For the past few weeks or so, the Giants starting pitching has been the subject of much criticism. The blame for the Giants' dismal 12-15 August record has been placed upon this quintet.
The hitting was doing fine: Sanchez, Sandoval, and Torres were heating up, and Guillen, Burrell, Huff, and Uribe were providing jolts of offense here and there. But on Monday, the hitting fell silent. The Giants managed to get just four hits, and nine different Giants struck out at least once.
Jonathan Sanchez pitched the Giants' second quality start in a row, going eight innings and giving up just one earned run, while striking out six. His control was spectacular (two walks). He came out to pitch the ninth, with a 1-0 lead, and promptly walked Dexter Fowler.
Bruce Bochy then put Wilson in the game. Carlos Gonzalez hit a fly ball that appeared to be playable by Cody Ross, but he took a quick first step, and failed to recover from it as the ball sailed over his head.
Fowler rounded the bases scoring easily, and Gonzalez dug for three. Ross relayed the ball to Freddy Sanchez, who threw a two-hopper to Pablo Sandoval. As Carlos Gonzalez was sliding into third, he slid into the ball, causing it to roll into the stands, and giving him a free pass home.
The Giants would not recover from the 2-1 deficit, although Posey smoked a ball back at the pitcher, and Huff hit a deep fly ball to the warning track in the bottom of the ninth.
The Giants just can't seem to get things going at the same time: when their pitching is great, their hitting fails to support it; and vice versa.
It's going to take a decent hot streak to get this Giants team back in the playoff race.
Tomorrow: Bumgarner will get the start. He should do fine. They'll face Esmil Rogers, whose ERA is 5.66; if the Giants lose this game...it's totally over. But they can't lose that game. There's no way they are that bad.
The big question is what Tim Lincecum does in his start against the Rockies. If Lincecum can't prove that he's capable of performing for this Giants' team, the Giants are skating on thin ice.
The facts are, though, that the Giants remain just 1.5 games back in the NL Wild Card. It's a completely manageable deficit. The Padres have lost five in a row, so now's where the Giants need to take advantage. They have all of the tools to succeed, they just need to get them all working at the same time.
There is still hope; but the Giants need to play like they did in July; not like they have played in August.
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