After the Giants beat LA on Thursday night, raising their flag symbolizing their first place position, they were feeling pretty good. On Saturday night, however, the flag went right back down to the second place position.
The Giants were shut down by the Brewers for the second straight night. This time it was at the hands of the Brewers' ace Yovani Gallardo. Gallardo, in his 7 innings of work, yielded just 1 run on 5 hits, while walking 1 and striking out 6. In the two games in this series, the Giants could only muster 1 run, a far cry from their 10 run outburst against the Dodgers on Thursday night.
The only runs that scored off Giants ace Tim Lincecum occured in the top of the fourth inning. With the bases loaded and 2 outs, Matt Lucroy dumped a bloop single to right field, scoring 2 on the play and making the score 2-0 Brewers.
Bochy took a gamble and pulled Lincecum in the bottom of the 5th with runners at first and third with 1 out. Lincecum had pitched well, going 5 innings, giving up 2 runs, 2 walks, 6 hits, and striking out 3. Schierholtz, the pinch hitter, worked a walk to load the bases. This was the only shot for Lincecum to get a win, but it did not happen. The next batter, Mike Fontenot, grounded into a force play, giving the Giants their first run and cutting the deficit to 2-1. Next came Juan Uribe, who popped out. This would be all the scoring as the Giants would lose 2-1.
The game did not come without frustrations from both sides. The Giants and Brewers both had a beef with home-plate umpire C.B. Buckner. The most notable gaff from him came in the bottom of the ninth inning. With a 3-1 count on Aubrey Huff, Brewers closer John Axford threw a pitch that appeared to be below the knees, according to television replays, but Buckner waved his arm signaling a strike. This would have put Huff on first, and Bruce Bochy would have pinch ran speedster Darren Ford, but Huff would swing and miss at the next pitch, striking out. Axford would then go on and strike out the side, earning his 22nd save of the year.
As has been the case all too frequently, Tim Lincecum was the hard luck loser, falling to 14-10. Yovani Gallardo earned the win, improving to 13-7.
For now, the crowd of 41,767 at AT&T park had to watch the Giants' flag fall down to the second-place position. If they want to raise their flag again, they certainly need to step things up tomorrow and on the 6 game road trip coming up.
The Giants are in trouble. They had to win this series if they wanted to go to the playoffs, and they could not do it. I know I might be burying them early, but with the way Colorado is playing, especially at home, they have to put some distance on them going into the big three-game set against them at Coors Field on Friday. As it stands, the Giants are only a half game ahead of them with one more against the Brewers. If they can be at least 2.5 games ahead of them by that series, they would at worst be a half game behind them if they get swept and 1.5 games ahead of them if they lose 2/3. Now, with the Rockies breathing down the Giants' neck, that flag of theirs may be heading down to the third-place position. Not to mention, the Dodgers are the worst spoilers I have seen in a long time, getting creamed by the Rockies today 12-2.
The offensive production by the Giants right now is unacceptable. You can't go in and score 1 run in 2 games against the Milwaukee Brewers and expect to win in the post-season. Sure you faced two of their best pitchers in Gallardo and Wolf, but you are going to be facing ace-type pitchers every day in the playoffs. You got to find a way to beat these teams. That's what good teams do (i.e. the Phillies). I could be wasting my breathe here because they always come back and score 10 runs the next day after getting shut down, but such is the roller coaster ride that is the San Francisco Giants.
I didn't see the opening at first, but Pablo has to go for the double play with the bases loaded and 1 out in the top of the fourth. When a ground ball is hit to you so close to the bag and you got a slow-footed Prince Fielder coming in from third base, the play has got to be made. Posey is a very tough catcher, and I have no doubt he would have held on to the ball if Fielder tried to railroad him. As it turned out, the next batter hit a bloop single to right field, and there went the game for the Giants. Nonetheless, if the Giants score like they are capable of doing, this is all a moot point. Unfortunately, lack of experience in the big leagues hurt Sandoval there. While most baseball players at his age are making those mistakes in A-Ball, unfortunately for the Giants, he is making those mistakes here in the big leagues. I give F.P. Santangelo credit for this point.
This and That
The Giants are 19-56 when scoring less than 4 runs. The Brewers improved to 2-4 against the Giants this year. Andres Torres, Giants lead-off man who they truly miss, began running on a treadmill today and could be ready as early as next week when the Giants start a 3-game series at Coors Field. Tomorrow, the Giants send out Barry Zito (8-13, 4.02 ERA) against Chris Narveson (11-7, 5.05 ERA).