If last night’s game was any indication, expect a lot more “torture” (or as Mike Krukow deemed it last night, “agony”) to come in the second half of the regular season. Madison Bumgardner had a strong outing and proved his maturity as a pitcher, allowing just one run off three consecutive singles in the 3rd. But for Bumgardner, the biggest obstacle was getting the run support he needed (early) and habitual offense is definitely going to be one of the major keys for post-All Star Game baseball.
With that said, I think the Giants really deserve some credit for last night’s game. They might struggle at times, but their maturity and perseverance remains. They deserve additional credit for taking advantage of late inning mistakes by the Padres, proving that this team is no joke and that last year’s World Series victory was no fluke. In last night’s game, the 9th inning was key in reversing biases. In the 9th, Aubrey Huff, who’s been struggling of late (with just a .269 batting average before yesterday’s game), homered off Padres closer Heath Bell, tieing the game with some late-inning magic. The blown save was only the 2nd blown save this year for Bell in 28 save situations.
From there on, it was a completely new game for the Giants (almost passing the four-hour game mark), making it difficult to imagine that the previous nine innings had even taken place, as their offense and defense provided some much-needed support and assistance in the 11th hour. Sergio Romo and Santiago Castilla preserved the tie up to the top of the 12th and then the Giants offense came alive. Players started taking walks off of poor pitch locations, stole bases to put themselves in scoring position (Burriss), and proved that consecutive singles (Sandoval, Schierholtz, Huff) can be just as valuable as home runs when looking to obtain wins. Ultimately, the Giants closed out the Pads in bases-loaded fashion, as Lopez and Wilson finally ended the game in the bottom half of the inning, preserving the score at 6-2.
It needs to be mentioned that since 2008, San Francisco’s pitching has remained one of their most powerful assets as a club. It remains to be seen if trades are actually needed before the deadline to boost the team offensively, or if they can find changes from within their own organization. In my opinion, before outside trades and transactions take place, the Giants management should instead look at the farm system for assistance, especially as their farm system has proved valuable for developing effective pitchers.
Single-A in San Jose should get exceptional recognition, especially with players like 3B Chris Dominguez, CF Gary Brown, and 2B Ryan Cavan, as they been successful thus far. Also, it should be noted that they have the speed and offensive drive the Giants need, especially with such frequent injuries. No doubt, decisions affecting their careers should be deliberated, but no one can doubt that their time in the majors may come sooner than expected.