The Giants opened the second half like a team bound to forget about the last three months – which is exactly what they need to do. It sure felt like a classic Orange Friday last night, a 2-0 victory over the Snakes. And the Giants used a classic formula for the win: Offense scores early, starting pitcher goes 7 strong, bullpen locks the door, and it’s good night. That’s how playoff teams play, and it’s going to take many more games like that down the stretch if the Giants want to be a playoff team. But for now, the deficit is 5.5 with a chance to gain more ground tonight and tomorrow.
Some thoughts from the win: In case you forgot what kind of pitcher Chad Gaudin was before the Giants gave him a shot this spring, allow me to remind you. Since making his ML debut in 2003, he’d been with 8 different teams, hadn’t made a start since 2009, and hadn’t had a full-season ERA under 4 since 2006 with Oakland. Now, he’s the Giants’ #2 starter, and he just keeps getting stronger. Last night’s line: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K. That’s domination for any pitcher. For a pitcher with Gaudin’s history, that’s an epiphany.
Ryan Vogelsong is getting ready to start pitching in live games again, and could be back by early August. Tell me Gaudin isn’t the perfect source of motivation for Vogey to regain his 2011-2012 form…
It was nice to see the bats jump on Ian Kennedy early, but they really could’ve gone large in the 1st inning. Instead, Crawford flies out on one pitch, leaving the bases loaded. 17 runners left on base for the night. That has to get better.
That 8th inning… whoa. Four pitchers, Lopez (does his job), Rosario (does not), Mijares (does not), and finally Casilla, who promptly walked Aaron Hill in his first action since returning from knee surgery, loading the bases for the pitcher, which he easily…. Wait, no, he loaded the bases for Paul freaking Goldschmidt! A note for future reference: That can’t happen. Goldy grounded out sharply, and the Giants were lucky to get out of the inning with the lead, let alone a shutout. If we’re going to climb out of this hole, that group has to pitch better. But hey, a win’s a win, right?!
Matt Cain can make the Giants a very confident team tonight with a strong performance. 5.5 back.