What looked to be a routine top half to the first inning for Cubs starter Justin Germano quickly went south after the Pasadena native got the first two outs. A sharp single by Pablo Sandoval followed by a Buster Posey single and Hunter Pence walk loaded the bases for Hector Sanchez who improved his horrific .270 OBP% with a hit by pitch, giving the orange and black a 1-0 lead. The flood gates opened from there though as newest Giant, Xavier Nady, who was called up with the roster expansion drilled a rocket down the left field line, unloading the bases, giving the Giants and Tim Lincecum a 4-0 lead – a lead they’d never relinquish.
Effective Lincecum – Tiny Tim had it working today, despite giving up a dinger to David DeJesus as the Freak tossed 6.1 innings of four hit, seven strikeout ball. His changeup was sharp, the fastball placed well, the slider, breaking – it was one of his best starts in quite some time. An early large lead combined with the Wrigley winds blowing in gave Tim all the confidence he needed as he ran through the Cubs lineup. It was the first time Lincecum struck out more than five batters since July 31st.
Dude Looks Like A Nady – No, Xavier Nady certainly wouldn’t top the wishlist to replace Melky in left field, but the options are limited and despite the fandom Gregor Blanco seems to share with so many, his offense is completely non-existent – something you can’t have in the middle of a pennant race. Defensively with Nady in the outfield, its a clear downgrade from Blanco – both in speed and range, but it might be a trade-off the Giants deem worthy, especially if it helps the bottom of the lineup keep the line moving. I’d expect to see a lot of Xavier in September with Blanco replacing him late as a defensive specialist. It’s far from ideal, but, it sadly might be their best option. /cringes
Race To October – With 29 games left in the Giants’ season after today (28 for the Dodgers after tonight), the Giants have nobody to blame but themselves if they falter in their bid for the postseason. Tomorrow’s tilt with the Cubs marks the Giants’ last game east of Colorado for the season and once the Giants finish their mid-September road trip to the mile high air along with a three game stint in Arizona, they don’t leave the state for the rest of the season. Meanwhile, the Dodgers still have a late season East coast trip that will take them to both Cincinnati and Washington, both of whom are fighting for the best record in the National League. The opponent winning percentage left for the Giants is .468, .521 for Los Angeles. But as we all know – the games aren’t played on paper.
Here’s to a series win tomorrow and a 5-1 road trip.