The San Francisco Giants scored 35 runs in Denver. To give a little context to that number, remember that the Giants scored 29 runs on their recent 10-game homestand. The Colorado Rockies aren’t just a last place team playing out the string, they’re employing a brand new “strategy” for handling their starting pitchers. Here’s what’s funny about Colorado’s four-man rotation and 75-pitch ceiling plan — the only reason people know it’s in place is because they made such a big deal about it.

Otherwise nobody would’ve known the difference.

Troy Renck: “Huh. I would’ve sworn Jonathan Sanchez pitched three days ago. Or was that Edwar Cabrera? Maybe I should check. Or I could just guess, since nobody’s paying attention anyway. Probably the better option. Ooh, are those Skinny Cow brand ice cream sandwiches in the media dining room?”

Is it a little ridiculous to overlook a series sweep, no matter the record of the opponent getting swept? Sure. Are we going to do exactly that for the purposes of this post, since the Dodgers also swept a last place team and remain a Matt Kemp whisker behind the Giants? Absolutely.

Not to say what happened this past weekend meant nothing. As we go into slideshow format (without the actual slideshow), the Giants’ exploits in Denver will play a part in some of these five questions about the their immediate future.

1. Could the 2012 NL MVP come from the Giants?

Only if the Pirates and/or Andrew McCutchen fade away, and even then…

  • Joey Votto’s coming back soon
  • Not many baseball writers would put both Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera in their top five
  • Carlos Ruiz has had a better season than Posey, at least statistically

Still, nothing a couple months of crazy numbers couldn’t fix. Posey has 26 hits and 5 HR in his last 13 games, and Cabrera’s batting average has only been under .350 for one day since May 20. Both players are capable of accumulating the stats and dazzling the voters, but the Giants will also have to win the NL West to get their first League MVP since Barry Bonds in 2004

2. Will the Giants sign Mike Fontenot?

So they could have a Scutaro/Fontenot/Theriot infield … and they wouldn’t do it? Hardly seems plausible. They could call them Fighting Hydrants 2.0, which would give the Giants a chance to revisit an old meme while giving them an excuse to pretend that F.P. Santangelo, Marvin Benard and Armando Rios possessed heroic qualities.

But the executive committee wouldn’t open up the coin purse for another round of Fontenot after trading for Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro. Not when they could use right handed power off the bench, or another arm in the bullpen. But it would be fun, wouldn’t it?

3. If Jeff Keppinger’s name was instead Jeff Keppinjo (or Keppinjot), would the Giants have kept him?

Yes. At least through Spring Training.

4. What was the best news to come out of Sunday’s win?

Easy. The Giants got Sergio Romo back.

5. What are we supposed to think about Tim Lincecum?

From what Grant Brisbee wrote about Lincecum’s 1 earned run, 10 baserunners allowed performance from Sunday afternoon:

I’ll say it now, though. Lincecum was unlucky. Or maybe a better way to put it was that he was completely devoid of luck. He was still walking the hitters, and he was still hanging the hittable pitches, so it’s not as if he was blameless. It’s not like an All-Star season was lost in the whirlpool of bad luck. But he shouldn’t have been on pace to have one of the worst seasons by a starting pitcher in baseball history. He wasn’t that bad, dammit.

And the difference between a disappointing season and a historically bad season was a complete absence of luck. Today, Lincecum was lucky. He’s earned a half-dozen of these games this season, at least. It was good to see.

It’s nice that Lincecum has — save for the home start against San Diego on July 25 — kept things under control since heading into the All-Star Break after two disastrous starts. It’s nice that he only gave up a run at Coors Field, but he walked 5 hitters for the third time this season and had his lowest K/9 (0.50) of any start this season. Is he becoming wily enough in his old age to “pitch” his way to victory, or was this a case of a pitcher who’s hurtling toward earth and grabbing branches on the way down?

What’s weird is that Matt Cain’s recent struggles actually give one a reason to believe in Lincecum. While the end-of-year stats might be pleasing to the eye, even the guy who threw the perfect game isn’t perfect. Is it logical to compare Lincecum to Cain? It wouldn’t seem so this year, but when taking a couple steps back and looking at the totality of their careers it does (they’re only a few months apart in age). Both are great pitchers who will struggle from time to time. If Lincecum truly has been unlucky this season, and Cain maybe a little luckier than usual in the season’s first few months, maybe they’ll switch places from here on out, like Elaine Benes and George Costanza.

And now that this post has devolved into classic Seinfeld episode references, it’s time to go. Stay tuned as the Giants face a team that isn’t actively trying to get their manager fired.