Sunday, August 9, 2009

The PG Beat: Giants recover from Friday's humiliation, Molina breaks out, Velez still hot

The good news after today? At least we aren't going to get swept by the Reds. Believe me, after Friday's loss that heinous thought certainly crossed my mind. Those kind of losses like the won we had on Friday at AT&T can certainly stick with a team simply because they are so devastating. The Giants had the game won, were on the verge of getting another leg up on the Dodgers before their crucial series on Monday, and everything fell off the wagon just like that. Watching that game was like watching a friend who had been through AA and sober for four years, only to go on a drunk rampage one night out of the blue. It simply was unfathomable because while Friday's performance may have been characteristic of the Giants perhaps the last couple of years, it certainly was the story of this year's Giants squad.

Saturday though, the Giants really made up for it by garnering the 4-2 win over Cincinnati and pitcher Bronson Arroyo. Believe me, this one wasn't very pretty or didn't come easily either. Alex Gonzalez, Brandon Phillips and Wladimir Balentein continue to befuddle the Giants at the plate and in the field, and Pablo Sandoval went 0-for-4 (even though he hit the ball hard on occasion). Those are recipes for disaster, right? Well, not if Bengie Molina, who's been ripped all year for being in the cleanup spot despite his lousy OBP and sub par power number, goes 3-for-4 with a double, home run and three of the Giants' four RBI. And it also helps if Eugenio Velez continues his hot streak and adds a home run for the second straight game.

Seriously, this whole Eugenio Velez really is tough for the Giants organization, just because the Giants will have to make a very gutsy decision when it comes to the future of one of their outfielders. Velez has no place in the infield, simply because Freddy Sanchez is the mainstay at second, and Juan Uribe is most likely going to be the guy rotating with Edgar Renteria at the shortstop position. So, if Velez continue to hit well, and the Giants find a need to keep him in the lineup, that means when Nate Schierholtz comes back from injury either Winn or Lewis is going to get seriously bounced from playing time. The worst part of this is that you have the feeling it's going to be Lewis, even though lately Fred has been hitting much better than Winn at the plate. Lewis isn't as good a defender as Winn, but Winn has a duck arm in the outfield too. Either way, it'll be interesting with this crowded outfield of Lewis, Winn, Rowand, Velez, Torres, and Schierholtz on the roster, all guys who certainly deserve playing time for one reason or the other.

Lastly, another great outing from Zito. This guy really has had an underrated year on the mound. He is really having a lot of quality outings and he's keeping the Giants in a lot of games, something we necessarily couldn't say about him the last couple of years. That being said, the one thing I don't like is the fact that Bochy has little faith in him in comparison to Lincecum and Cain. Look, I know Zito has been struggling the past couple of years, but he has been pitching good to a point where I think he deserves to keep the ball even if he's in a situation that may lead to trouble. I think Zito has developed as a pitcher in San Francisco where he can get out of those jams, and should get the opportunity to do so as well, even if it would be more convenient to go to the bullpen.

By the way, sorry I did not get to this until today. I was gone all day Saturday, and even though I listened to the game on KNBR, I did not have the energy or the concentration to write the PG Beat last night. I'll have today's PP and PG Beat up today though.

Postgame box notes:

Winning pitcher: Barry Zito (8-10) 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO.
Losing pitcher: Bronson Arroyo (10-11) 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO.

Giants standouts: Eugenio Velez, 2-for-4, HR (3). Bengie Molina, 3-for-4, 2B (21), HR (13). Fred Lewis, 2-for-3.
Reds standouts: Brandon Phillips, 2B (19). Wladimir Balentein, 2-for-3, 2B (1).

Probable starters for next game: Harang (5-13) vs. Cain (12-3).

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