Well, that was substantially less fun. The Giants got just three hits and no runs against Randall “who the hell is Randall Delgado” Delgado. And then the weeeeird ninth inning.
Unfortunately, the takeaway from the game will likely be the sixth inning, when Buster Posey singled and then was thrown out at home on a Pablo Sandoval double. Tim Flannery waved Posey all the way in on the play – with none out – and perfect throws from Pollock and Pennington and a great tag by Montero got Posey by a few inches. All in all an impressive defensive play and, given the game situation, Flannery probably should’ve held Posey at third. You can blame the Giants’ recent ineffectiveness at getting runs in from third, or Pence’s inconsistent ways, or Flannery’s generally aggressive tactics at third. Either way, it was pretty frustrating.
Instead, I’d like to take this opportunity to gush about how good Madison Bumgarner is. Even when our rotation completely fell to pieces, Bumgarner stayed strong. Today’s game brings him down to a 2.94 ERA, with an 0.96 WHIP and 127 Ks in 131.2 IP. In other words, he’s having the best year of his career so far, and that’s saying quite a bit.
Bumgarner threw his slider 43 times tonight, compared with 38 fastballs, and generated 9 total whiffs. He had four innings under fifteen pitches, including a five-pitch inning thanks to some bad baserunning by the D-Backs. He kept a lot of his pitches in the zone, but had enough movement that mostly the D-Backs just popped up what looked like a good pitch. Take a look:
Seeing that many pitches in “hittable” locations would normally spell disaster, but it worked for Bum. It has worked and continues to work for Bum, and he’s ours for years and years more.
Today was certainly a disappointment, but at the end of the day the Giants won the series and picked up some ground against the first-place team. The Giants had more to lose in this series than to win, and they proved that they can still (sometimes) hang with the big boys. If anything I hope they got back a little confidence in their bats and their pitching staff, because the Reds are going to be tough. But I feel better after seeing them win 5-of-7, and so should you.