season has sort of disappeared over his last two starts, as he was rocked by Arizona in San Francisco in the final home series of the regular season, then got lit up by the Padres at Petco Park on Sunday. Timmy actually didn't throw too badly in his latest start, but he did make a few mistakes that Padres' hitters did not miss. Lincecum allowed just 7 base-runners in 6 innings of work, but he gave up three long-balls. It wasn't as bad as his last outing in San Francisco, but it likely wasn't exactly how 'The Freak' wanted to go into the postseason.

Cain Gets Giants Refocused

The Giants fell into a mini two-game losing streak after defeating the Padres and clinching their spot atop the NL West Saturday, but Matt Cain got the group refocused Wednesday night. After kind of a let down start by Tim Lincecum in Tuesday nights game, Cainer put the Giants back in winning mode with 7 strong innings of 4 hit ball and 6 strikeouts vs. the D-Backs. Cain and Lincecum are expected to start games one and two of the NLDS and this was likely each guys last start of the regular season and it was the polar opposite for each right-hander. Lincecum went just 4 innings, walking 4 batters and giving up 7 runs. The best part of that game for Timmy was it's the last he'll see Paul Goldschmidt in 2012! As bad as Lincecum was Tuesday though, Cainer made pretty much everyone forget about it Wednesday with his 16th win of the season. The man expected to take the ball in game one showed exactly why Wednesday night and he had the Giants again looking like the NL West's eli

Giants Work Not Done Yet

The Giants completed phase one of their goal Saturday night at AT&T Park, but it's hardly time to start celebrating just yet. San Francisco clinched the NL West with their win over San Diego Saturday, and have reserved their spot in the postseason with 10 days still left in the season. Their wins over the last few weeks have been almost identical as they've been getting their vintage starting efforts, and have the offense locked into a pretty good groove. After the outing Ryan Vogelsong had Friday, his first solid outing in 6 weeks, you kind of got the feeling the Giants were going to seal it up this weekend. Madison Bumgarner followed up Vogey's gem with a solid, yet unspectacular outing, but did more than enough on the mound and at the plate to help lead the Giants. Once again, Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro set the table beautifully at the top of the lineup, and Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt had the hot bats in the middle of the order. Speaking of Belt and Pence, th

Giants Taking Advantage of Schedule

We all knew that down the stretch the Giants had a much easier schedule than the Dodgers, but they had to take advantage of it. They've done that and more as their magic number in the West has shrunk to 5 heading into play Thursday. A friendly schedule down the stretch doesn't always translate into easy victories, but Bruce Bochy has kept his team sharp. San Francisco's played magnificent baseball the last few weeks, as they've lost just one series in September, and really should have the division locked up by the end of the weekend if things keep going they way they have been. With a 9 game lead and just 13 games left on the schedule, it would take a historic meltdown for the Giants to lose this division, and that just isn't going to happen. They absolutely shut down the potent Colorado offense the last couple of nights at AT&T Park, and have the shot at a 4-game sweep Thursday afternoon. Just as I suspected, the starting pitching has again hit it's strid

Vogelsong Losing Grip on Postseason Spot

The Giants had to be pleased with the way their road trip was going heading into Sunday's finale in Arizona. However, Ryan Voglsong was the one guy who couldn't get going this week and it cost the team two games. After a really exceptional game on Saturday night, the Giants couldn't carry it over to Sunday's get away game vs. the D-Backs. Ryan Vogelsong's struggles carried into a 7th consecutive start, as the right-hander managed to strike out 5 of the first 6 outs he recorded, but his pitch count again hiked up over 60 by the third inning and finished up at 88 in 3.1 innings. Again, the 33 year-old again hit a wall right around the 50-60 pitch plateau and it's been the same thing that's been haunting him in his recent starts. He looks crisp to start games, with his fastball in the low-90's with movement, but after he gets into his stretch, it's a whole other story. His ERA is now up over 10 in his last 7 starts, and it this point, with only a coup

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 th

Pence, Posey and Zito Beat LA

This was the biggest series of the year in terms of momentum in the NL West, and with 21 games left, the LA may want to start thinking about a wild card spot! It seems like the mega-deal that netted LA Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett has sparked the Giants more than it did the Dodgers. San Francisco got their first look at the new Dodgers this weekend, including Josh Beckett on Friday night, and showed they weren't the least bit impressed. They hit a bit of an offensive wall Saturday afternoon, and never got anything going, but they looked like a team prime for a big postseason run in the opener and the finale. One of the things I thought was key to this series was that the Giants starting pitching, which had been stumbling a bit lately, had to get back on track, and that they did. They got a big outing from the guy they're hoping returns to ace-like form out of Tim Lincecum Friday night. Timmy walked 7 batters in 6 1/3 innings of work, which typically would have led to an e

Giants Need Starters to Rebound vs. LA

Ever since the tail end of their last homestand, the Giants starting pitching has really run into some difficulties. With a huge series vs. LA this weekend, they'll need those struggles to end ASAP. Before that series with the Braves a few weeks ago, seemingly every Giants starter was taking the ball into the 7th or 8th inning, and giving their team an excellent shot at controlling the game. However, since they went out of their last road trip, that pattern has come to a halt. Ryan Vogelsong has been having the most trouble lately, as 4 of his last 5 starts have been down significantly from his performance through July. The 33 year-old right-hander was leading the NL in ERA on July 29th with a 2.22 mark, and he was in the midst of 16 straight quality starts. Since that date however, risen up over a point to 3.29, and he has recorded just 2 quality starts over 7 outings. It's not just Vogey either though. Madison Bumgarner has lost his last three starts, including the finale v

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 G

Giants Start September With a Win

After looking like a team that had a long flight between a night/day game overlap, the Giants got some sleep Friday night and righted the ship Saturday. Friday's game was pretty forgettable in every way, from Madison Bumgarner's start, to the lowly offensive output. Luckily the Giants got some help from Arizona who held off the Dodgers in 11 innings, enabling the Giants to keep their 4.5 game lead. On Saturday, the Giants have put the pressure on LA early, beating Chicago 5-2 and forcing the Dodgers to win Saturday night in order to avoid falling 5.5 games back. San Francisco only really needed one big inning to make up for Friday's letdown, as they jumped all over the Cubs in the very first inning. Hector Sanchez got an RBI by taking a bases loaded fastball off his jersey for a hits batsmen, then the Giants got the big hit they were hoping they'd get out their newest call-up. Xavier Nady was called up prior to the game, and Bruce Bochy said he's leaning towards u