Thursday, July 02, 2015

On the Road: Woe and Flow

The Marlins swept their three game series with the visiting Giants, and the only team more surprised at that than the Giants would be the Marlins.  A bottomfeeder this year, reeling from organizational woes, the Marlins probably did not expect to even win the series at home against the world champs.

But Justin Bohr, who the rest of the league has "figured out," beat them three times with homers, two of them with two on base.  These constitute a third of his year to date total (he had six, now he has nine.)  His walk-off was the stunner.  With the Giants leading by two runs in the last of the ninth and their closer on the mound, the first two hitters reached base and he promptly homered.  It was all over in minutes.  Before that, the Marlins had committed three errors and didn't seem to be in the same league as the Giants.

Thursday Matt Cain returned to the mound, and so did the Marlin's young ace, Jose Fernandez.  Cain was reportedly pretty sharp for four innings but lost it in the fifth, when Fernandez homered and Bohr hit another three run dinger.  Fernandez had a better first outing, going a strong six, as well as homering.

What hurts the most is that these were supposed to be the gimme games.  The tough ones are ahead, with the strong Washington Nationals.  And the Giants will start off with another season debut by an injured pitcher, Jake Peavy.  The Giants kept the Marlins from scoring after the fifth mostly because of pitcher George Kontos.  But he's unlikely to be available for long relief if Peavy gets in trouble or tires early.  Apparently the Giants will also be going to a different closer, as manager Bochy diagnosed closer Casilla's problems Wednesday as arm fatigue.

Stuff like walkoff losses and a closer losing a game happen during the course of any season.  But it should also motivate being smarter.  If the rest of the league had figured out Bohr, and he hit his three homers on pretty much the same pitch in the same location, shouldn't the coaches take notice and figure out what they missed?  Same with Casilla's arm.

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Pirates went to Detroit and swept that three game series.  The first they won with grit, the other two with power.  Neil Walker hit two homers in the middle game.  They got great pitching, especially from Liriano today.

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