The Giants played game number 90 last night and that marathon win marked the end of the fifth seasonal inning. Here's the season so far:
1st inning: 7-11
2nd inning: 11-7
3rd inning: 12-6
4th inning: 8-10
5th inning: 9-9
That brings the club to 47-43 (.522) with 72 games to play. If they maintain that pace they'll finish with 85 wins which probably won't get them a playoff spot. To get to 90 wins they'll have to go 43-29 which is .597 ball. So they have to be, within a game or two, a .600 team the rest of the way. Can they win 3 of every 5 games they play from here on out?
Last night Matt Cain got battered in his five innings of work and NINE relievers did the rest, allowing only one run in the final seven frames. The Giants had 16 hits but were only 2-19 with runners in scoring position. They stranded 15 guys! Cain looked like he couldn't hit his spots but he didn't walk a man. They had better luck hacking away--he gave up eight hits, five for extra bases, but did strike out five. The Giants will go as far as Matty goes, that is, if he can return to form and be the starter we know he can be then the team will have a strong second half. I don't think, short of some miraculous pitching acquisition for the stretch run, the team can make a go of it without a big contribution from Cain. Think about what Jake Peavy (who goes today) did in his twelve starts (78-2/3 IP, 3.03 FIP, 2.1 WAR) last year. That's the kind of thing the team will need--will Matty be that guy?
Giants have only won four of their eleven games against the Diamondbacks. They've got two more in Arizona this weekend and another three-game series there in September with three more to follow at home before the last road trip. That's what I call "opportunity for payback."
Andrew Baggarly brought up what is becoming an increasing concern: Angel Pagan's play in center. At least two of those deep flies last night would have been caught by Gregor Blanco. Sure, they were bombs, but that's what The White Shark does--turns hits into outs. Pagan's isn't hitting well, either, and perhaps a little outfield shake-up will be necessary when Nori Aoki returns.