Saturday, September 3, 2011

Cain and Beltran lead the way

Carlos Beltran finally delivered the kind of game The Brian Trust was hoping for when they pulled off the trade at the end of July. Three hits from the right side and one from the left, he drove in three of the team's first four runs, hitting a two-out, two-run homer in the 3rd to give the Giants the lead and knocking home Matt Cain (who had gritted out a leadoff infield hit) with a one-out single in the 5th to seal the deal. He had a workout in right field as well, making five putouts, a couple of throws, and chasing down three extra-base hits. Ryan Roberts hit a drive to right-center in the 5th that just eluded him for a triple. It would have been a damn fine play if he'd managed to close the hands-breadth gap. We've seen Nate Schierholtz catch that very same ball, but we all know Olympic Nate is a magnificent fielder. Beltran made his reputation in center field, and still has some of those moves at age 34, but no one can cover the vast greensward of the foul line to Triples Alley like Schierholtz. Nonetheless, the newcomer had a great night. I like watching him hit, he has such a relaxed stance, great balance, and that smooth, compact swing. He runs with a languid, effortless grace that almost looks like he's not trying very hard. Some guys have a gift for making it look easy. I hope he stays healthy and keeps it up--the Giants need everyone to deliver their best from here on out. Cody Ross put the icing on the cake with a big two-run homer after a Cain walk in the 7th. Last season the Giants hit 162 homers in 162 games. A late-season power surge would be nice.

Matt Cain had a little trouble in the 1st after an infield hit and it took 29 pitches to keep the pesky Diamondbacks from scoring more than just one run. After that he racked up some quick innings and managed to give the team eight strong. He walked four guys which tied his season high. Cain had only walked nine batters in all of August and has 54 for the season (2.3 BB/9, his career best). He's only given up one home run in the second half of the season and a mere eight overall (0.4 HR/9 is also a career best). His average Game Score (last night was a 63) is 59, also a career best. FanGraphs credits him with 5.1 WAR, the best of all the Giants pitchers and, you guessed it, a career high. He's 5th in the NL behind Roy Halladay, Clayton Kershaw, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels. It has been an outstanding season for no. 18, let's hope he keeps it going for the final push.

Big Time Timmy Jim goes today. Giants, realistically, need a sweep. Gaining only one game wouldn't be bad, but gaining three would be a hell of a lot better. This is it! The time is now! GO GIANTS!



Brother Bob said...

Maybe it will be "better late than never" with Beltran. And apparently Ross can't get motivated until Sept & Oct.
After Cain gave up the run in the first part of me thought "game over." But then he got it together. He's really a great pitcher.

M.C. O'Connor said...

He sure is--we are lucky to have watched his entire career!

Big game for Timmy and the team tonight!