This was the first game that I’ve watched in about a week, and it was certainly a game worth paying attention to. Now, the games in Colorado were just ridiculous; yesterday’s game got way out of hand. Tonight’s game was never comfortable, but never out of reach. Babe Buster came up to bat in the first in a home-run situation and clubbed it out, as he’s pretty much been doing regularly since the All-Star Break. Posey’s name will be in the discussion for MVP this year; Andrew McCutchen is probably the front-runner, but Posey (and Melky Cabrera) will almost certainly be in the running.
Barry Zito was excellent. His curveball curved, his cutter cut, his slider slid, his fastball…looked like a grandma driving through the suburbs on a Sunday afternoon. He really didn’t make many mistakes, as the hits against him mostly came on relatively good pitches, or pitches out of the zone. He also didn’t walk anybody, for just the second time this year. Every now and then we see these flashes of above-averageness from Zito and he remember just how good he used to be, and how good he can be when his command and control are working. The Cardinals are a real offense, and this win means a lot. It’s also interesting to look; Zito topped out with his fastball around 86.6 mph and averaged 84.5 mph tonight, almost a full mph higher than his season average. Tonight he threw his fastball 39 times and got three whiffs, but used it to set up his breaking balls well. Hard to know if the speed is significant at all, but a better fastball makes his off-speed stuff all the more effective.
The other aspect of this game was the Giants’ offense. Say what you will about poor clutch hitting, but this team hit well tonight. This lineup needs Pablo Sandoval back, but the glaring holes of 2011 are gone. With Posey raking, Angel Pagan doing pretty well at the leadoff spot, Marco Scutaro sliding around the infield, and the occasional two-hit day from Joaquin Arias, this looks something like a real team.
With a real bullpen. The addition of Jose Mijares helped elongate the bullpen, and while Bochy is saying “closer by committee,” it seems like Jeremy Affeldt will get a bunch of the save chances. There are reports of Mijares’ attitude issues, weight issues, etc. But he’s been a good pitcher this year, so welcome to San Francisco! I like Affeldt in the ninth, so let’s see him maintain his dominance there.
Brandon Watch 2012
Belt: Two hits, two steals, and some veteran moves on the basepaths. Gotta love it, and so does Bruce Bochy. Hopefully veteran moves => more playing time? It’s not a totally ridiculous notion.
Crawford: Doubles machine.
Stats of the Day
12: Quality starts by Barry Zito in 22 starts
0: Hits by Hunter Pence, the only Giants starting position player not to get a hit
27: Career saves by Jeremy Affeldt before tonight
Bonus Stat of the Day
5: Days since I’ve watched a baseball game. Vacation!