As my partner Thomas alluded in his excellent piece about Tim Lincecum, this series with the Diamondbacks was set to be something of a bellwether for the Giants season: get swept and the season is over; make up some ground and we’re suddenly back in a race we had no business being in in the first place. So far, so good, as after the first two games the Giants sit 4.5 games out of first place, with the Dodgers and Rockies sitting between them. And while the Giants were pretty feckless in the first half against the rest of the league, they’ve posted an impressive (29-20) record against the rest of the awful NL West. So, despite what being 6 games under .500, this is totally possible.
Tonight, Matt Cain was not quite Matt Cain, but he’s been better than the Matt Cain that Matt Cain has been recently. He went just five-plus innings after laboring through a long fifth inning and giving up two earned runs on four hits and four walks. Going out on a limb here, I would like Cain to figure out what’s wrong and get back to the dominance that we’re used to. Tonight was certainly better than the disaster that was his last start, but he’s still going to need every bit of grit he’s got to get back to his former glory.
The big news of the day is the injury to Jeremy Affeldt and the almost-injury to Sandy Rosario, who has quietly been one of the best relievers on the team since coming up. Affeldt’s left groin strain will mean some lost time, if not a lengthy DL stint, which may mean a Kickham Kallup, or some other similar roster move. At the moment it doesn’t seem like Rosario is going to face any lasting consequences, but if the last two games are any indication, Bochy is going to need all relievers on deck to scratch and claw for wins.
The good news is that the offense seems to be a bit back on track. Despite only getting one run out of a bases-loaded-none-out situation today, Buster Posey continues to mash, Pablo Sandoval seems to be getting his swing back after an atrocious stretch coming off the DL, and Jeff Francoeur is making a convincing case that he’s not quite dead. The bullpen, despite a torturous™ few innings, held the line and closed out the win.
But really, Buster Posey. Tonight’s game brings him up to .326/.395/.544 with 14 homers and two adorable children. For a fun little comparison, on July 20 of his MVP season last year he was hitting .305/.375/.480 with 11 homers. Of course, at that point the Giants were 52-41 and 2.5 games up in first place, but that’s immaterial. B-Ref lists him second in the National League in oWAR before tonight’s game, and top-7 in overall WAR by basically every calculation. In case you forgot, Posey had a monster second half last year, and while that’s not necessarily good for any predictive value, he could end up a real contender for MVP again.
0-5, 3 K.
Cringe of the Day:
Ex-Giant Play of the Day