The San Diego Padres, coming into town tonight to begin a three-game series, are last in the majors when it comes to scoring runs with 69. Contrasted with that is their team ERA of 3.15, which is the reason they fared so well against the San Francisco Giants last weekend, down in San Diego. San Francisco began by collecting five hits the first game (1 run), four hits the second game (1 run) and three hits the third game, from which they eked out four runs, thus salvaging the final game of the series.
Whereas the Padres have scored only 69 runs, the Giants have pushed 107 runs across the plate. The Pads have hit 13 home runs, second-to-last in the majors (Kansas City has ten), while the Giants have hit 29, fourth in the majors (Los Angeles Angels have 37).
The Padres’ pitching staff has 201 strikeouts, compared to 190 by Giants’ pitchers, and the Pads have walked 72 compared to 58 by the Giants (second lowest to the Milwaukee Brewers’ 57). The two teams have almost the identical WHIP: Giants: 1.22 while the Padres’ is 1.20.
As a team San Diego is hitting .222, while the Giants are batting .234. Contrast both teams’ averages with that of the Colorado Rockies, who are batting .294.
Since returning from the disabled list, Jeremy Affeldt has appeared in five games, pitching 6 1/3 innings while allowing two hits. He has been especially effective against right-handed hitters who have managed only one hit in thirteen at-bats.
Yan Gomes’s eighth inning home run was the first run given up by the Giants’ bullpen in the last nineteen innings.
The Giants set a National League record for consecutive sellouts with their 258th on Sunday.
Those worrying about Hunter Pence can begin to relax. Over the last six games, he has raised his average from .181 to .253.
Buster Posey may be slumping, but his home run in Saturday’s game was key insurance and his single in the ninth on Sunday, was the beginning of the end for the Tribe.
Brandon Belt is 2-20 in his last five games including four strikeouts in Sunday’s finale. He has struck out 11 of his last 15 at-bats. That being said, he has not allowed his offensive problems to affect him on the field. He made two fine fielding plays on Sunday, each of which included his getting the ball to the pitcher covering first, and has been digging balls out of the ground, as though it were routine.
The last team San Francisco swept during interleague play was the Tribe, who visited AT&T Park from June 24th-June 26th, 2011. However, if you go back to 2007, you find that Cleveland swept the Giants that season.
Brandon Hicks may have stone hands, as my friend Kevin Bobst maintains, but that was a pretty nifty play he made Sunday, backhanding a sharply hit grounder behind second base, and then after making a swift exchange from glove to throwing hand, flipping it to Brandon Crawford. Crawford caught it with his bare hand, and threw on to first base, where Brandon Belt gathered it in for the double play. A player who can make the dazzling play one day, may be forgiven for the occasional hardening of the hands the next.
Pablo Sandoval is struggling and there seems to be a connection between his head of late and his contract demands. Both are residing somewhere amidst the clouds, and until he improves on his 1-43 batting record, with two strikes on the count, his demands for a $100 million contract should be viewed in similar fashion: from a great distance.
Cleveland’s Yan Gomes hit an eighth inning home run in yesterday’s game, making it only the third earned run that Giants’ relievers have given up this season at AT&T Park. That computes to a 0.65 ERA in 41 2/3 innings.
So after a week or so of wondering when the offense would return from its fishing trip, the Giants seem to be finally aligning their quality starting pitching with their blossoming firepower. As always, timing is everything in baseball as well as in life. After this upcoming home series against the Padres, the G-Men will hit the trail for what will prove to be one of their toughest road-trips of the season, stopping in Atlanta for three, Pittsburgh for three and Los Angeles for the final four games.
San Francisco must not overlook San Diego while preparing to stifle the grating Tomahawk Chop in Atlanta. Rather, they must use this opportunity to flex their burgeoning muscles, and whip a little thunder on the Padres. I think Michael Morse is going to have a hand in this, having settled into the number five slot in the batting order, right behind Buster Posey. In fact, I feel certain of it, just as I’m certain that you’ll let me know if I’m wrong.