The Giants swept the Houston Astros Sunday, extending their lead in the National League West to one and a half games.

Matt Cain and the rest of the Giants weren’t perfect, but perfection was not needed against a team like the Astros. In three games, the Giants surrendered only three earned runs on 15 hits. The Astros went 0-17 with runners in scoring position, a testament to both the dominance of Giants’ pitchers and the mediocrity of their opponent’s batters.

As with Tim Lincecum’s victory, a sweep over the Astros is no justification for unbridled optimism. The Astros are bad. The Giants coming opponents are not.

About Those Braves

The Atlanta Braves are in the midst of a seven game win streak. Aside from their strikeout rate, the Braves are a solid offense team. In fact, in a side-by-side comparison, the supremacy of the Braves offense is obvious.

Atlanta Braves

San Francisco Giants

Category Value Rank Category Value Rank
Win % .557 6 Win % .551 8
Runs/Game 4.67 8 Runs/Game 3.93 24
Run Diff +37.0 9 Run Diff -3.0 18
Bat Avg .261 12 Bat Avg .262 11
Slug% .410 14 Slug% .380 24
OB% .327 10 OB% .319 18
OPS% .738 13 OPS% .699 22
Strikeout% 20.6 19 Strikeout% 17.7 6
Walk% 8.8 7 Walk% 7.5 24

 

 

 

 

 

 

This will be a tough task for Zito, Vogelsong, and Bumgarner.

Stolen BASGs

–Was anybody else surprised by the plate approaches of Brandon Crawford and Emmanuel Burris?

In the bottom of the first, after watching Bud Norris both walk Angel Pagan to load the bases and Brandon Belt to score Gregor Blanco from third, Crawford strikes out on three pitches.

In the bottom of the fourth, after Norris walked the bases loaded again, Burriss fouls off the first pitch and then grounds out on the second.

In both cases, Norris was clearly having difficulty finding the strike zone. In both cases, Crawford and Burriss were needlessly aggressive.

–On a related note, there is value to taking pitches, according to Ken Fuld, an psychophysicist at the University of New Hampshire.

“In the last few feet before the plate, the ball reaches an angular velocity that exceeds the ability of the eye to track the ball,” Fuld said. “The best hitters can track the ball to within 5 or 6 feet of the plate.”

What does Fuld suggest? Take the first couple of pitches, calibrate to the speed, and anticipate the location. The key of course is to take a couple of pitches.

–Aubrey Huff will not join the team for the coming road-trip, according to Alex Pavlovic. Instead, Huff has been sent to Las Vegas where he may or may not meet up with the Fresno Grizzlies.