Until tonight's game started, I didn't really know what to say about the Chicago Cubs. They had a twelve game losing streak until the Padres visited Chicago, and then they swept the Padres. Now they're in San Francisco for four games. Were the Giants going to face a team that's getting hot? Were the Padres a fluke? Did I just kick two different teams while they're down?
Theo Epstein is their President. Starlin Castro is the shortstop, Darwin Barney is at second, and I'd remember a few more of their players if they had more names like Darwin or Castro. Maybe a Galileo Malone. A Mike Leibniz. An Ernie Banks.
In any case, like many of the other posts, I have a strong urge to talk offense. Blame 2011, but I've spent most of my time commending the likes of Buster Posey, Melky Cabrera, and Gregor Blanco, while taking the pitching for granted. The quick cure for this is to sit through any number of hobbled rotations and bullpens touring around the AL East or even, as we will next week, watch the Padres.
But after letting Ryan Vogelsong's last quality start slip by (7IP, 6H, 1ER, 3BB, 8K, with lots of gutsy pitch selections to get those Ks), I vowed to talk pitching. Through eight innings, it looked like a great night to do so. Madison Bumgarner had eleven strikeouts, no earned runs, no walks, but six hits (two of which were erased by the two double plays that Steve Clevenger grounded into). It looked like he might pitch his first shutout. After two hits in the ninth, and an Alfonso Soriano home run given up by Santiago Casilla, we could question whether or not Bochy should have pulled Bumgarner (whose final line is 8IP, 8H, 2ER, 11K). Fortunately, Javier Lopez made it a moot point.
For a moment there, I thought I'd have to rewrite this whole entry--as you can't really make bad jokes about a team when they come back from a four run deficit. Instead, I get to mention that after five straight losses by the Dodgers, the Giants are only four games back.
So, back to the offense. Although things quieted down after the first three innings, Melky Cabrera had another multi-hit game. Angel Pagan now has a twenty-five game hitting streak at home, which is the longest streak in the Giants' organization since at least 1918 (apparently the data wasn't so Baseball Reference and #SFGStats ready back then).
Cabrera and Pagan have been hot at the plate, so how about some less likely news? Ryan Theriot reached base on every plate appearance, with three hits and a walk. Looks like he might want to keep his sorta-starting second base job when Pablo Sandoval returns. If the Cubs keep things up--they're 18-33 at the moment--do you think they'd be willing to give up Darwin Barney? The Giants already have a Christopher Marlowe in their organization.