Sunday, August 23, 2015

How to Win at Baseball

If baseball games were won on style points, the SF Giants would be returning from their road trip with at least five wins.  Unfortunately, the team that scores the most runs wins the game, and on that basis, the Giants went 2-5, winning one game in St. Louis out of three, and one out of four in Pittsburgh.

The last two in Pittsburgh were those style point victories, including Sunday's 5-2 loss.  The Giants did everything better but score runs, and not coincidentally, hit homers.  The Pirates again won with power on Sunday--dingers by Cutch and Alvarez.  But they need to be careful of relying on it too much--their baserunning was sloppy on Saturday, and their defense was sloppy on Sunday.

But if revenge for the Giants' victory in last year's Wild Card game that kept them out of the postseason was the motivation, the Pirates got it.  They've won the regular season series 6-1.  That alone might ensure they won't meet again in a wild card game this season.

In Sunday's game Ryan Vogelsong had a bad start, lasting only 3.5 innings after giving up 3 runs in the first.  Again the bullpen gave up solo homers, but again the biggest problem was the Giants inability to cash in runners.  For the Giants hit pretty well on this road trip and in this game, but not when it counted most.  Duffy had 3 hits Sunday, Crawford doubled deep, and Tomlinson, Aoki, Perez and Blanco hit.  Though Crawford was robbed of RBIs by his double bouncing into the stands, Buster Posey again went 0-5, as did Byrd.  Both left men on base.

The only saving grace is that the Dodgers lost 5 in a row, and SF actually picked up a game on the roadtrip.  But even now at home they will be tested: by the Cubs, who started their current torrid winning ways by dominating the Giants in Chicago,  and then the Cards.  The Cubs are so hot that they are locking up the second wild card, while Arizona and San Diego are moving closer to the second place Giants in the division.  As Bruce Bochy said before today's game, there's only one task to concentrate on for the rest of the schedule: win games.  And you do that (let's review) by...scoring the most runs in each one.  

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