Things were looking bleak at the beginning of last week for our favorite group of scrappy gamers, savvy vets, and green but awesome rookies. August was the team's worst month of the season and saw the team fall from right on the heels of the division leading Padres to 6 games out. August saw the team fall from atop the wild card lead to fighting to stay in second place. The team's ace was in a month long slump with an ERA in the 8's.
All of the little things that went right in July went the other way; this all seemed to culminate in the now infamous broken bat triple and throwing error that broke the Giants heart. Then the team decided mentally to turn the calendar.
The monkey that rode the teams back for August has abandoned ship and jumped onto the Padres bandwagon. It warms my heart to see the Padres struggling for the first time this season (finally) and it would be an early Christmas present if they went into a full on collapse.
Things aren't that different from when the Giants were struggling but I have a new sense of confidence in this team. Southern California road trips have a history of trashing good feelings but maybe this time it will be different.
The Giants embark on a 10 game road trip that goes through LA, Arizona and San Deigo and also marks a stretch of 16 road games of the next 22 games. This will test the team and see if the baseball gods are really with us or if they just like to mess with us mere mortals.
Billingsley is the personification of pure evil. He inspires irrational hatred for me. You know the feelings that so many have against Russell Martin? That's the way that I feel about him. I want him to trip and fall on his face every time he throws the ball.
Zito has worked a season-low 3 2/3 innings in his past two starts, allowing a
combined 14 runs (12 earned) and 13 hits in those outings. Zito traditionally
has thrived in September, posting a 25-14 record with a 3.71 ERA in that month.
Billingsley hasn't allowed more than three runs in a start since July 16, and
he's gone fewer than six innings just once in the same span. In the start he
didn't go six, he went 5 2/3. Billingsley had control issues last outing, when
he walked five.
I hope Zito goes out there and redeems himself for his lousy August. Also if he shuts down the Dodgers and embarrasses Billingsley I will be a very happy camper.
Cain has been the Giants ace from about June on as Lincecum worked through his rough patch. I still think that if there is a big game to be pitched Cain is the guy I want on the hill until Lincecum puts together 2-3 starts like his old self.
Cain showed his characteristic toughness in his last start, against Arizona,
working out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the first without any runs
scoring. He lasted 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs, and received a
no-decision in a 9-7 win.
Lilly finally lost a start last time out, against Colorado, when he let up
seven runs in four innings. He's 5-1 as a Dodger, but he hasn't pitched well
against the Giants in five career starts: despite a 3-1 record, he has a 5.12
ERA and 1.48 WHIP.
For the finally on Sunday Night Baseball, we have Dirty Sanchez. He played the stopper role his last few starts and hopefully doesn't have to play it again. It would be an encouraging sign if he can put together 3 good starts in a row but I am not over optimistic. Sanchez still is been madingly inconsistent and is likely to through 100 pitches in 3 innings is he is give you a quality start.
Sanchez has pitched into the ninth in two of his past three starts, including
last Monday vs. Colorado, when he had a shutout through eight before the
Giants fell, 2-1. But Sanchez has continued to alternate a good start with a
Kuroda's gone at least seven innings in five straight starts but is just 2-1
in that span. He no-hit the Phillies for 7 1/3 innings in his last start, a
seven-strikeout, 7 2/3-inning performance. He's been better at home (3.15
ERA) than away (3.69).
It would make me oh so happy for a series win and continued Padres losses. Universe is that too much to ask for?