Matt Cain was dominant through 7 innings last night against the Cubs, but the Giants couldn’t find any run support for him. Jeff Francoeur fixed that with a 2-run bloop single in the bottom of the 7th, and Cain was in line for the victory. Leading 2-1 in the 9th, Sergio Romo allowed a hit and a walk to start the inning. Romo would come back with a strikeout and a groundball to third, but the Giants could only get an out at second. That set up a showdown between Romo and Anothony Rizzo, the Cubs’ powerful first baseman.
With a 3-2 count and two outs, the Orange Friday faithful rose to their feet in support of their closer. Romo threw a slider that came back over the plate, and Rizzo hit a sharp grounder toward first. The ball that would have ended the game went right through Brandon Belt’s legs and into right field. Both runners came around to score. The Giants failed to respond in the 9th, and lost a heartbreaker, 3-2, falling 10 games below .500 and 8 back of the division-leading Dodgers, who beat the Reds 2-1 in Los Angeles
Last night’s loss pretty much sums up the Giants second title-defense season: not enough offense, shaky late-game pitching, and defensive blunders.
Belt will undoubtedly be thrown under the bus by fans and media after his costly 9th inning error, as well as his mistake on the bases, getting caught between 3rd and home on Francoeur’s go-ahead single in the 8th. Belt has certainly had a hand in the Giants’ success of the last few years, but he’s also contributed to their woes in 2013. I’m not hear to defend him to the death – honestly, I don’t think he’s done enough to be the hands-down choice for first base on this team – but to call for his trade and put him down after last night’s loss is simply making him the scapegoat.
I only point this Belt stuff out because of the fury of rage that was thrown his way last night on the internet (and I’m sure the airwaves as well). If you don’t think the guy is a good enough player to be our starting first baseman, that’s one thing. But don’t say he needs to be sent down the road because his error helped the Giants fall from 9 games under .500 to 10 games under .500. That’s a joke, in my opinion. It wasn’t like Rizzo hit him a lazy chopper. Romo hung that slider, and Rizzo squared it up. The ball rolled to the wall in right field, in case you missed it. Do I think Belt needs to prove himself at the plate a little more before this season is over? Yes, I do. But would I be ok with the Giants making a knee-jerk reaction and trading him because of one bad game? Nope, I sure wouldn’t.
Ok, that’s my rant on Belt. In other news, the Giants brought in Guillermo Moscoso, who was pitching for the Cubs in AAA. It’ll be interesting to see who the Cubs get as the player to be named later in this deal, if that’s the route they decide to take. My theory on this: Moscoso is going to be in the rotation before long, and Cain and/or Bumgarner will be getting some rest. This season is about over, folks.