When the Giants were storming through July, they got good pitching (102 RA in 28 games or 3.64 rpg) and good hitting (149 RS, 5.32 rpg). Sure, we know the formula: pitch well, hope for some offense. But the Giants don't win with just pitching. The Giants--excluding July--are three games over .500 (49-46), scoring only 385 runs (4.05 pg) while giving up 360 (3.80 pg). It's not about the runs you give up, and it's not about the runs you get. It's about the difference between those two numbers. It's the separation, the margin of victory. Your probability of winning is greater when you have a bigger lead. You need a comfortable gap between you and your opponent because something bad might happen--like a home run by the best hitter in the league that chases your starter. Or your young reliever might be erratic. You know, ridiculously improbable shit like that.
Madison Bumgarner was brilliant, holding up the "back end o'the ro' " like Jonathan Sanchez did last night, and the Giants won the opener in St. Louis in a big series with a playoff contender. There's no doubt the talented core of this club is the starting rotation. This team is going to live and die with the Big Five. It's been an amazing group, durable and consistent, and mostly without the supporting squad they deserve. Tonight the Giants scored first and were up 3-1 in a tight game. Think about it--did you really want to see Sergio Romo in the 8th with a 3-1 lead? No, not really. I know I didn't. Don't get me wrong, I love the kid, but he's not exactly Mr. Reliable at this point. In fact, other than Wilson, the whole 'pen has been an issue this season, as we know. But that's not what happened because our 1-2 punch, a Posey right and a Huff left, delivered the big combination in the 7th to stagger the home club and shock the home crowd. Huff's huge bomb was a huge lift for the team. Despite the Cardinals getting the tying run to the plate in the 9th, the damage had already been done. A gritty AB by Torres in the 8th even added an insurance run. And you have to love a Fontenot & Fred-D seven-eight spot that gives you 4 hits and 3 runs!
Madison Bumgarner, though, was the real story tonight, giving the team seven strong innings and adding an RBI hit as well. The last guy in the line--the Number Five--showed the Big Fellas how it's done! I'm happy the team scored some runs for him. Let's hope they keep it up, and let's hope the rest of the starters start matching zeroes like they are capable of doing. MadBum, incidentally, earned a 55 Game Score for his effort. Weren't we just discussing a 55 Game Score? And who pitches tomorrow? Hey, it's no. 55!
p.s. The Padres gave up TEN RUNS in Milwaukee, with Wade LeBlanc giving up 7 in 3-1/3 when he had a 5-2 lead. The same Wade LeBlanc who shut us down last weekend.