GAME 37: San Francisco Feat
GIANT KILLER: The Giants are far from the league’s best offense (they’re ranked 13th out of 16 teams), but they’re a much better offense against lefthanders (ranked seventh). Fortunately, Jaime Garcia‘s hotel pillow had the correct number of stripes and he was able to pitch a gem. He went 7.1 strong innings, giving up just one run while striking out a season-high nine. Like most of his career thus far, this performance was a radical shift from his previous few starts. Can we get some consistency, Jaime?
GREENE OUT FRONT: Another trend reversing itself involves Cardinal whipping boy Tyler Greene. Absolutely abhorrent at the plate for weeks, Greene seems to suddenly be responding to increased playing time. After his big day on Tuesday, Greene followed that by stroking a double down the line in the first to set up the Cardinals’ first run. He also added a stolen base in the fourth. I’ve always liked the concept of Greene at the top of the lineup, so it was nice to see him get that chance and make it work.
THAW: David Freese was frozen in a slump that saw him go hitless over the last homestand. He looked tense, tenative at the plate. But the kid remained patient, and last night he broke out of the funk with a 3-4 night that included his first home run in over a week.
CONCERN: Despite the four run night, the Cardinals were still only 1-8 with runners in scoring position. Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman both went 0-4. Scoring four runs without stringing together hits is definitely not how you will win many games.
SKIPPERDOODLE: Leave it to the wondrous Skip Schumaker to show how it’s done! Skippy came in to pinch hit for Greene, and smashed a double over the head of Gregor Blanco in left field to score two. THAT’S timely hitting, and also the reason why so many fans are pulling for Schumaker to win the second base job. Tyler, don’t get nervous just yet!
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Garcia.
CONCLUSION: An excellent start to the road trip. Quality pitching combined with solid defense and just enough runs usually means a win in this game. We haven’t seen those elements much recently. Hopefully this sets a tone for the rest of the trip.