Be still, my beating heart! The Giants have won 5 games in a row. Before you raise the “Playoffs or bust!” banner, playing the Padres might have had something to do with our mini-streak. The Pads lineup isn’t bad, they’ve got some very nice hitters in Giles, Gonzalez, Gerut, Kouzmanoff, and Headley but their pitching staff, usually a strength, is in pieces. Maddux is gone in his yearly trade to L.A., Chris Young has been injured for most of the season, and Randy Wolf was traded to the Astros. What’s left is Jake Peavy and group of ragtag minor league journeymen and other assorted pitching fodder. Petco is a pitchers park, but it won’t turn weak pitching into gold.
So, yeah, the Padres are terrible but the Giants are less-terrible!
One of the bigger news items of the weekend was Tim Lincecum’s continued dominance and his continued ascent up the ladder of great Giants pitching seasons in history. Over the weekend, Lincecum became the 7th Giants pitcher since 1956 to record 200 or more strikeouts in a season. The last Giants pitcher to strikeout 200 hitters or more in a season was Jason Schmidt in 2004, he struck out 251 hitters that year, the most by a Giants pitcher since 1956.
Here’s our list of pitchers that have struck out 200 or more in a season, ranked by year.
Schmidt struck out 200 or more in back-to-back seasons in ’03-’04. Previous to Schmidt, the last Giants pitcher to strikeout 200 hitters or more in a season was John “The Count” Montefusco in 1975. The 1960′s were time to some of the best Giants pitching in franchise history. Juan Marichal made our list five times for his seasons in the 60′s and joining him was Gaylord Perry, who made the list four times. “Sad Sam” Jones and Ray Sadecki finish our list.
It’s amazing that from 1976-2002 the Giants did not have a single pitcher that recorded 200 strikeouts in a season. Then again, the 70′s and most of the 80′s were pretty tough times for the franchise. Here’s the top 10 Giants pitchers from ’76-’02 that just missed the 200 strikeouts milestone.
Not a bad collection of pitching. Schmidt just missed the mark in ’02. It might surprise you to know that Shawn Estes’ 1997 season is one of the best seasons by a Giants lefty since 1956. It currently ranks 4th in ERA+ (for those wondering, Atlee Hammaker’s 1983 is #1). Krukow, Montefusco, Vida Blue, and a couple of Russ Ortiz seasons finish our list, we even have a Livan sighting.
~ Jonathan Sanchez is “feeling fine” and could start a game in the Cincinnati series. SFGiants.com speculates that he might come off the DL on Wednesday. Matt Palmer pitched well enough to earn himself another start in his last outing, so the Giants could and should take it easy with Sanchez. He’s put in a large workload this year and his health will be key for next years team.
It’s also apparent that Bochy doesn’t want to go to a 6-man rotation right now:
There had been some discussion about using a six-man rotation, but Bochy nixed that idea — for now.
I would like to hear his reasoning. The team will be “monitoring” Lincecum and Cain for the remainder of the year and a 6-man rotation would be one way to try and lessen their workloads.
~ Noah Lowry threw 20 pitches in a bullpen session on Saturday. Small progress for Lowry who has mostly been playing catch for the last month and not pitching off a mound. He might find his way to Winterball if his arm is feeling well. The Giants will be paying Lowry $4.5M in ’09, his last contract year with the team.
~ Farm Watch: Giants 1st rounder, Buster Posey, is getting some action with the AZL Giants. Over three games in the AZL, he’s hitting: (.308/.308/.462) in 13 AB’s. Most think Posey could move quick through the system. Brandon Crawford, the Giants 4th round pick, left a S-K game on Saturday in the bottom of the 3rd with a “ankle/leg injury“. Crawford grounded out and then when the team took the field for defense, he was substituted for. It’s possible that he tweaked or rolled his ankle when he was running to first on the groundout. Hopefully it’s nothing serious.