I don’t really care if 2 wins in a row is poor excuse for the title of “winning streak” but after watching the Giants lately, you take what you can get. And what Giants fans got last night was another close win, with some 9th inning dramatics and good pitching.
Noah Lowry pitched well enough to earn the win, going 6 innings with 5 punch outs, 4 walks, and 2 earned runs. Lowry was pitched well this year but his control is still a concern. In 83.1 innings this year Noah was walked 39 batters for a BB/9 rate of 4.21. What has helped Lowry with his high walk total is that he’s boosted his ground out / fly out ratio to the highest it’s ever been. Previously, Lowry had hovered around the 1.0 mark but in 2007 his ratio has jumped to 1.83, a modest jump and still not in the league of ground-ballers Derek Lowe and Brandon Webb but it has helped Lowry out by getting more outs on the ground. He induced 2 double plays last night.
Poor control just hasn’t been relegated to Lowry, but most of the starting rotation has had trouble not walking guys. Matt Cain tops the NL with walks allowed at 43. Lowry and Zito also are in the top of the NL with walks allowed with 39 and 36 respectively. Team wise, the Giants rank 3rd in BB/9 only behind Florida (4.20) and Washington (3.73), the Giants have a rate of (3.71). Meanwhile, one of the top rotations in the league, San Diego, has averaged (2.54) walks per 9. The rotation has pitched solidly so far but eventually you would have to guess that all the walks are going to catch up with the staff. Throwing more strikes and not walking guys is a good thing that the Giants need to do more of.
A good example has been Matt Cain’s high pitch count. In almost every game this year Cain has been gassed by the 6th inning with a pitch count around 100. If he can cut down the walks then he should be able to last longer. In 13 games started for Cain this year, he’s thrown over 100+ pitches 9 times! It’s not like when Cain pitches past 100, he’s only throwing a couple of pitches over the century mark. The average pitch count for Cain when he exceeds 100 pitches is 113.5, which includes season high of 123. The lack of control is surely adding to Cain’s pitch counts. Many Giants fans have expressed concern with the way that Bochy has been handling Cain of late and I agree. Pushing a young arm hard through the early part of the season is very Dusty-esque.
It was also good to see Nate Schierholtz get a start last night. I dig the no batting gloves look and I hope that he’ll get a few shots to start and produce. Dave Roberts has looked good too since returning from the DL. Stealing bases and getting in position to score has been something that the Giants have lacked at the top of the lineup since he went down. We even had some good situational hitting last night which has been rare lately. Runner on 3rd with less than 2 outs and Klesko hits a ground ball to the right to score a run. Those Tom Emanski vidoes are paying off!
The other big news from last nights 3-2 was Randy Winn’s game saving catch in the bottom of the 9th, robbing a home run to keep the Giants up by 1. Winn got to flex his basketball roots by making a nice vertical leap at the wall to bring the ball back. The Hennessey closer experiment is probably going to have rocky patches like last night but what I did like was that he didn’t walk any guys. Hennessey is a strike thrower and thats obviously what Bochy likes about him.
Protect Ya Neck!
Rich Aurilia might be headed to the DL with neck pain. This is one of the problems when everyone on the team is past 35. You get old man injuries like this but still it’s not as bad as Orlando Hernandez’s trip the DL earlier in the year for a “arthritic neck”. Aurilia says that:
Aurilia said the discomfort has affected his performance. He has hit only .192 over his past 35 games.
Suuuure, Aurilia. Blame your crappy hitting on your neck!