I think what today’s Giants game showed us was why it’s been so hard for the Giants to pull off a sweep every time they’ve had the opportunity this season. The Braves were on fire, Barry Zito was the only healthy Giants starter with the requisite four days of rest, and the Giants’ pathetic lineup was going against a Japanese rookie who’s been getting better and better as this season’s progressed.
So, of course, they won.
I’m not going to go all Lady Gaga about Barry Zito’s outing, and not just because of his p-p-p-poker face (or is it “poke her” face? I guess it depends on if Paris Hilton’s in the room, or if the Valtrex is working). The guy walked roughly 14 hitters today, and got out of every inning by the skin of his Whiteside (don’t worry, the puns end there). And after somehow beating Tim Lincecum last night to win the first three games of the series, the Braves were clearly on auto-pilot today — especially defensively.
That’s what it takes for the Giants to win games on the road this season. They’re not a bad hitting team at home, but on the road they need one of their patented “ground attack” rallies. That means one of three different types of innings has to occur:
1. E-5; wild pitch; grounder to second with a throwing error to third base (one run).
2. Giant strikes out and the ball goes back to the backstop, letting the batter get to first; Infield single; HBP; another wild pitch; bloop double (three runs).
3. Line drive off the pitcher’s back; bunt single due to a lackadaisacal throw from the first baseman; bunt to the pitcher who makes an error throwing to first; strike out; strike out; single; single (four runs).
Yeah, that last one? That was today’s Giants rally.
“We changed to a ground attack in the eighth,” Bruce Bochy said after the game.
A few other thoughts on things that happened this afternoon…
— You know why Mark Buehrle was able to pitch a perfect game today, don’t you? No more Juan Uribe.
— Randy Winn’s starting to get hot, at the same time Aaron Rowand has vanished. The “Goateed Streaky Hitter Corollary” strikes again. Actually, it’s probably a theorem by now. Those two are never good at the same time.
— I sense a Panda coming-out party in Colorado. You can’t hold Pablo Sandoval down for long, especially at Coors Field. (I just checked out Sandoval’s career splits at Coors, and they read .143/.250/.333 over 24 PA’s…I still think he’s going off this weekend).