Friday, May 29, 2009

2009 Giants are 23-23:: Dealing with the Cards

Next up for the Giants are the St. Louis Cardinal's.   Coming off a 3 games sweep of the previously hot Braves and winners of 4 of 5, they take on the Cards, who has gone on a nice win streak lately, which probably coincides with their ace, Chris Carpenter, coming back and dominating.

Game 1:  Matt Cain vs. Joel Pineiro

Appears to be our best chance of winning a game in this series, where we miss the Cards two worst starters, Lohse and Wellemeyer and thus face their three best starters;  unfortunately, we were suppose to face Lohse on Friday but he had a sore arm, so everyone got moved up.   Cain should match up well against Pineiro, who is pitching better than he has in years, so there should be some regression to the mean for him sooner or later.  Basically even, but Cain should win most battles between them, right now.

Game 2:  Barry Zito vs. Chris Carpenter

Carpenter has been totally dominating in the 4 games he has started, and there is no reason to believe that it would be any different against the Giants.  Thus, while Barry has been pitching really well himself, I don't see much chance of the Giants winning this game unless Carpenter gets a midnight wakeup call and can't fall back asleep, making him groggy during the game.  If Lohse's arm didn't force skipping his start, Zito would have faced Pineiro instead, against whom he would have had an even chance of beating, but he's going to have to be at his best to keep up with Carpenter.

Game 3:  Jonathan Sanchez vs. Adam Wainwright

Adam Wainwright has raised his game up another notch this season and unless Sanchez can pitch his A-game, the Giants most probably will lose this game as well.  He did well his last outing, but I wouldn't hold my breath, he's been so inconsistent this year so far.  However, it was around this time last year that he figured things out and started dominating for a long while.  Hopefully he can do likewise this season.

Giants Thoughts

Giants are facing the team with the second best record in the majors right now, who  have won 7 out of their last 10 games.  The good news is that they are only 11-10 away from home, which gives some hope that we can win this series.  But it looks rather unlikely at the moment, given the pitching we will be facing.

However, a number of Giants hitters have been hot for the past 2-3 weeks - Ishikawa, Burriss, Rowand, Winn - and if they can continue in this series, despite the opposing pitching, we could hope to squeak out a series win.  But being swept is also a distinct possibility as well, probably a more likely scenario than just winning the series.

In any case, we are back at .500 and the roller coaster ride that other fans went through must have been a lot of fun.  The ups, and especially the downs, really got to a lot of fans, whose consternation about the Giants offense boiled over during that bad road trip.   It's the same offense it has been, for the most part, but suddenly it really bothered people a lot.  

But when you are playing at two pitchers parks - BP has SD as 903 and SEA as 954, out of 1000, so they are extreme pitcher's parks - you have to expect that any offense, and particularly ours, will be challenged, particularly when you are facing the other team's top starters.    It won't necessarily be good against St. Louis's best starters, of all the luck, losing a chance at Lohse and getting Wainwright instead...  Add in a great bullpen and you got a recipe for a tough series, and then you add on top of that, the Cards are the second best team in the league right now.  

But all you can do is just play the cards you are dealt.   Hopefully our young hitters can continue to hit well and keep up their streaks, both Ishikawa and Burriss have responded strongly and been hitting up a storm since their kicks in the butts by Bochy and Sabean.

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