Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Schzoid Giants

For the past four games the SF Giants are schzoid, and I'm afraid it might go on like that for awhile.

Two of those games were gutcheck victories.  Two of them the Giants were shut out, while their starting pitchers gave up just one and two runs respectively.

At the moment they are likely to be tied for first with L.A., but a continued drop down the division is not out of the question.  Both the Dodgers and the Rockies have played better than the Giants since the All-Star break.

The first of these four games looked like a sure loser--their fifth starter, Matt Cain, against the nearly perfect Steven Strasburg. But the Giants got to him and to the Nationals bull pen, with three extras by Eduardo Nunez (plus some much improved fielding) and three hits by Brandon Belt, including a homer.  Cain pitched strong though not very deep into the game.  The Giants won 7-1 and suddenly it looked like the bad days were over.  The game by Nunez made the Giants GM look good.

Then the next game in Washington, Madison Bumgarner pitched 8 innings, and gave up one run on a dinky homer that only would be a homer in Washington.  The Giants squandered chances and got nothing.  They lost 1-0 and the effort made some commentators question the team.

Then came the 14 inning, 5 plus hour game in Miami.  Cueuto wasn't sharp again, gave up back to back homers, the Giants fell behind but came roaring back, went ahead, fell behind, tied the game at 7.  And squandered chance after chance, runner on third less than two outs, bases loaded, whatever.  Until Brandon Crawford got his seventh hit of the night in the 14th.  The bull pen pitched magnificently, and Crawford's bat went to the Hall of Fame--he was only the 2nd National Leaguer in the modern era to get seven hits in a game.  The other was Pirates Rennie Stennet in a blowout in the 70s.  Crawford's hits came in a closely fought game in pressure situations.

So that had to be the game that turned it around, right?  It was just hours later than the Giants took the field again and squandered a three hitter by new Giants starter Matt Moore, his second quality start since becoming a Giant.  The Marlins got 7 innings of quality pitching from Koehler, their best starter recently, and their big star Stanton came through with a clutch if unusual hit in the first inning.  The bull pen, which after 14 innings would seem likely to be a weakness, performed well (including its latest addition, Jake Peavy)--the Marlins didn't score after the first.  But SF didn't score at all, again.  2-0.

It's a long season, and it's probably going to seem longer if it remains an inconsistent team that can't get all the elements of winning baseball together at the same time.

Things aren't any better for the Pirates--and it looks like one of the games I'm going to see in SF pits my two teams against each other--Giants v. Pirates.  It would be a lot more fun to anticipate if they were both going great.