Sunday, June 28, 2015

Traumatized Tim

The Giants tandem of very special catchers flexed their muscles yesterday on the way to a 7-5 comeback win over Colorado.  Buster Posey, looking real comfortable at 1B, did a typical Buster thing with a huge 2 run double in the third to tie the game.  But rather more surprising is the emergence of Buster's "back up",  Andrew Susac.  Susac continued his current 8 game hit streak with a single in the first and a game-winning 3 run double in the seventh, following an intentional pass to Posey, to finish 2-for-4.  This type of production from the bench is bloody beautiful, especially with all the annoying injuries.  If Susac keeps this up, he may not be considered "bench" much longer.

Now on to the bad stuff, i.e. Tim Lincecum. That was Tim's second shortest appearance ever; with the all time shortest being his last time out. Not a good trend for sure, but do trends really matter with Tim anymore?  Of course, this time we get to blame a line drive off Tim's pitching arm for the early departure.  But do we really?  That well hit ball was pretty much the end of Tim's day in any case, he was getting smacked around (1.2 innings, 4 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks). He was lucky to get an out at the plate on that liner off his arm.  The injury (luckily no break but a day to day bruise thing) got him out of the game (Thank Willie! We needed this win) and it made the decision for his "use" so very much easier.  Time off, maybe even a DL stint, and then the decision on the permanent disposal of Tim Lincecum begins.

Yuck, that did not sound good.  I need a better phrase for that.  Anyway....MADBUM today!!  Speaking of aces, did you see that Kershaw lost three starts in a row for the first time ever in his career?  Doesn't that perk you up?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Great Day at the Yard

To be more precise, today was a great day if you forget about the top half of the 8th inning. Excellent start by Chris Heston and 19 hits (four triples!) and 13 runs by the hitters. Core Three-Fourths™ Affeldt, Lopez, and Romo inhabited an alternate reality for eleven batters in that very half inning, and that was unsettling, but I can't allow that to spoil the fun. The Giants responded to that six-run episode with four of their own, and that's big boy pants stuff to be sure. Kudos to Hest-o who did his version of Vogie's pry-this-rotation-spot-from-my-bloodied-corpse act, a tough one to follow, but he did so superbly.

I asked for more run scoring at home and by golly they delivered. I asked for consistency from the starters and wouldn't y'know they lay out a string of studly innings. I have to like that.



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Vogelsong and Posey Lead Giants

Buster Posey gets his second grand slam in a week and Ryan Vogelsong looks sharp again and the Giants beat the Padres 6-0, the 12th team shutout, best in the majors. I whined about the Giants not scoring enough at home and the starters not being consistent enough and sure enough the Giants score a bunch and Vogie lays down a string of zeroes and they get a big win. It's a day game tomorrow, 12:45 start. Chris Heston gets the call.



4th inning: 8-10

Just finished Game 72 which is 4/9 of the season. The Giants have been in a swoon this June, last night's loss made them 8-12 for the month. The seasonal innings breakdown so far:

1st inning: 7-11
2nd inning: 11-7
3rd inning: 12-6
4th inning: 8-10

Overall they are 38-34 and a game back of LA in the West. Their .528 win percentage is the 12th-best in baseball and the sixth-best in the NL.

What's hurting the club right now is the home record. They just don't score enough runs in San Francisco. They are 17-19 at AT&T Park with 107 runs scored (and 120 allowed). That's just a hair under three runs scored per game. That's not a winning formula. You have to score four. You especially have to if you are allowing three (three-and-a-third to be exact). So Giants, I expect you to start scoring more runs at home. Can we get a memo out to everyone on this, please?

On the road the Giants are a different animal. Check out the record: 21-15. They've scored 184 runs in away games, that's a little over five per game! They've allowed 161, or about four-and-a-half. Note that the team has played half its games in away parks.

Overall the Giants have a league-average offense at 4.04 runs per game. It's a goofy offense, oddly adept at clogging up foreign basepaths, weirdly inept on domestic ones. I have to believe those things will even out a bit, that is they will get a little better at home and a little worse away from home. They've only a +10 difference (RS v. RA) overall at this point. We know they aren't hitting at home, but is also seems like the starters other than MadBum have not performed at a consistent enough level home or away. The 'pen, as a result, is getting overworked. Right now the team FIP is 3.87, right in the middle of the pack.

The good news is that two guys we thought would be delivering quality innings earlier this year are finally healthy and ready to return. That's Jake Peavy and Matt Cain. The bad news is that two mainstays in the lineup are now out. That's Hunter Pence and FNG Nori Aoki. Other than a few cockamamie baserunning moves, Aoki has been terrific. We are going to miss him the next few weeks. Pence--well, it's hard to say. We aren't used to this guy being on the DL. Let's hope he can be fully ready by the All-Star Break, if not sooner.

The bright spots have been the youngsters Joe Panik and Matt Duffy. Panik looks like a polished veteran. His fielding prowess is damn-near Crawfordian, and his hitting has been superb, a .302/.371/.458 line for a 135 OPS+ and a .362 wOBA. He's worth about 2.5 WAR. Not many guys come straight out of AA and play championship ball for half a season and follow it up with All-Star level production without missing a beat. This is a special player, rarely do you see him make a mistake. His infield cohort Duffy is not as fully-formed, but he's showing me a lot so far. I like his presence in the box, he's not intimidated by big-league stuff, and I like how quickly he's learning the nuances of his position. And speaking of Brandon Crawford he's still my MVP despite his recent struggles.

Changes are a-comin' for the rotation, I think we all know that. Let's hope they can find that elusive consistency. Two great innings (23-13) and two crappy ones (15-21) does not a champion make. Vogie gets the nod tonight.



K K K K K K K K K K K K K K shit

Madison Bumgarner spotted the Giants nearly 5 innings last night, and they still couldn't get a win.  At least they got a couple of runs, which I guess you can say is directionally correct for his starts.  Those runs, though, were the product of a dribbler (to be kind) off of Gregor Blanco's bat in the 5th inning, scoring Matt Duffy.   The ball died as a productive swinging bunt and San Diego's pitcher, Odrisamir Despaigne, couldn't pick up the ball.  Gregor was fast enough to get to first, and then score on a Joe Panik double.  Were it not for the misplay (ruled a hit) it probably would have been 0 runs.  Again.  In 11 innings, the Giants could score no more and Hunter Strickland gave up a 3rd run to San Diego.

Madbum: 14 K, which ties a San Francisco Giants record, previously set by Atlee Hamacker.  Also 2 earned runs, 7.1 IP, 5 hits, 1 BB.  Those hits came together in the 7th for San Diego's 2 runs.
Despaigne looked pretty  good, but only lasted 5 innings.  I am not sure why he was pulled, but San Diego seemed to have plenty of relief pitching.  In his 5, he gave up 5 hits, 2 runs, walked 2 and struck out 2.

These losses, at home and against our division rivals, are galling.  I'm sure they are wearing on the team.  I may have to leave town myself to turn things around.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

End of Tim

It was the shortest outing of his career but it felt plenty long to me.  Tim Lincecum lasted a paltry 1 1/3 innings and picked up a well deserved loss as the doggers avoided the sweep and stayed in first with an easy 10-2 victory.  The highly vaulted LA offense broke out on a Father's Day matchup that is best forgotten but may well have long term ramifications. 

Lincecum sure did not give his father much of a present (1.1 innings, 7 hits, 5 earned runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts).  To be fair, Tim did look very good TO THE FIRST TWO BATTERS and then it all fell apart. Wild pitches, fat 0-2 pitches, basically pitches that he had no idea where they were going.  I'm not a pitching coach but I'm pretty sure that is not a good thing.  Considering two starters are likely to return this week, I can not conceive of a worse time for Tim to lay such a turd.  In what universe can we possibly leave Tim in the starting rotation now?  Granted Petit looked just as bad tonight (3.2 innings, 5 runs on 4 homers!) but Vogie, Heston and Hudson have all been sharp.  We just have too many starters for Lincecum to stay. However, we also have too much bullpen depth to find a place for Tim too. I mean do we really think that Tim can handle the current Strickland role? And we send down Strickland just because he has options left? I suppose Petit may have played himself out of a bigger role with the batting practice that he threw tonight. So Tim can take over the garbage/long role....except what about Vogelsong?  So many questions, so few answers.

I do not truly believe that the Age of Tim is over, even though I used the provocative title.  But I do think it is safe to say we are entering another era in the amazing career of Tim Lincecum. Is this the beginning of the end....or another exciting new role? What do you think?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Giants Take First Two Falls in LA

In the battle royale that is a Giants-Dodgers series the out-of-towners out-pointed the locals in the first round and pinned them flat in the second. On Friday we were treated to a Buster Posey grand slam in Dodger Stadium, a Ka-Bar to the throat of the Los Angeles horde. The final was 9-5 behind a ragged but effective Chris Heston. Rookie Mike Broadway had a few yips in relief, but you had to like his live arm and dazzling stuff. His nickname is "Bone Crusher."

Today we saw a rejuvenated Tim Hudson get staggered with a couple of big blows early in the match but counter-punch like a champ the rest of the way. The Giants pounded out two-run homers from Justin Maxwell and Brandon Belt in back-to-back innings to seize the lead and never look back. The final was 6-2. Hunter Strickland got five outs, three via strikeout, in an impressive appearance.

Third round tomorrow with Tim Lincecum for the orange-and-black.



Thursday, June 18, 2015

Vogie & Giants Whip Mariners

The Giants like to hit on the road, Felix Hernandez notwithstanding, and tonight in Seattle they clogged up the basepaths and pounded out seven runs. Ryan Vogelsong labored a bit in the first four innings with long counts and a lot of balls out of the zone but bailed himself out every time with a sizzling fastball that hit 94 on the gun. In the fifth and sixth he briskly overpowered the Mariners and got the first two outs in the 7th without breaking a sweat. Then they strung a few hits together and that was it, Javier Lopez came in to get the 21st out. Damn fine effort I say. Hunter Strickland and Jeremy Affeldt finished up. The Giants get a much-needed win: they are 6-10 in June. And they head south for a big weekend set with the Dodgers, who won tonight on a walk-off balk.



p.s. That's the 11th team shutout which leads the majors.

p.p.s. Everyone in the lineup got a hit except Buster Posey who walked twice and scored a run and Brandon Belt who walked twice and scored two runs. Six different guys scored and five different guys drove in runs. Only two guys (Angel Pagan and Justin Maxwell) struck out.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ace vs. Ace

Madison Bumgarner matched up against Felix Hernandez tonight in Seattle.  Madison pitched damn well, but Felix Hernandez pitched better.   No, that might not even be right.  Madison lost.  Madison was tossing a no-hitter and the Giants looked like they might break through until a bad hop in the 5th hit Brandon Crawford in the chest and put Mark Trumbo on base.  You might dispute whether that should have been scored a hit, but in the 6th, hits from Mike Zunino (?), Austin Jackson and Robinson Cano scored two.

Madison: 8 IP, 2 runs, 4 hits, 1 BB, 9 K
Hernandez: 8 IP, 4 hits, 2 BB, 5 K.  But 0 runs.

In his last 2 starts, Madison has thrown 16 innings and given up 3 runs.  The Giants, in Madison's last 2 starts have scored exactly 0 runs.  And that sucks.  June it is, and tonight was not a pleasurable game to watch, even with a masterful match-up of pitching on display.

What do you think, Ron?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Anniversary Tim

On the sixteenth anniversary of my wedding, the Giants decided to rejoin the living and snapped a horrible nine game home losing streak by whooping the Mariners, 6-2.  Wasn't that a thoughtful gift? My lovely bride and I only caught intermitent updates as we drove back home from our vacation along the Mendocino coast, but the win was just as refreshing as the wonderful Pacific breeze.

Tim Lincecum gave another almost quality performance ( 5.2 innings, 5 hits, 2 runs, 4 bb, 3 so ) but it was backed up by a perfect 10 up and 10 down outing by the bullpen, so he picked up win #7.  Solid work for a #5 starter.  The offensive star was clearly Matt Duffy with 3 hits, including a 2 run homer that gave us our first lead of the entire homestand.  A couple other contributors were McGeHee coming through with a 2 run pinch double and Angel Pagan driving in a run as well.  Those two have been scary bad lately (actually Casey has been terrible from day 1) so it was especially refreshing to see them deliver. 

Maybe not as refreshing as a Pacific breeze...but close.

MadBum vs Felix Hernandez tomorrow in Seattle.  Then another game in Seattle before going to LA. Have we had back to back 2 game series before?  Weird but kinda cool.

Resurrecting Matt Cain

The Fresno Grizzlies have a third baseman named Matt Duffy, who hit a mammoth HR off Cain last night on the first pitch he saw. The Giants should trade McG for this guy so we can have both Matt Duffys, just for the heck of it.
Cain seemed okay. His fastball hit 90 consistently and maxed out at 92 once. A few guys hit the ball hard but I'm sure nobody's too concerned about that. In the 4th inning as he approached his 75 pitch limit he seemed a little antsy, slapping his right hand on his thigh a couple of times after a pitch went astray. He began looking into the dugout and I could tell he wanted to be taken out, which happened after pitch 74 and the count 2-0.
Here's a link to the River Cats' web site for details.
Also this from the Bee.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Lost Weekend

Not the movie with Ray Milland. I mean this weekend in San Francisco at AT&T Park. Although that 1945 film was about an alcoholic and in one scene he experiences the delirium tremens. That was what it was like watching the Giants play against the Diamondbacks today. Heston didn't pitch badly, he just got no help. It's a lost weekend, lads. But now it's over. Fresh start tomorrow.



Friday, June 12, 2015

I Really Dislike Arizona

I don't like anything about that team.  I don't like the players, I don't like the manager, I don't like the state they represent, I don't like their logo and I don't like their infinite color scheme.  I think MLB should institute a carbon tax on air conditioned stadia that they open in the desert.  The guy named after a cat isn't even there anymore to amuse me.  I especially do not like the part about being 1 - 4 against them in our own park.  Tonight's game was kind of interesting, but not from the viewpoint of a Giants fan.  It was thoroughly disappointing. 

Madison Bumgarner was on the hill.  I must correct an earlier conjecture - in my last post, I surmised that Madison must have walked a number of batters in one or several games.  That is not correct.  He only had walk-free games 3 times this season, had walked only one batter 5 times and walked 2 batters in 3 games.  Tonight he walked 3.  He also gave up 9 hits in the first 5 innings, and, remarkably, only 1 run.  I leave it as an open question as to whether that was brilliant or lucky.

Unfortunately, the Giants were thoroughly incompetent on offense.  Chase (a name I do not like) Anderson threw a no-hitter until Buster Posey bounced a line drive off his leg for a hit in the 7th inning.  This will probably be chalked up to him having a great game, but it reminded me of Tim's first four innings the previous day - no hits, but hard to feel like he was in command.   He put batters on base - Duffy twice by hitting him with a pitch.  In the 3rd, with Matt Duffy on base to lead off the inning, Justin Maxwell flied out.  Duffy stole 2nd and Madison Bumgarner walked.  Nori Aoki scalded the ball - a line drive snagged by Aaron Hill at 3rd for a double play.  Later, after Duffy singled against Daniel Hudson in the 8th and went to second on a wild pitch, Casey McGehee, pinch hitting for Madison Bumgarner, hit the ball to short and caught Matt in between 2nd and 3rd, killing the Giants feeble, and last chance at scoring.

In addition to Posey, that Duffy single was it for the Giants offense.  Angel Pagan, in the 3-hole, has not been helpful lately.  He has 5 hits in June, in 45 plate appearances.  His average has dropped 25 percentage points.  Since May 22, it fell 25 percentage points to June 1.  Brandon Belt has not been especially helpful either, he has shed 15 points from his average in June, 7 hits in 33 plate appearances in 10 games.  Justin Maxwell has not hit much.  With Pence hurt, these guys need to pick it up, what offense we have had has come from Buster, and Joe Panik, Matt Duffy and Nori Aoki.  It is not enough.  Let's see if we can avoid a losing home stand.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Wilted Tim

The Giants once again can not quite complete the sweep as the Mets rallied for a rather ugly walk-off  victory, 5-4.  It was a tight, entertaining game that featured a couple lead changes, however most of the key moments were focused around some pretty shoddy play.  A Duffy error was a big contributor to the first Met comeback. Later, we took back the lead after a two out error gave Brandon Crawford a chance to hit a totally clutch homer.  And, finally, the winning run was put on by being hit by a pitch on an 0-2 count and then moved along with a passed ball.  Exciting, yes.  Well played, not exactly.

Speaking of not well played...Tim Lincecum had another quite unremarkable and uninspired performance. 4.2 innings, 4 hits, 2 earned runs, 3 walks and 5 strikeouts.  Just a generally "un" type of night.  He started very strong but when Duffy failed to turn a double play in the fourth, it all unravelled. He threw over thirty pitches, lost a two run lead, and looked like a steamed rutabaga when he was done.  I'm talking bright red and sweat pouring down his face. I would have considered a new pitcher to start the fifth, but Bochy left he in even after the pitcher crushed a double. Three batters later, we were behind and Tim was finally yanked. Tim definitely pitched poorly but he got no defensive or managerial help either.

Speaking of not well played (part 2)... I was just talking about how great Strickland is, so, of course, he came in and gave up three quick hits.  I totally feel responsible for that blown save.  However, it took a very weak job by Romo to actually lose this one.  He blows them in bunches, so watch out for the next couple appearances.

Do we actually fly all the way home for a night game tomorrow? Ouch, that's a long trip.  Oh well, good thing it is MadBum.  

Orange Friday (and the LAST DAY OF MY WORK YEAR!!), so WOOHOO!!


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Hest-o No-No!

Rookie Chris Heston pitches his second complete game of the season but this time allows NO HITS and only three baserunners (all via HBP!) and overpowers the Mets for a dominating complete game shutout. Heston is only the third rookie in Giants history to throw a no-hitter (the others were Christy Mathewson and Jeff Tesreau over 100 years ago in New York) and the fourth Giants pitcher to complete the feat since the 2009 season when Jonathan Sanchez smoked the Padres. The Giants now have a no-no in four straight seasons, with Matt Cain's perfecto in 2012 and Tim Lincecum's double against the Padres in 2013 and 2014. Heston's whitewash is the tenth team shutout for 2015 which leads all of baseball. Here's a graphic that tells the story:

Check out the 28 called strikes! Home plate umpire Rob Drake liked what he was seeing. And check out the 14 ground balls--that's Heston at his best.

As far as the offense goes, the Giants did their usual death-by-a-thousand-paper-cuts thing to take a 3-0 lead but then added solo bombs by Matt Duffy and Joe Panik for a 5-0 final. Bruce Bochy gets his 700th win as a Giants manager as well, certainly a memorable one.

Tim Hudson tomorrow. GO GIANTS!


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Phils Take Finale

The Giants ran out of gas in Philadelphia this afternoon losing the getaway game by a 6-4 score. Ryan Vogelsong had pitched effectively for six innings but couldn't get it done in the 7th and the Phils took advantage of the matchups and avoided the sweep. With two on and two out Bochy went with southpaw Javier Lopez to face lefty Odubel Herrera who was hitting ahead of lefties Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Ryne Sandberg pinch-hit righty Jeff Francoeur and he roped a double to drive in two and set up the win for the home team. Southpaw Jeremy Affeldt gave up a homer to righty Maikel Franco the next inning to put the icing on the cake. Giants got a run off Jonathan Papelbon in the 9th and had BCraw up with two outs as the go-ahead run but he struck out to end it.

Vogie's start wasn't pretty, but he deserved better. I didn't think they'd walk Francoeur to face Utley even with Lopez on the hill, but I did think they'd work that plate appearance very carefully. Unfortunately he got one up in the zone and Francoeur didn't miss and got his second big hit of the weekend. Two out of three ain't bad, I suppose, especially on the road, but I thought they might get a sweep against the lowly Phils. The Giants cranked out ten hits including four doubles and had a lot of chances (3-for-15 with RISP) but didn't get the back-breaking blow they needed. The Phillies hit two long balls, both solo shots, but the one by Herrera in the 3rd tied the score after the Giants had taken the lead with two in the top of the inning. Rookie Joe Panik upped his average to .316, tenth-best in the NL, with three hits.

The team faces the Mets on Tuesday after an off-day tomorrow. Chris Heston gets the nod.



Saturday, June 6, 2015

Relatively Good Madbum

So, on a day after Tim Lincecum was good enough for a win, Madison Bumgarner was good enough for a win.  Not his most dominant self, although Madison did give us 8 innings.  He threw 98 pitches, almost 80% of them strikes.  Madison gave up 6 hits and 5 runs, including 2 home runs.  Again, he did not walk anyone and, in contrast to Tim, struck out 11.  Madbum has only walked 13 batters in 11 games, and it seems like a bunch of those must have come in just a couple games.  Madison's troubled frame was the 4th, when one of those home runs came with the bases loaded.  Two singles and a batter hit by pitch loaded the bases before there was a single out.  Madison then struck out the next batter before Jeff Francoeur homered.  The second home run came from Andres Blanco in the 8th for a final score of 7 to 5, Giants.  I do not know if Andres is any relation to Gregor.

The Giants did not hit any home runs.  Nori Aoki, returning from the flu, had 2 rbi, and the other rbi were scattered among Angel Pagan, Brandon Belt, Matt Duffy and Madison Bumgarner.  Aoki had 3 hits, and Matt Duffy and Madison each had 2, among the 12 total for the Giants.  Many hits make good things.  Matt Duffy has had some really good games lately.  Not sure how you can pull him from the line-up, even though Casey McGehee has, reportedly, fixed the problems with his swing.  I think Jon already used "good enough."  Today was an example of the Giants being good enough.  That makes for a win, though, and that is what counts.  The doggers have not been playing well, they are 3 - 7 in their last 10 even when the Giants were 5 - 5.  Let us hope that kind of play continues, for them.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Relatively Good Tim

The ugly five game losing streak finally ended as the Giants won a close one, 5-4, in the sad, half empty confines of the Phillies' Citizens Bank Park.  Homers were the key to this one and we did a little bit better in that regard as Buster Posey's seventh inning solo shot was the difference.

Tim Lincecum was the winner (6-3) but it would be a stretch to say that he pitched well.  It is, however, safe to say that he was considerably better than Jerome Williams and that is all that mattered in the end.  Tim survived 6 innings, giving up 4 runs on five hits (including 2 more homers) and 2 walks.  It did not start well as he gave the ridiculously anemic Phillies a 3-1 lead after the first 2 innings.  During that time, Tim threw a couple of the lamest pitches you will ever see. The first was a fattie to Ryan Howard (literally the only power threat and there was a base open!) that he crushed for a homer. Then an inning later, Tim gave up a RBI double to Williams, of all people. He did finally settle in and get through a few more innings but it was another painful outing. No fastball command. How many times have we seen that in the last few years?

Fortunately on this night the opponent was really no match. The once mighty Phillies look amazingly weak, especially in comparison to the impressive Pirates.  Utley is barely above .200 for goodness sake!  Mortality is a bitch, isn't it? It will be very disappointing if we don't get a least one more from these guys, especially with MadBum going tomorrow.

POG:  Matt Duffy gets the nod tonight with a couple hits (including a sweet opposite field shot to their tiny right center field porch) and a nice grab out of the stands.  Justin Maxwell stepped in admirablely for the injured Pence as well.  His 2 run homer tied it in the fourth.  Just as a note: McGehee returned (for some odd reason) and struck out as a pinch hitter.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

3rd inning: 12-6

Try not to think about how great this stretch of ball could have been without the four straight losses to get us to Game 54. The Giants played some good baseball in May, in fact they played some great baseball in May. They are 0-4 since their amazing 25-10 run--try not to let that get in the way. This team needed a hot streak and they got it. They look bad unfortunately against the Pirates, but the Pirates have that "lean and hungry look" and hell, they ought to. You get your ass whipped at home in a winner-take-all game and that winning team takes it all you got an axe to grind, wouldn't you say? I think the Giants got a good grinding from the Bucs these last two evenings. Let's hope they can get a win in the getaway game.

1st inning: 7-11
2nd inning: 11-7
3rd inning: 12-6

Total 30-23, .566 (92-win pace), 2nd place, 2 games behind, 6th-best record in baseball. We are exactly one-third of the way through the season, 54 games down, 108 games to go.

Obviously we saw an uptick in the scoring. The team now rates a roughly league-average offense at 4.09 runs per game. They are 13th of 30 teams with 217 runs scored. And we saw an amazing run of scoreless outings--the staff leads the majors with nine team shutouts. They are 11th from the top in runs allowed at 206 and their runs allowed per game, 3.89, puts them at 9th-best. That run difference, +8 after tonight, is good for 12th place. Not exactly inspiring, but the Giants play good defense and generally execute well and that's good for a few extra wins as we know.

We also know that consistency from the pitchers will ultimately be the key to this club's chance at a repeat, and we still don't know for sure what kind of staff the team has for 2015. OGC has done a more detailed analysis of the May starts on his blog, and I think I can say in summary that they are good but not great. We've seen better, let's say that. With Matt Cain and Jake Peavy still on the shelf the team could use a lift from a veteran. Hey, that Tim Hudson guy is going tomorrow--I nominate him for a dominating start. The Giants could use a win tomorrow.

Speaking of nominations, I think Brandon Crawford is the team MVP so far. He made that error in Sunday's loss and it was such a shocker because we are so conditioned to him making the big plays in the big moments. But he's my guy.

12:45 tomorrow. GO GIANTS!