This series in New York is a microcosm of the many different ways the 2015 version of the San Francisco Giants can beat you. And it’s why I believe this team is more dangerous and more talented than any of the three, recent world championship teams.
Beat you with pitching? You bet. The Giants’ team ERA is 3.80, in the top half of MLB at 14th in the league. The team ERA for their championship seasons (2010, 2012, and 2014)? 3.36, 3.68, and 3.50. Beat you with offense? No problem. The G-men are batting .275 collectively this season, tied for first in MLB with the Rockies. Their batting averages during the world championship seasons: .257, .269, and .255 respectively. So far this year, this offense is generating 4.2 runs per game versus their championship years: 4.3, 4.4, and 4.1. But remember, the Giants got off to a really slow start offensively their first 14 games, going 4-10 overall, while averaging just two runs per game. If you look at their last 46 games, they’re averaging 4.7 runs per game. How about power? The world championship teams posted averages for home runs per game of: 1.0, .64, and .81. In 2015, the team averages .85 home runs per game, but the home runs have come in bunches in the last month, since Hunter Pence returned and Brandon Belt found his power stroke again. With over 100 games to play, it’s still too soon to crown this team the best in the past six years, but it’s sure looking that way.
Nori Aoki and Joe Panik continue to provide a powerful 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup. They went 7 for 10 in this one, with a home run, four runs scored and two RBIs. Aoki went 4 for 5, scoring two runs, continuing to be a catalyst for this offense. “I feel like he’s always on base,” said Panik (speaking of Aoki). “It’s great because with his speed, pitchers worry about him…I’m the recipient of that sometimes.”
Panik extended his hitting streak to 14 games and on base streak to 22 consecutive games. Panic is now hitting .407 with three home runs and 10 RBIs over the past 14 games. Panik’s family and friends from his hometown in Yonkers, NY are attending these games, making it extra special for the Giants’ second baseman.
Brandon Belt broke a 4-4 tie in the sixth inning when he hit a two-run homer to left, right into the seats occupied by a large group of Finnerty’s fans wearing orange t-shirts. Finnerty’s is a well known San Francisco sports bar in New York City. The home run was Belt’s eighth on the year as he went 2 for 5 with a run scored and two RBIs, raising his average to .296.
Justin Maxwell added his fifth home run of the season, also in the sixth, to cap the five run uprising that turned the game from a 4-2 deficit to a 7-4 Giants’ lead. And Buster Posey continued his hot hitting, going 2 for 5 with two doubles, a run scored and three RBIs. Buster is now hitting .295 for the season.
Tim Hudson (4-5, 4.60) struggled in this one, allowing four runs over five innings, along with two walks and eight hits, while striking out just one batter. But the Giants bailed him out when they scored five runs in the top of the sixth inning, crediting Huddy with the win.
The Giants’ bullpen once again pitched very well, giving up just one run on 3 hits over the last four innings, while striking out nine. Casilla pitched an uneventful ninth to close out the game for his 18th save.
This writer will be in the stands tonight (yay!) at Citi Field when the Giants go for the sweep with Tim Lincecum (6-3, 3.29) taking the mound against Jon Niese (3-6, 4.43). The left-hander Niese has lost his last four decisions. Lincecum hasn’t pitched great lately either, giving up four runs in each of his last three starts. He does pitch well against the Mets, as he’s won his last six decisions against them and has fashioned a 2.88 ERA over 11 starts.
- The G-men kept pace with the Dodgers who won their third straight, and still trail the L.A. by one game for first place in the National League West