If the patterns continue, the Giants should score 10 runs and hit 3 home runs in tomorrow's series finale at Wrigley field.
Ever since the San Diego series, the Giants are in a rather odd hitting funk where they get shut down for two games (scoring 2 runs or less in each of those) and then score 6 or more runs on the following game. To illustrate, the Giants' run output since Game 2 of the Padres series looks like this: 1, 0, 6, 0, 2, 10, 0, 1, 9, 1, 0. Every third game, the Giants score sufficient runs to win.
Unfortunately for the Giants, tonight's game was only the second game after scoring 9 runs against the Brewers last Sunday at AT&T Park. The Giants have now been shut out 4 times in their last 11 games.
The Cubs, on the other hand, were able to push a couple of runs across. In the bottom of the third, Kosuke Fukudome lead off with a home run down the right field line, giving the Cubs a 1-0 lead. This would prove to be enough to win.
The Cubs would tack on another run in the bottom of the fifth inning. With a runner at second and nobody out, Sanchez threw a wild pitch, advancing the runner to third. Buster Posey tried to gun him down and third, but the ball skipped by Sandoval, scoring the runner and giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead.
Jonathan Sanchez certainly pitched well enough to win, but as has happened so many times in recent years, a Giants' pitcher was the tough luck loser. Sanchez pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up 2 runs (1 earned), 4 hits, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts. He took the loss and fell to 11-9.
Cubs pitcher Randy Wells (8-13) out-pitched Sanchez. His 7 2/3 innings of shutout baseball propelled his team to their 69th victory of the season. Carlos Marmol came in the eighth and earned his 34th save, striking out Freddy Sanchez on a hanging breaking ball with runners at second and third with 2 outs.
The Giants had chances in the game, most notably in the first inning. After Cody Ross popped out, Freddy Sanchez doubled to right-center. Aubrey Huff then singled to right, but Sanchez could not score. Up came Buster Posey, last night's hero, but he struck out, lunging at a Randy Wells slider outside. With 2 outs, Pat Burrell came up but struck out looking.
The Giants have every reason to be optimistic about tomorrow's game. After all, it is a game after getting shut down offensively in the two previous.
I am just baffled as to why the Giants were shut down by Randy Wells. This pitcher had an over 4 ERA and was 7-13. All night long, Wells was hanging breaking balls, but the Giants for some reason could not capitalize, especially in the first inning. I don't know what it is, but the Giants are either fouling off or swinging and missing at pitches that should be hit a long way. Buster Posey, in the first inning, struck out on a curveball that was up (on the outside corner albeit, but that's his hot zone). It's hard to blame Buster Posey for not getting the run in in the first inning since he's already done so much for this team, but the Giants have got to find a way to get at least one run in there. I don't know what's going on with this team.
I refuse to say that Wells was fantastic tonight. It's not that he was good, but it was the horrible plate approach the Giants had tonight. In 7 2/3 innings, the Giants could only push Wells' pitch total up to 91. He should have been out of there in the fifth or sixth, but the Giants just refuse to work the count lately. They were doing it so well earlier in the season, but now it looks like they are trying to yank everything here during the stretch run, trying to do too much. Everyone wants to be the hero, but it's just not happening for anyone right now.
Bad umpiring continued to haunt the Giants. I thought they really had a chance against Carlos Marmol in both the eighth and ninth inning. Freddy Sanchez, with the tying runs in scoring position, got a couple of good pitches to hit, but could not capitalize. He fouled off one, but struck out on (yes, you guessed it) a hanging slider. Then in the ninth, so of those strike calls to Huff and Posey were just unfair. Some of Marmol's sliders crossed the plate at the shins, but they were called strikes. Thanks to the home-plate umpire's sudden redefinition of the strike zone, the Giants were robbed of a couple of good hitter's counts.
This and That
The Giants have now gone 16 straight games giving up 3 runs or less. Bruce Bochy says Andres Torres could be ready to return to the Giants' lineup as early as Friday after an appendectomy on Sept. 12. Edgar Renteria will have his sore right elbow re-evaluated on Thursday. Tomorrow, the Giants face a tough pitcher, Ryan Dempster (14-10, 3.50 ERA). The Giants will send out Madison Bumgarner (5-6, 3.27 ERA).