GIANTS 5 - A'S 4
Despite what some in Giants nation seem to think, Brian Wilson is one of the better closers in all of baseball. It isn't always pretty, but he gets the job done. This season, he is 17 for 19 in save situations. Only Rafael Soriano, 16 for 16, and Mariano Rivera, 15 of 16, have less blown saves out of those who have 15 or more save opportunities. Add to that his 2.28 ERA, 39 Ks in 27.2 innings, and the fact that he is 2-0 on the season and you are talking about some pretty impressive stats.
Yesterday's game only solidified his status as an elite closer. BWeez came in with the bases loaded and 1 out in the 8th inning with the score 5-4...
Now let's stop right there for a few seconds. In order to appreciate exactly how tough this save situation is you need to look a little closer at the scenario. There is ZERO margin for error here. There are a ton of ways you can score from third base without a hit, especially with the bases loaded and less than two outs. A sacrifice fly, an error, a fielder's choice, a walk, a hit batter, a passed ball, a balk, catcher's interference, A suicide squeeze, and more. Not to mention the fact that almost any kind of hit not only ties the game but probably puts the Giants a minimum of 1 run down, oh and don't forget the fact that they have 2 chances to get that run home! After that, you still have to come back out and hold the lead in the 9th!
Wilson rose to the occasion. He struck out Adam Rosales and got Rajai Davis to ground to Juan Uribe to get out of the jam. The 9th inning did show some of why Giants fans are so afraid to see Wilson out there. After he got Daric Barton to fly out, Mark Ellis singled, Kevin Kouzmanoff struck out, and Jack Cust walked. All that did was just create a little bit of drama as Wilson got Landon Powell to ground out to Juan Uribe to end the game.
Wilson's high-wire act saved Barry Zito's team leading 7th victory (who would have thought we would be saying that this season?). Zito had a quality start, only allowing 2 runs on 2 solo HRs. He gave up a total of 6 hits and two walks.
You have probably heard by now that,after this win, Zito has defeated each of the 30 teams in baseball at least once. You have also probably heard that this is his first win against his former team. But you may not have known that Zito's career record is an amazing 108-6 when he gets 4 runs of support or more. It's even more mind boggling when you realize that his overall career record is 139-108. That means in 102 of his decisions he has received 3 runs or less of run support. You just can't help but wonder what his career numbers would be like if he wasn't on some of the offensively challenged teams that he has been on. (although during his first few seasons as a Giant he would have needed 6 or 7 runs of support to win a few of the games he pitched.)
The other good news from yesterday's game is that Pablo Sandoval hit his first homerun in over a month. But the story is a little more encouraging than just that. Pablo says he told Andres Torres, before the AB, that he was just going to look for a pitch and then hit it out. You can tell from the replays he was a little too excited to have hit a homerun that gave the Giants a 4 run lead in the 6th inning. The other good thing about the homerun is that it was an opposite field shot. Which when Pablo is right, he shows that opposite field power. Hopefully that homerun means he is on the verge of being right again.
The Big right hander, Matt Cain, is going today. That makes a sweep seem very attainable. It's going to be fun to see if he can keep this amazing run of starts going.
On the farm:
TACOMA 11 - FRESNO 10
Brett Pill had his first professional 5 for 5 day and hit his 8th HR of the season. He also had 3 RBIs. Brock Bond continued his streak of getting on base with a hit, Jesus Guzman was 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs. His average is now up to .298 after he had been down in the low .200s earlier in the season. Not a lot of positives on the pitching side with starter Matt Kinney giving up 8 ERs in 4.2 IP. Waldis Joaquin took the loss while giving up 2 ERs in 1 IP.
SAN JOSE 12 - BAKERSFIELD 9
Brandon Belt was 1 for 1 with 3 runs scored because he walked 4 times. Juan Perez went 2 for 5 to raise his average to .325. Charlie Culberson was 2 for 4 with a triple, he hit his 9th Homer of the season, and had 6 RBIs. Wendell Fairley was 5 for 5 with 2 runs scored.
Nate got an AB in the 8th and flew out to right. Burrell and Huff each contributed and, so far, have looked OK in the outfield. The only way Nate gets a start is if Bochy decides to rest Bengie and have Posey start at catcher. That, or if someone gets hurt. Even then, there is no guarantee that Nate starts in the OF.