Day off from baseball?
Sure, the San Francisco Giants had Monday to rest and they probably needed it. But that doesn’t stop sports geeks from mentally running into overdrive, poring over every potential outcome of the series ahead.
Tuesday begins the only two days that San Francisco will play at home in the first 16 days of June with a two-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays. After that, it’s back to the road where the Giants are a woeful 10-17.
While most media, fans, and the team would love to simply forget the performance the defending World Champs put on in Canada last month, it’s hard to shake the memory of the worst team in the American League East getting the best of the then-NL West-leading Giants.
Following a much-needed Sunday matinee win in St. Louis, the Giants (30-27) head back to McCovey Cove with a hitch of confidence. Here’s what the G-men need to do for a bit of redemption against the Jays (24-33):
Errors: The Giants’ visit to Toronto was the beginning of their recent woes on defense, which led to Toronto outscoring San Francisco 21-9 at the Rogers Centre last month.
The Giants have already tallied 40 errors in this young season. And while they’re not leading the league in errors, they aren’t too far from the bottom: The Dodgers lead the league with 44.
Silver lining: The Giants haven’t notched an error in their last three games; a stat that was easy to overlook as they were dominated by the Cardinals in Saturday’s double-header.
Offense: Following a stint — both at home and on the road — where cold bats dominated nearly the entire lineup, the Giants offense has started heating up again, even scoring early in Sunday’s game against the Cardinals and taking an early lead.
A problem that still needs fixing, though, is one that has plagued them in past seasons: Stranding too many men on base. The Giants have gone 21-for-115 (.182) in their last 14 games with men in scoring position. And that’s just not cute.
A kale-fueled homer from Hunter Pence might be a preferred way of clearing the bases, but solid line drives from every leg of the lineup — like Brandon Belt’s two-run double that led the Giants to a 4-2 road victory on Sunday — would be a big help.
Think Thursday’s win against the A’s, where hits were finding infield gaps. There’s nothing wrong with singles or doubles when they’re helping the team score runs.
Putting runs on the board early in the game and not waiting for ninth innings heroics will help as well, especially for Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito, Tuesday and Wednesday’s starting pitchers.
Starting pitching: Chad Gaudin relieved pressure from the Giants bullpen Sunday with a win in his spot start (6 innings, 4 hits, 5 strikeouts, no walks).
One of the biggest conversations going into Tuesday night’s game remains how Lincecum is going to perform.
It isn’t as though No. 55 has completely tanked this season: He has a 3-0 record with 30 strikeouts in the four outings where he has given up fewer than four runs.
The Timmy who showed up against the Braves on Mother’s Day seized control of the strike zone, striking out seven and giving up just two hits in a seven-inning win.
The worry, of course, is that the bad Timmy is going to show up who gives up multiple runs and can’t make it out of the third inning.
If he can harness the control he had against Atlanta, Lincecum has the potential to stay in the game. He could also use some offense to back him up against Josh Johnson (0-1, 6.86 ERA) who is getting his first start since April after being on the disabled list.
You’ve been warned: Stay away from watching/listening/going to this series if you aren’t a big fan of intensely loud booing. Melky Cabrera isn’t going to receive a very warm reception.
And by “not very warm,” I mean it is going to be ugly.
Cabrera already made things look bad last year when he used a fake website as his alibi for purchasing a product that was tainted with testosterone causing a positive drug test.
Nobody knows for sure who is really telling the truth, but the Giants want to put the soap opera behind them. If nothing else, this series hopefully provides closure.
The Giants get the two-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays started on Tuesday with first pitch at 7:15 p.m.