Lastings Milledge made a great play on a well-struck ball by Freddy Sanchez with the bases loaded and two outs in the 9th to seal the win for Pirates. The Giants comeback came up short, losing 6-3 to Paul Maholm. Great night for the Pirates young stud, Andrew McCutcheon, who had four hits including two doubles and a homer.
The Giants are 29-25 after 54 games--that's one-third of the season. They are two and one-half games behind the Dodgers and Padres (tied at 32-23), and one game ahead of the Rockies (28-26). Arizona is a distant last, eleven games behind, playing .382 ball (21-34).The team's excellent pitching (3.71 FIP, 3rd in NL) is the key to 2010 so far. The offense remains a problem (.318 wOBA, 13th in NL), but Buster Posey's promotion and Freddy Sanchez' return have given the team a bit of a spark. Let's hope things continue to improve. Newcomer Aubrey Huff has been a big contributor, and both Andres Torres and Eli Whiteside are having career years. Juan Uribe is doing (.349 wOBA) about what he did last year (.351 wOBA). Pablo Sandoval is struggling, but I expect he'll find his groove again. He may not put up a .943 OPS like last season, but he will get his share of big hits. Injuries and age have bedeviled core players Edgar Renteria, Mark DeRosa, Aaron Rowand, and Bengie Molina, but the team is likely improved with them on the bench or the DL. I'd like to see Nate Schierholtz get starts instead of Pat Burrell, but this is the Boch & Sabes universe, where Grizzled >> Youthful.
The Giants are "on pace" to finish 87-75. A few more incremental upgrades to the lineup would push us to the 90+ win plateau, don't you think? The question, naturally, is where those improvements will come from. Pat Burrell got some hits in his debut tonight, but I'm not expecting much from him. Freddy Sanchez, another player I didn't expect much from, has been a nice surprise. Let's hope there are more surprises like that the rest of the way.