Cross-country flights are never things MLB players look forward to (barring a return to their home city), but they’re certainly a bit more entertaining coming off a win and series sweep. The Giants didn’t have the easiest time, winning two of the three contests by a lone run, but the only important factor was the final score and the Giants did what they needed to do against the Astros. The win, combined with another loss in Los Angeles for the Dodgers gave the Giants a 1 1/2 game lead in the National League West as the fading Blue have went from an impressive 42-25 to 48-42 in a month’s time.
Continued RISP Struggles – Despite the sweep, the Giants didn’t have much success with runners in scoring position the past three games. Hell, they haven’t had much success all season, something that has haunted them playing upper echelon teams. The Giants again left double digit runners on base today, six of which were left in scoring position with two outs. That might be enough to keep your head above water with the Astros, but it wont be with teams like Atlanta and Philadelphia, both of whom the Giants play next. If the Giants want to return to the Bay with a winning trip, they’re going to need some better AB’s in the clutch.
Bullpen Steps Up – Matt Cain pitched well, but left in the 7th with a mini crisis on the basepaths. Thankfully though, Jeremy Affeldt came in and quickly shut down the threat in his 1.1 innings of work. Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez were each asked to get a lone out before giving way to Santiago Casilla, who got the final two outs of the game with relative ease despite a loud chorus of boo’s as he entered the game. It took four arms to get through three innings, but the Giants escaped unscathed.
So Long, ‘Stros – Although the Giants will play the Houston Astros three more times (in Houston, August 28-30th) before the season ends, today marked the final time the Astros would come to AT&T as a member of the National League. The ‘Stros, who will be moving to the American League next season to equalize the amount of teams in each league depart AT&T with a 1-5 record in 2012. It wont be the last time the Giants see them in San Francisco though as they’ll become members of the AL West and return to AT&T in interleague matchups.
The Giants will have a travel day (although they’re leaving tonight) before taking on Atlanta on Tueday and Philadelphia later to end the week before a ten game homestand which will feature the Padres, Dodgers and New York Mets.