One. That’s the number of hits the Giants recorded between the first and ninth innings of tonight’s game. To say that Padres pitcher Edinson Volquez flummoxed Giants’ hitters would be an understatment. Volquez held the Giants to just three hits, all of which came in the first innings, while striking out eight. Simply, he was dominant.
Fortunately for the Giants, Madison Bumgarner came into the game on something of a hot streak, having allowed only three runs on five hits in his previous two starts. Tonight was more of the same. Through seven innings, Bumgarner would allow two runs on six hits while striking out nine.
Still, it was the defense that was the greater story tonight. Whether the 4-6-3 double play in the third, or the 7-6-3 variety in the eighth, Giants’ fielders kept the team in the ball game.
video courtesy of @RyanLeong
Bochy described the defense as “huge,” noting that “defense can win a ball game for you, especially when you’re playing a lot of tight games.”
It seems like a lot of Giants are getting in the act as of late. Even Theriot, who’s defense looked suspect earlier in season, has been playing a stellar second base. If we’re to believe Brandon Crawford, good fielding can spread through a team like the plaque.
“They always say hitting’s contagious,” Crawford said. “But I think defense is too.”
video courtesy of @RyanLeong
Pablo Sandoval certainly felt the fielding bug in the third while over-extending himself to meet a Crawford throw. Sandoval would get the out and a date with an MRI machine on Wednesday. The team has preliminarily identified the injury as a strained hamstring
The Ripple Effects of Sandoval’s Injury
Prior to tonight’s game, general manager Brian Sabean told Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News that the team is “going to see if we can improve our bullpen and our bench.”
“I don’t see us involved in a bigger kind of deal,” Sabean continued. “We don’t seem to have any glaring weaknesses.”
Of course, if Sandoval’s hamstring strain turns out to be Kemp-esque, the Giants will have a glaring weakness. Not only will they be missing a versatile infielder, but they be missing a key cog in the heart of their order. The latter will be the more difficult to replace. The Giants have no-one with Sandoval’s bat waiting in the wings. Well, almost none.
About Brandon Belt
If Sandoval’s injury proves to be serious, Belt may again be thrust into a prominent role with the club–just the thing he didn’t needs.
Sure, you can find hope in the walk coaxed out of Padres reliever Joe Thatcher. But, ball four could have easily (perhaps should have) been called strike three. That walk aside, Belt struck out twice.
When the atmosphere was ripe for redemption, Belt could not deliver. He’ll have his chances in the coming games, I’m sure. If I’m the Giants, I’m praying for a miracle.
–According to Ken Rosenthal, the Dodgers have acquired Marlins IF Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins. I guess the Dodgers are serious about competing.
–Sergio Romo tossed his 12th straight scoreless inning tonight.
–Tonight marked the Giants ninth win in 11 games. Not too shabby.