But things like that happens, for while Lincecum did not do that well, as Bochy said, he seemed to be doing things right, because a lot of the hits were dunk hits that dropped in, which in most games would have been outs. Even the best pitchers will have one of those days. Unfortunately, it was when his team really needed him. This win probably gave SD a lot of confidence going into the final two series we have against them, 4 in SD, 3 in SF on the last days of the season.
However, as El Lefty Malo noted, we still have many weeks left in the season, and if we can gain one game in the standings every two weeks, we would enter the last week with 3 against AZ and 3 against SD, both at home, and only 1 game back. If the Giants can do that, got to like our odds, though I would note that while we are facing AZ at home, they are facing the Cubs at home.
Now the Giants start a tough road trip and stretch of games. First three at Philly, then three at St. Louis, the three at home against Dusty's Reds, and you know he's doubly motivated, it's a battle for a playoff spot and you know he would love to show up the Giants, particularly in SF (though his son, the cute guy who almost got run over when JT Snow scored in the World Series, still wants the Giants to draft him when he graduates from high school and can be drafted, I heard in a recent interview).
Game 1: Roy Oswalt vs. Zito
Giants: After giving up two solo homers in a no-decision against the Cubs, Zito now has surrendered at least one home run in five consecutive games (eight total homers). The last time that happened was June 20-July 11, 2004, while he was with Oakland.
Phillies: Oswalt had his best start for the Phillies on Wednesday against the Dodgers, allowing five hits and two walks in seven scoreless innings. He also struck out five in the 2-0 victory. Oswalt is now 1-1 with a 2.79 ERA in three starts with the Phillies.Boy, Oswalt can't catch a break, can he? He loses three to Lincecum, when Timmy going good, but while Timmy struggling, he gets Zito instead, who has been on a great stretch of dominance. Zito has had a 2.57 ERA in 6 starts since the ASB. Zito has pitched there once and had a shutout in 2007, when he was pretty putrid otherwise and the Phillies the strong offensive team it has been over the past few years. Have to call it even, and give the lean to Oswalt since he's pitching at home. Should be a good battle, hopefully the Giants can pull off another win, Oswalt is 0-3, 3.15 ERA this season against the Giants.
Giants: Cain battled through a 31-pitch first inning in his last outing, pitching six innings while taking a no-decision against the Cubs. Despite Cain's high pitch count, he was effective in pounding the zone, as 82 of his 121 pitches were strikes.
Phillies: Blanton continued his trend of putting the Phillies in an early hole Thursday against Los Angeles. He allowed four singles and two walks in the first inning to hand the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. Blanton has an 8.53 ERA in the first inning this season.
Giants: In his last outing, Sanchez came up short in his guarantee the Giants would sweep the Padres, as the lefty allowed three runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings. Sanchez is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA in eight games (four starts) against the Phillies.
Phillies: Hamels is 1-2 with a 1.81 ERA in his last seven starts, and 5-7 with a 2.85 ERA in 19 starts since April. But the Phillies continue to give him no run support. He has lost his last two starts by 1-0. He hopes for a better showing Thursday.
|vs RHP as RHB||117||.269||.325||.410||.735||.307|
|vs RHP as LHB||115||.254||.329||.423||.752||.273|
|vs LHP as RHB||85||.271||.343||.395||.737||.312|
|vs LHP as LHB||95||.236||.313||.422||.735||.271|
|vs LH Starter||428||.251||.325||.394||.720||.291|
|vs RH Starter||1158||.263||.330||.421||.751||.291|
Still, 4.0 games back of the division leader with 7 weeks to go and tied for the Wild Card lead is not a terrible position to be in. I would have loved a series win (or even sweep), but this isn't the end of the world situation, just sub-optimal results, given the tough next nine games vs. Phils, Cards, and Reds while SD faces the Cubs, Brewers and D-backs.
That's a key thing we don't know about our team right now, we don't know if they are playoff ready. We can take some clues, like Posey's steadiness in the face of everything, but for the most part, we don't really know what's under the hood for most players, for many of them never really competed at the highest levels before. At least Posey has been in the College World Series plus playoffs in the minors, but they are just practice for the majors, not the majors.
There is a great article today by Andy Baggarly on Aubrey Huff and his evolution into Huff Daddy that happened while he was in college with his good buddy Pat Burrell. The team has to become more like Burrell:
"Pat's the guy who tells you what you need to hear, even when you don't want to hear it," Huff said. "He's mentally strong. He went through all the boos in Philly, and when he went back to get his ring, they gave him a standing ovation. It made him tear up, after going through all that."
Burrell's pennant race experience isn't just rubbing off on the Giants' young players. He's also a compass for veterans such as Huff and Freddy Sanchez, who have played for losing teams their whole career.
After a game at Dodger Stadium last month, Burrell and Huff stayed in the clubhouse and talked for almost two hours.
"He was briefing me on it, how it's going to be," Huff said. "He said, 'It's a different animal, bro. You may think you're ready, but you might be shocked. It's the same game, the same teams. You just have to slow it down.' "
That is an area that I was hoping DeRosa could contribute but his injury took him out of that equation. Rowand was suppose to supply some of this, but he's clearly not the gamer he was made out to be. Renteria appears to have some of this, but injuries took him out as well. So Burrell falling into our lap like this has been a blessing, not only for the offense he has provided, but the veteran savviness and true gamer attitude that he possesses. I'm beginning to think "what if we re-sign him?" even though that probably means that Schierholtz won't ever get a chance to start for us in RF.