The Giants softened up the Nationals with a feint-and-punch combo in the 1st, staggered them with a haymaker in the 3rd, and finished them off with some snappy jabs in the 8th. Madison Bumgarner knew what to do with a lead and pitched another fine ballgame. The Giants take 3 of 4 in D.C. and head to the ASB 47-41 (.534), four back of the Padres.
Buster Posey had the big blow in the 3rd, a booming triple that scored two, and Travis Ishikawa, who continues to stroke the ball well, had two big hits. The youngsters were the stars today, and it is the youngsters who'll have to step up if the Giants are to make a run. Buster Posey has given us every reason to believe he is indeed The Real Deal. He hit cleanup today, and he looks like that homegrown middle-of-the-order hitter we have been waiting for since Will Clark. May it please the baseball gods, and may we take joy in the bounty they have seen fit to grace us with. Other than Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres, the rest of the thirty-something crew is underwhelming. Check out these wOBAs: Rowand .298, FSanchez .314, Renteria .327, Uribe .328. That ain't gonna cut it, mates. If you prefer OPS, the numbers are .681, .708, .711, .758, with only Uribe above the .729 NL average. To be fair, both Pablo Sandoval (.307, .704) and Nate Schierholtz (.304, .685) are putting up Rowandian numbers. We've seen Pablo hit a lot better than this, and there's still a chance Nate can do better as well. Who thought Travis Ishikawa would be swinging such a good bat at this point in the season? Our 20-year-old pitcher and his 23-year-old catcher, with a little help their 26-year-old first baseman, hammered it home to me today. The young guns have to step up and wrest control of this club from the greybeards. The old guys have to become the role players and the kids have to be the stars. The pitchers, of course, already know that. But as we've seen, both this season and last, they cannot do it alone.
Enjoy the All-Star Break, me buckos!