Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Cain, Pence Lead Giants

Things went a little better for Matt Cain this time around as the big righty managed six scoreless with only two hits allowed and seven whiffs. He got some help from surprise starter Hunter Pence who contributed a sterling defensive sequence in the 6th to get Curtis Granderson at home to preserve the shutout. That's the league-leading thirteenth, by the way. The 'pen gave up two hits and two walks in the final three but kept the score sheet clean. Giants had ten hits, all singles, and were helped by sloppy fielding from the Mets. Pence delivered a clutch hit to go along with his clutch catch-and-throw, and Gregor Blanco and Joe Panik had five hits and all three runs scored between them.

The Giants end the losing streak, finally, after seven games. The Dodgers lose in Philadelphia and lead the West by four games. The gap was only half a game on June 20th, but 5-10 tailspin took care of that. Jake Peavy gets the start tomorrow afternoon. Let's hope he shows the same form he had last time out.



p.s. On the pre-game Papa asked Laskey for his 'key to the game' and he said "Hunter Pence." When Vida got the same question, he said "Matt Cain."


nomisnala said...

The team goes to 42-42 yesterday and then wins on a reciprocal
3-0 shutout to go back up above 500. Now the team goes one over
500 and Cain's career mark back at 500. He looked very good, but
not great. The hope is that we now have a solid rotation.

Brother Bob said...

It seems the team places a great deal of importance on the mojo provided by Pence. So for this one game he definitely rose to the occasion. Now it's "wait and see" time. Was this a turning point?
I think Cain was semi-great last night.
Another important factor was Casilla saving himself in the 9th. His previous appearance was an epic fail. He seemed shaky for a while and I was starting to think he was going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, but he pulled through.

JC Parsons said...

Talk about a couple barrels of pure energy dumped on to a dying team! We are getting Pence and Cain back just in time. I am sure all of their teammates are sleeping much better after seeing how the game changed with those guys back. Once we get our pesky lead off hitter on track, as well as the foul mouthed Peavy, we are just about how we were planned out in spring. Maybe better since Duffy looks like he has many more tools than McGeHee. So being at .500 is not so bad, especially if not too many other teams line up for the second wild card spot. It is all about how many teams are in front of you now. Records don't matter. Just got to keep teams behind you. We can catch the doggers, or any single team. It is when you have to pass three or four teams when it gets out of control.
The Pence play was pure sweetness. The sliding catch after a long run was impressive but to follow it with a perfect throw and complete the double play was rather awe inspiring. It also clearly ended the Mets chance of catching up and totally deflated them. It is rare that one play so distinctly ends another team's hope. Pure sweetness. If he had done nothing else, Hunter's return would be considered a huge success.
Matt Cain was less flashy, because that's how he rolls, but his return was also wonderfully enheartening. He looks fresh and ready to crank out the quality starts. How can you NOT be totally confident that he will always give you a good chance to win?
So, overnight we went from worthless slops to defending champs. Who knew? Of course when you have Pence, BCraw, and Panik in for Maxwell, Adrianza and Arias, then you are looking at a rather major lineup upgrade.

M.C. O'Connor said...

God yes, that was a huge play, and as you say completely deflating for the Mets. That throw was epic, just a line drive rocket, all Susac had to do was catch and sweep and Granderson was done. I remember thinking when Pence made the catch that I was OK with them giving up the run because he got the out, but then he just leapt up firing and "served notice" to the league that HE IS BACK!

If Cain and Peavy can add some stability and consistency to the rotation then things will fall into place. Matt looks healthy and strong and that's GREAT NEWS.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Right now, it looks like our rotation is ready for b'ar. Bumgarner, Heston, and Vogie has been carrying the rotation forever. Peavy looked great in his first start, and Cain looked dominanting in his second, he struck out 5 of his first 13 batters, 4 of his first 7.

And while our bullpen has been up and down, it has mostly been up, 13 team shutouts is huge, the low is 2 in the NL (COL! and SD!). If we had been .500 instead in those 11 extra wins (OK, 6-5), we would be 38-47 instead, that would put us 4th behind SD in NL West. Instead, we are withing shouting distance of both NL West lead and 2nd WC, both 4.0 games back.

I think both Strickland and Osich has helped stabilize some things, plus Kontos has been a huge contributor, stranding 20 inherited runners so far. And speaking of which, the Giants are at 17% score rate for IR, versus 27% average for the NL. That is 16 runs scored that would have happened, costing us at least 2 wins, on a theoretical basis, and who knows in reality. And as much as Casilla has struggled, he's been at 81% saves this season, second only to Card's 85% and NL's 71% average. That's 3 more wins saved, instead of blown.

And one factor that has been mentioned by the Giants announcing crew is the effects of all these cross-country trips, flying back from the East in order to play a game in SF, even with their sleep in NY, fly back Monday morning manuever, they probably got, at best 6-7 hours of sleep. I know that when I have to get up early for 5 AM meetings, I am pretty messed up physically for a few days, in terms of concentration and strength (of course, I'm much older and no where near the athletes they are), but still, losing sleep as well as changing sleep patterns did the Giants no favors.

And that seems to be the norm this season, seems like the MLB schedulers decided to make it harder on the Giants so that they don't repeat (maybe one last edict from Herr Selig).