Friday, August 22, 2014

BASTA: Giants Split Doubleheader Against Cubs

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The theme of this series really has to be the rain. The Giants took two out of the three games in this surprisingly rainy series, and many think they should have swept.

The first game of the impromptu doubleheader ended with the same verdict as the five-inning version: a Giants' loss. The game was resumed from the bottom of the fifth and the Giants drew blood in the sixth. They had to dig there way out from a 2-0 deficit, and they began this process in the sixth when Joe Panik pinch-hit for Joaquin Arias and hit an RBI single to drive in rookie first baseman Adam Duvall. Afterward, both teams were held scoreless for the rest of the game. However, the Giants came very close to scoring in the ninth. Duvall led off the inning with a groundout followed by Panik and Crawford hitting back to back singles to put the tying run in scoring position with one out. After Blanco struck out looking, Pagan drove a ball hard up the middle, but unfortunately it deflected off of the pitcher Hector Rondon, and he was then able to pick up the ball and underhand it to first. Everybody thought Pagan had a hit, but unfortunately the Giants were not that lucky. After the game manager Bruce Bochy said, "We all thought when Pagan hit the ball it was going through."

On the other side of the ball, the pitching was superb for the Giants. Yusmeiro Petit "started" the game for the Giants today and pitched two perfect innings with five strikeouts. Jean Machi and Jeremy Affeldt then followed with hitless innings to close out the game.

With this game, the Giants were trying to become the first team to win a protested contest since the Pirates beat the Dodgers in 1948. Unfortunately they could not, and Anthony Rizzo's two run homer in the first inning on Tuesday was enough for the Cubs to squeak through. The Giants did look sharper in the second half of the game as they had more hits and were the only team to score. The pitching was also excellent throughout the game for both teams, especially the Giants who pitched today. Fortunately, the Giants' luck improved in the next game, allowing them to take the series.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Giants came back and won 5-3. The Giants scored one in the first on a Posey RBI, but the bottom of the first haunted them with Bumgarner giving up three runs on two home runs. Fortunately these were the only runs Bumgarner gave up as he settled down for the rest of the game. He pitched 7 strong innings, scoreless after the first, and he recorded a whopping 12 strikeouts. The bullpen then closed the game out with two scoreless innings using Javier Lopez, Sergio Romo, and Santiago Casilla, who picked up the save, his eleventh of the season. Bumgarner also got his 14th win today.

In this game, the Giants spaced out there runs scoring one in each of these innings: the first, third, fourth, fifth, and seventh. Posey went 4-4 with a home run and two doubles, one RBI and two runs scored, providing a huge offensive boost to the Giants after his day off yesterday. Sandoval also went 3-4 with two doubles and two RBI. Morse had an RBI as well, and Bumgarner knocked in Arias in the fourth on a line drive single to left field.

Here's the look at Posey's night:

Overall, this second game was great for the Giants with solid offense, although it did come very slowly over multiple innings. They also had the stellar pitching we have come to expect, with Bumgarner settling down after a poor first inning. The Giants take this series and stay 3.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. Hopefully they can continue the winning against the Nationals tomorrow at 4:05 PT, the beginning of a three game road series.

–Fittingly, there was another rain delay during the first game today that halted it for one hour, 57 minutes, bringing the total delay—including Tuesday's game-ending stoppage—to a whopping six hours and 32 minutes, or 48 hours depending on how you look at it. It also drizzled again in the second game, although it did not need to be stopped.

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