They were there to watch Cliff Lee. Several scouts were tasked with documenting Lee’s every move — or at least the movement on his pitches — to see whether he was back to form and worth a truckload of prospects. But Lee gave up six runs (all earned) to the Giants on 12 hits. He even gave up a home run to Adam Duvall.
Even Lee, who was nearly perfect against the Giants throughout his career heading into Monday’s game (during the regular season, anyway), couldn’t handle the Giants’ dominant 2014 offense. An offense that’s averaging six runs and over 10 hits a game … since the All-Star Break.
Every game seems like a statement on personnel these days, and the Giants’ supposed needs have shifted greatly over the last 24 hours. The team’s main problem seemed to be a lack of positional depth after Sunday’s 3-2 loss. On Monday, when the Giants beat the Phillies 7-4 in a contest where both clubs combined for 29 hits (the Giants had a one-hit advantage), the game itself hammered home what the Giants brought to light earlier in the day with Matt Cain’s disabled list designation.
San Francisco’s pitching staff is mighty vulnerable when they’re down a starter.
Cain’s elbow has gotten chippy, taking away the Yusmeiro Petit option on a day where Ryan Vogelsong got BABIP’d to death. Vogelsong didn’t help himself defensively in the first or second innings, but he deserved a better fate in the fourth, when Brandon Crawford arrived at second at an unfamiliar angle and dropped Pablo Sandoval’s throw on what should’ve been a double play, then Ryan Howard hit a check-swing double to score two runs.
At that point it seemed as if the game was probably a lost cause. George Kontos was in, and the Giants were looking at a painful four-game series in a hitter’s park. But Kontos pitched two scoreless innings after getting the call from Fresno a day earlier, and the guy who shared a plane flight with Kontos smacked a Lee fastball about 415 feet to straightaway center.
With Kontos’ contribution and Duvall’s drive, suddenly the Giants looked like they were having fun. And they took that feeling through the rest of the game, with the last four innings taking about half the time to complete as the first four (which took forEVer).
— All Gregor Blanco has to do is play like that every game and people will stop complaining about him. That’s right, a diving catch, a couple hits, a walk and one of the strangest strikeouts in baseball history is all he needs. Easy.
— Blanco is one of the gentler souls in the game, so maybe that’s why no one has put one in his ear flap yet for calling timeout as a pitcher starts his motion as often as he does.
— Vogelsong got out of a bases loaded jam in the third inning when he got Cliff Lee to swing at a full count fastball that was at least six inches outside. So his night wasn’t completely unlucky.
— Hunter Pence is ninth among NL batters in fWAR, eighth in rWAR, and tied for first in runs and hits. It’s fair to say the Giants won that trade with the Phillies.
— The Giants used five relievers, and when they were finished with their six scoreless innings, the highest ERA among the bunch was Kontos’ 2.70. As much as Brian Sabean loves to add relievers at the deadline, that needs to be the team’s last priority right now.