Giants look to reclaim sole posession of first

giants aug 3 1
San Francisco Giants Pitcher Tim Lincecum (8 – 8, 2.90) was great but gave up a solo
home run to Los Angeles Dodgers Catcher Dioner Navarro on 20 July 2011 during the MLB
game between the Giants and the Dodgers. The Giants couldn’t recover from that run
against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers won 1 – 0.

By Jon Star

This was not the start to the dog days of August the Giants had envisioned. On July 27, the Giants held a three-game lead in the National League West. On Wednesday, San Francisco will take the field hoping to avoid falling into second place in the division after dropping its fifth consecutive game — tying a season high — while the D-backs have won four in a row, including the first two games of this series.

Following Tuesday’s loss, the Giants are now 7-4 against the D-backs this year, have won 10 of their last 14 against Arizona and are 33-14 against the D-backs since 2009. But with the season now into August, it is what happens each time these two teams match up from this point forward that will increase the intensity of the NL West race. The heat of the race has spiked like the Arizona summer, leaving Giants manager Bruce Bochy to see his team’s main competition in a different light.

“They’re quite a bit different. They have a pretty good pitching staff. They have a good rotation — [Ian] Kennedy, he’s one of the top pitchers in the game; he’s on pace to win 20 games over there. The guy we’re facing tonight,” Bochy explained before the Giants faced Daniel Hudson on Tuesday.

“They got some help getting [Jason] Marquis, who’s been tough on us. [Joe] Saunders is throwing the ball well. Very solid rotation. I think the biggest difference with this club is the back end of their bullpen. They’ve got two new guys down there that made a huge difference, but also some other good arms. The pitching is much better.”

Though the division is neck and neck, Bochy feels his club should remain confident given the lessons it learned during the run to World Series in 2010.

“I think we’ve already shown that this year, with the ups and downs we’ve had — either through injuries, losing players, losses. As you’ve heard me say many times, they’re a resilient bunch. They have that ability to turn the page and wash things off and come out the next day,” Bochy said.

“We have to play the month of August and September. We have two more series with Arizona, and there’s some good teams coming in after them. We look at it the same every day. They’re all important games,” he added.

The Giants will get their first look at Marquis on Wednesday after the right-hander was acquired from the Nationals at the Trade Deadline. Despite a 1-2 record in his last three starts, Marquis has pitched effectively. He has allowed seven earned runs over his previous 20 innings (3.15 ERA) with 12 strikeouts. He looks to keep the line moving after Hudson limited the Giants to one run over eight innings Tuesday.

Day-to-day consistency out of the starting rotation may be more pressing for the Giants. Tim Lincecum took a tough-luck loss Tuesday after allowing two runs over seven innings. Prior to Lincecum’s outing, Giants starters had pitched to a 5.31 ERA. The Giants will need Ryan Vogelsong’s excellent season to continue if they are to regain sole possession of first place. Vogelsong (8-1, 2.23 ERA) took a no-decision in his last outing after allowing three earned runs over six innings in Cincinnati on July 29.

D-backs: Upton, Montero extend streaks

Justin Upton hit a crucial two-run home run in the eighth inning Tuesday, extending his hit streak to 14 games. Upton is hitting .436 (24-for-55) with seven home runs, 21 RBIs and seven doubles during the streak.

• Miguel Montero has now reached base in 14 straight games since July 19 and is hitting .288 (13-for-45) with two home runs and nine RBIs during that stretch.

Giants: Bullpen hits bump in the road

The Giants bullpen had been rolling at home since the All-Star break. Giants relievers held the opposition scoreless for 17 innings at AT&T Park in that span, holding hitters to just one hit in 51 at-bats. That changed Tuesday night when Ramon Ramirez and Javier Lopez combined to give up four runs, four hits and two walks in two combined innings of work.

Worth noting

• The Giants are in a stretch during which they will have played 19 consecutive games against teams in playoff races, including the Reds, D-backs, Phillies, Brewers and Pirates.

See Related: Giants Archive

Comments are closed.