Bruce Bochy tried to "stretch" his three starters this weekend and the results were mixed. Tim Lincecum delivered six solid frames but had to be bailed out in the 7th. Matt Cain gave up the tying run in the 8th after seven superb. Barry Zito had six zeros tonight and 92 pitches, but still came out for the 7th. After putting on two, Santiago Casilla had to be summoned. I've often thought that relievers do better when they start innings. Coming in with men on base has to be more difficult. Yet, in all three games, the Giants were willing to risk it and not play it safe. They could have tucked their guys in and said "good night." But they didn't, they asked them to keep going. I can see it, too. The starters are the strength of the team, and asking them to "step up" and get big outs late in games is why they get paid the big bucks. Maybe the next time they are on the hill in the 7th or 8th they'll have that little extra to finish it. I think a lot of teams would have pinch-hit for Zeets tonight in the 6th, and Cainer yesterday in the 7th. Not the Giants. One thing about Ol' Boch, he believes in his guys and isn't afraid of tough spots. And who's to argue with the results? Giants starters in the series allowed only four runs (in 20 IP), and the staff gave up a total of five. Outstanding work from the hurlers this evening (six of them!) and all weekend.
The banged-up Dodgers scratched ace Clayton Kershaw and did the Giants a huge favor. It's a lot easier to score runs off of Joe Blanton. They are clearly re-calibrating their sights and thinking Wild Card. They have a four-game series coming up with St. Louis this weekend and then have to go on the road and face Washington and Cincinnati. They seem to have conceded the West, which is fine with us, eh? The math doesn't look too good for them. The Giants have 79 wins and 22 to play. A .500 record will net 90, meaning LA has to go 16-5 (.762) in their final 21 games just to tie. I think the Giants will finish with more than 90 wins. Six back in the loss column, five back in the win column, it ain't pretty for the smogsuckers.
After flashing some mad little ball skills in the series, the Giants showed off their power tonight. A big 1st inning double by Hunter Pence, another triple from Angel Pagan, and a massive home run to dead center by Buster Posey were the big plays on offense. This team has a lot of ways to win. Let's hope they keep the heat on and get this race wrapped up.
Let's go, Giants! Finish it!
p.s. Barry-Z had the best Game Score, a 66. Matty had a 61 and Timmeh a 57. Vogie gets the ball tomorrow in Coors Field.