Despite a 31-24 record, it took the Giants eighteen series’ to complete their first sweep of the season and true to form, they picked the most difficult way to do so with a four game sweep
over the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs certainly did their part to help in the sweep, especially on the defensive end with outright blunders in four game matchup, multiple by Alfonso Soriano but none more painful then Starlin Castro‘s this afternoon. With one out and the bases loaded, Brandon Crawford hit a ground ball up the middle which may have been an inning ending double play. Fortunately for the Giants, we’ll never know, as Castro received the throw at second base and trotted towards the dugout, head down, as Buster Posey crossed home plate to tie the game. About halfway to the dugout, Castro noticed no other Cubs were following and that the out at second wasn’t the end of the inning. They got out of the disaster with the next batter, but the damage was done and the Giants sent the Cubs packing on a four game losing streak.
Vogel-Strong Again – Outside of San Francisco, there were plenty of question marks regarding Ryan Vogelsong and his ability to repeat his 2011 performance. Even around the Bay Area there were some quiet whispers, but the Giants’ fourth starter has silenced the critics with a 4-2 record to go along with a sparkling 2.38 ERA. Looking at the box score from today’s game, it wouldn’t appear that Vogelsong had his sharpest stuff but the Cubs couldn’t have thrown balls with better placement in the early stretches of the game as Ryan was singled to death, but he never broke concentration, keeping the Giants in the game by avoiding the big inning. Vogelsong, never one to catch a break, “lucks” out in his next appearance, which will be later this week against the powerful Texas Rangers.
Playing Smart Baseball – Another game, another clean slate. For the fourth consecutive tilt and the sixth out of seven, the Giants played an error free game after being absolutely woeful in the seasons first month plus. Needless to say, the winning ways can be contributed to the Giants’ improved infield play as they’ve went 6-1 in those seven games, the lone error game being their only loss in that stretch.
Ducks On The Pond – Although the Giants came away with the four game sweep, it wasn’t exactly pretty. The Cubs looked dreadful for most of the series and the Giants didn’t capitalize on a multitude of opportunities, something they’ll need to do against better teams to be successful. Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija was erratic all game, walking five and giving up seven hits in just five innings, yet, the Giants could only manage to plate two against the former Notre Dame star wide receiver, one of the runs a gift thanks to the Starlin Castro mental mistake. The Giants left eleven guys on the bases, seven left in scoring position with two outs. That cut it against the struggling Cubs, but upper echelon competition wont be as kind.
Thankfully, the Giants head to AT&T South for their next three, the Padres currently holding the worst record in baseball – so they’ll have time to improve before returning north to play the Rangers in a weekend series. Hopefully they’re not overlooking the Friars.