A win for the Giants! And a big one at that. It certainly had some frustrations and some moments that would do damage to any manicure, but it was a decisive win, and had a lot of good things going on for the Giants.
Edgar Renteria was acting a lot like he belongs in the second spot in the order, wasn’t he. Taking pitches, working the count, drawing a walk, going 2 for 3 with an RBI… his swing looked good, and I’m almost ready to believe that those bone chips were responsible for his dismal performance last year.
Mark DeRosa also made his mark, with a walk, 2 runs, and a squeaker opposite field shot that added another insurance run to the game… Plus a fantastic barehanded play off the wall in left field that turned a double into a single.
Molina made some big contributions behind the plate and with the bat. Perhaps the best thing I saw him all day was advance from first to third on Bowker’s soaring single to left with a good read on the fielder, putting himself in position to score on Uribe’s sac fly despite his atrocious lack of speed on the basepaths.
John Bowker got the big hit to keep the rally going, and made a capable if not spectacularly difficult play in the corner in right field that makes you breathe just a little bit easier about his defense. These guys are playing like they belong.
And Uribe did about as much as you can ask an 8-hole hitter to do.
Little needs to be said about Lincecum. He fell behind in some counts in the later innings, but what matters is that he didn’t walk anybody, he didn’t give up any runs, and despite putting some balls in the air, they stayed in the park. And it certainly beats getting chased off the field by the Brewers after the third inning, like last year. 7 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 7 K.
Not everybody was so convincing. Rowand looked… well, like he did at the end of last season. 0 for 5, with two strikeouts and three weak grounders up the middle, swinging early in counts. Huff contributed a hit, but also grounded into a double play. Ishikawa came in as a defensive replacement and bungled an important play. And Medders gave away the shutout and made the game a lot closer than it should have been.
But then Brian Wilson came in and shut the door about as hard as I’ve ever seen him. Over and above any funny business, he was painting the corners at 97 miles per hour.
This was a team that came in with confidence and did what they needed to do to win. This is the sort of attitude that can give them these important wins on the road over the course of the season. Playing .500 on the road is essential to their playoff chase, and if they can repeat this sort of performance with any regularity, they’ll have me sold. Rowand was flat, and Pablo and Huff didn’t do much cleaning up, but five contributing members on offense at the right time gives the Giants an easy win. Let’s hope this is a launching point.
I was going to look at the theoretical “everyday lineup” more in-depth, but I think it is a subject I will return to when we’ve had a few more games to see what kind of production they are getting in the meanwhile
You know, I was just going back and looking at the highlights of the Giants-Dodgers game at AT&T on August 12th… Yes, that game. Eugenio Velez taking out Russell Martin at home plate. McDonald pegging Sandoval on the hands and clearing the benches. Sandoval’s dodge on the basepaths. Manny answering with a slithery dodge of his own. Lincecum’s would-be complete game. Some of the most questionable officiating I’ve ever seen. And Uribe’s walk-off shot in the 10th to stave off sweep. Good old-fashioned hardball.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Hits it high, hits it deep… We are going home!” It’s been recycled over and over again in the season recap videos. But what grabbed me most about the videos was Renteria getting in Martin’s face when the benches cleared, still wearing his sweatshirt. Lincecum’s surprising burst of emotion when they gave Furcal that iffy call at first base. And Uribe walking off the field after the game-ending home run, only to have Freddy Sanchez jump on his back.
Sanchez had been a Giant for maybe two weeks at that point. He probably played in about five games. But he talked about coming from the Pirates, where he’s never known a playoff chase, or a rivalry like the one shared by the Giants and Dodgers. In that brief moment, you could see that he loved playing for San Francisco.
We might not have a very good offense at this point. It frankly makes me want to tear my hair out sometimes. But these guys want it bad. If the Giants stay healthy in 2010, the Dodgers and Rockies had better watch out.