Refreshing stat of the weekend: Both Saturday and Sunday, the San Francisco Giants had six batters with multi-hit performances. Not coincidentally, the Giants scored 18 runs between the two days and won both games handily.
It’s hard to get too excited about the offensive uptick when it came in Denver’s thin air and against talent-poor Rockies hurlers. But it was encouraging to see Buster Posey slam two home runs in a game and to see Hunter Pence, who missed a few games with a hamstring issue, return to the lineup and make a big impact—including his three doubles and three RBI on Sunday.
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It’s also nice to see the Giants exhibit depth in the hitting department, with super-utility man Kelby Tomlinson continuing to rake and Jarrett Parker bringing his pop to the lineup. While it would be nice to see Parker get more of an opportunity to show what he is capable of, that would come at the expense of Gregor Blanco, who has been on fire while handling left field in place of the injured Angel Pagan. Blanco is 10-for-22 over the past week. Factor in his four walks, and his on-base percentage is .538 in that time.
Denard Span and Brandon Belt also have been hitting well lately, as have Brandon Crawford and Matt Duffy. And Joe Panik, who entered Saturday’s play with a mini 0-for-10 slump, snapped out of it with three hits between the two games.
Even with the productive weekend, the Giants still are averaging a touch under four runs per game in May. That works well enough when the pitching staff’s 2.70 ERA in May leads the Majors. Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto each offered another quality start over the weekend, giving the Giants 15 of them to match the 15 wins they’ve recorded in the past 17 games. Matt Cain appeared to be on his way to a similarly strong outing Friday night, before pulling his hamstring in the second innings.
Now it’s off to Atlanta, where the Giants can feast for four games against one worst teams of the past decade. The Braves hold a 14-35 record, including a cringe-worthy 4-21 record at home. They’re not completely incapable, however. They just took two of three games from a decent Miami Marlins squad, and prior to getting swept by a mediocre Milwaukee Brewers squad last week, they took two of three from Philadelphia.
The Giants are a far superior team, but they do need to be careful: Atlanta’s young pitching staff is decent, and closer Arodys Vizcaino (1.31 ERA, 13.3 K/9) is lights out. So, if the Giants continue to struggle hitting in low altitudes, they could end playing a series of close, low-scoring games. And if Vizcaino is allowed to come in and do his job a couple times, that could be problematic.