Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The PG Beat: Giants complete sweep of Pirates in extras, Cain throws gem, Eugenio Velez!

No, that is not a Photoshop image or a picture from last year. That is indeed a picture of Eugenio Velez scoring the winning run. Not pictured: Velez kicking butt and taking names at the plate.

Last week against Colorado we had Retro-Jonathan Sanchez night. Today, in game three of the series against the Pirates, it was Retro-Matt Cain day as Matt Cain threw an absolute gem only to NOT get the decision because the Giants couldn't seem to muster a single run in nine innings of play. Thankfully, Randy Winn, who struggled all day, came through for the G-men and drove in the winning run to give the Giants the 1-0 victory in the 10th inning. Seriously, if the Giants would have lost this game to the Bucs, and traded Tim Alderson for Freddy Sanchez all in the same day, I would have broken my television. That's how bad things could have gotten.

By the way, I don't want to talk about the Freddy Sanchez trade mainly because I'm going to post an article about it later that I wrote for Bleacher Report. Just to give you a preview though, the trade makes me scratch my head. Just when I thought Brian Sabean was done with trading good prospects for questionable veterans, he comes out and does this. This trade deadline habit with Sabean may be worse than the plight Michael Corleone went through in the Godfather Part III.

Yet back to the game. Cain good or what? Say what you want about him, and how he lets on a lot of people on base and all the sabermetrics stuff. In the end, the guy can flat out pitch. I mean, I absolutely love the way he pitches. He works fast, he gets guys out and he gets ahead in the count a lot. That's really all it takes to be a good pitcher at any level, and I think Cain really could be a good one at the Major League level for a long time. I know Lincecum is the sexier pitcher stuff-wise, and when it comes down to it, Lincecum is the guy I want on the hill in the big game just because of his strikeout ability. However, Cain could easily be the ace on any other team and I thank God everyday that we have a one-two punch in Cain and Lincecum. This black and orange combo very well could be Maddux-Glavine of the next decade. That's how good these two pitchers are and how lucky Giants fans are to have them.

Never mind that he didn't get the win in this one. This was a performance that not only should have been a win, but a shutout. It's a shame the Giants hitters don't know how to lay off a first pitch changeup.

Speaking of hitters, where the hell did Eugenio Velez come from? I went to the game last night (a reason why I didn't have the Potent Preview yesterday or today and PG Beat yesterday) and Velez was killing the ball. He crushed his home run and the double he hit was crazy. I mean, this was Eugenio freaking Velez we are talking about! I didn't know the guy could hit it in the gap, let alone over the right field wall. Whatever has gotten into Eugenio, I hope he keeps it up. Velez has always been one of those guys I've secretly rooted for, and I was disappointed it hasn't really worked out at the Major League level like some thought it could have a year ago. That being said, maybe this call up can be his time to shine. With the way he hit in the Pirates series, manager Bruce Bochy will be hardpressed to keep him out of the lineup. With awesome speed, a dynamic glove and a surprising amount of pop in the bat, Velez provides a lot to a Giants lineup that needs some spark. Granted, this was the Pirates, and this may just be a streak, but hey, I'm all for letting it ride on the kid for the time being. Come on Bochy! Keep in Eugenio!

To sum up the series, I don't think you could ask more from a team if you're a Giants fan. We were the better team going in and we ended up proving it by getting the sweep. Was it pretty? No, but I'll take it, especially with Colorado dropping two in New York and Los Angeles getting their butts handed to them in St. Louis for two games. This was exactly the series the Giants needed to get back into the swing of things and they did just that. The Phillies won't be as easy, but it's safe to say with this sweep that they have a lot of momentum and a lot more confidence going in than they did a week ago when people were wondering if the Giants' first half was just a mirage.

That of course is still to be determined, but overall, I'm happy about the wins and I hope Sanchez and Sadowski (who is still in the rotation much to my surprise) can hold down the fort for the first two games at AT&T against Philly. It will be tough for those two, but in their own home park (where Howard, Victorino and Werth won't have the benefit of playing in Coors Field 2) I give them a good chance against the Phils, probably more than most handicappers would.

Postgame box notes:

Winning pitcher: Brian Wilson (3-4) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO.
("Should have been" Winning pitcher: Matt Cain 9 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 SO.)
Losing pitcher: Matt Capps (2-6) 0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO.

Giants standouts: Eugenio Velez, 2-4. Randy Winn, hit game-winning RBI.
Pirates standouts: Zach Duke (7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 87 pitches. That's efficiency!)

Probable starters for Giants next game against Philadelphia: Lopez (3-0) vs. Sanchez (3-9).
Probable starters for Pirates next game against Washington: Lannan (7-7) vs. Ohlendorf (8-8).

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