Post-Game Notes: Lights Out Bullpen [as usual] and Home Improvement, but from who?

Where would this team be with Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez still fully healthy? We can’t really just predict, but just imagine Pablo Sandoval. Now think about what this team would look like if Sandoval could bat 3 times through a lineup.

I guess that’s the best that I can do in terms of explaining how amazing this team would be not only with Posey and Sanchez still in the lineup, but the “Bullet” Darren Ford on the bench, and Brandon Belt there to use his disciplined approach to give Huff a few days off.

This team healthy would be beyond competent to win 95 games. They’ve mastered the process of winning 1-run and close games, and we can only imagine if this team could just go from their mark of 3.6 runs per game to a modestly improved 4.0, maybe 4.3. Then, maybe I can leave Aubrey Huff, Andres Torres, Miguel Tejada, so on, and so on all alone.

– I can’t say I’ve ever seen a more impressive performance from a bullpen, especially through that many innings. Through 8.0 IP, the bullpen combined to allow 0 ER on 2 hits, striking out 13 batters in the process. If I could sum up why this team continues to win with this offense without using words, I’d simply point to tonight’s box score. The pitching staff in general, with Bumgarner, combined for 19 K’s in the 14 innings, the highest mark on the season for the Giants.

– It’s safe to say that Andres Torres was motivated after last night, going 3-for-6 tonight, with a couple amazing plays on defense to help prevent the Padres from adding on. The Giants have been waiting for a spark for this offense, and if Torres can get it going and improve his .226/.322/.362 line and return close to 2010 form, it’d be a huge boost.

- Nate Schierholtz is just clutch. It’s as simple as that. Well, not really. We all know the type of defense Schierholtz plays with that far-above-average arm, but the offense has seemed to show up. After today’s 3-for-6, 2 HR’s including the walk-off, he’s raised his line to .278/.330/.430 with 6 HR’s and 27 RBI. There’s absolutely no reason why Schierholtz should lose any AB’s from this point on, unless he slumps, of course. While he’s shown offensive spark before, it always seemed unsustainable. This season, he’s not hitting .320, but he’s showing up when needed, having disciplined AB’s, and flashing the power on occasion. I’d never think I’d see 2 HR’s by the same lefty in AT&T Park this season, but it happened.

- Brandon Crawford is simply a gamer. I hate the term, but you can’t deny it. The guy plays amazing defense, has the eye of a veteran, and despite his .221/.307/.319 line, is completely worthy of being the 2-hole hitter in this lineup. Crawford sees an average 3.8 pitches per plate appearance and has a BB% of 11.5%, compared to Miguel Tejada’s 3.4 and 3.8 BB%

– I’ve been pretty passive on Aubrey Huff and his struggles, but at this point, I’m just upset. While it’s clearly obvious he’s been struggling compared to his 2010 season, his 43 RBI might be a bit misleading. He’s on pace to out-hit last season in terms of RBI, but his .243/.296/.372 line as a 1st-basemen is just beyond abysmal. I question the significance of his negative WAR at -0.7 because the 113 innings in the OF and his -8.6 UZR in those innings have a huge influence on that stat. Either way, I’ve been waiting for Huff to step up, but now that the halfway mark of the season is far from past, I’ve just run out of patience.

– If there was ever just one game that really, really turned me off from the idea of platooning two Triple-A starters at catcher, tonight was that game. Chris Stewart not only went 0-for-4 while seeing a total 6 pitches, his game behind the plate was just awful. I don’t blame the guy because he doesn’t decide who starts, but the 2 throwing errors and the fact that the Padres were 4-for-4 in stolen bases pretty much summed up the need for someone new behind the plate. We’ve seen great plays and throws from Stewart and while 42% of runners attempting to steal being thrown out, Stewart is just inconsistent.

– The Padres just had the Giants’ number up to this point, and it’s really not surprising – the Giants and Padres are just two extremely similar teams that battle to the death, or final run in this case. The Padres just overall aren’t a great team and can’t win consistently against the rest of the league, which just makes you believe they find ways to win against the Giants; simple as that. Although, the amount of scoring the Padres have done off Giants starters is quite astonishing: 18 innings with 16 strikeouts, three walks, but 13 earned runs.