After an absolute debacle in D.C. the Giants had Barry Zito on the mound with hopes of stopping their three game losing streak – an exciting proposition, no? Zeets was far from effective, continually dancing in and out (more in) of trouble, giving up seven hits and three base on balls in just five innings but he managed to grab a win thanks to the Giants offensive outburst in the fifth. A walk from Justin Christian followed by a Ryan Theriot double, capped by a Melky Cabrera dong put three on the board with two more coming later in the inning thanks to some sloppy Pirate defense as the Giants took the series opener in a gritty 6-5 victory.
Hello, Outfield Platoon – With the struggles of Gregor Blanco and the effective play against lefties from Justin Christian, it appears that Bochy has a new toy at his disposal. Facing another lefty, Blanco again sat while Christian got the start and was very effective, finding himself on base three times, two via walk. This follows the three hit, three run performance in yesterday’s series finale versus the Nationals. A career .333 hitter versus lefties (small sample size though, 66 AB’s) and a solid defender, it seems as if we may have a platoon on our hands – at least for a couple weeks until the next flavor of the month appears.
Brad Penny Saves The Day – The Giants’ bullpen is beat up in more ways then one. They’re short handed right now, were missing Santiago Casilla making them even more short handed and on top of that, they’re just not pitching well. The orange and black needed a few big innings from Penny tonight and they certainly got it as he threw two innings of one hit ball after a near disastrous Zito start. Penny stifled the ‘Rats, kept the lead and handed it over to George Kontos and Sergio Romo who shut the door with relative ease. Javier Lopez also made a quick appearance, but was just as quickly removed as he gave up his first homer in a San Francisco Giants uniform – a BOMB to Pedro Alvarez that went over 450 feet and bounced out of PNC.
Easy As 1, 2, 3 – Listen, I know Santiago Casilla has got a lot of crap lately and I really don’t feel like piling on the guy, but, it’s hard not to love seeing Sergio Romo in the closing role. Some fear he lacks the mentality to be a closer (not sure about that) but the Giants’ normal setup man breezed through the top of the Pirates order en route to painless save. I’ve long felt he should be the closer over Casilla (even when Casilla was lights out), mostly because I don’t trust Casilla’s ability to command his pitches. When he was pitching in the 6th and 7th innings, as he did in past years for the Giants, Bochy didn’t have any trouble removing him from contests if he had trouble but when he’s in a closing role, Bochy refuses to pull him as it’s embedded into him that you don’t pull your closer until you have no choice. Romo’s pinpoint control and equally as nasty stuff would provide much fewer closing disasters.
With two games left until the break, the Giants will do their best to turn this into a .500 road trip, which would be quite the feat given how it started out.