On Monday, the Giants did what their team was built to do: win behind dominant pitching, and just enough run support.
Madison Bumgarner had pitched a gem (7.1 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 7 K), but the Giants failed to score any runs in the first 10 innings of the game. In the 11th inning, Nate Schierholtz stepped up to the plate with runners on first and second and crushed a triple to make the score 2-0. Brian Wilson came in and recorded his 41st save of the season, as the Giants cruised to their fifth victory of September; they are now 5-1 in the month.
The Giants are starting to get the drift of things: that their pitching and defense is what's going to win ballgames for them.
The outfield was at one point manned by a trio of Cody Ross, Andres Torres, and Schierholtz, almost the defensive equivalent of Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, and Ben Zobrist. And to be honest, Pat Burrell and Jose Guillen are not much of an offensive upgrade over Ross and Schierholtz—at least not enough to outweigh their poor defense and lack of speed.
Schierholtz really deserves more playing time: he can hit with pop; his K rate is lower than that of Burrell, Guillen, Ross, and Torres; he has speed, plays excellent defense, and has a cannon in right field. Hopefully, when Burrell and Guillen are nothing but faded memories next year, Nate will finally be given a chance to live up to his potential.
- Aubrey Huff was 2 for 5, and did not strike out once. He's starting to find his groove again...hopefully. He's the team's MVP, and the Giants can't afford to have him struggle. Torres has been struggling, too, though his 1 for 5 with two strikeouts is not as promising of a performance as Huff's day at the plate. These have been their most valuable player for the year, and are key to the Giants' success.
- Freddy Sanchez took a hat trick: three strikeouts. Maybe that day off was not a good idea?
- Brian Wilson is making a strong run at the Rolaids Relief Man Award. According to RolaidsReliefMan.com, "The [award] is based objectively on statistical performance, rather than subjective opinion. A reliever is given 2 points for a win, 3 points for a save and -2 points for a loss." Wilson is currently first in the NL standings, so he would win the award if the season were to end today. It's hard not to question the legitimacy of the award, though, when Luke Gregerson ranks 253rd in the NL standings for the award.
- Six of the Giants' last eight starts have been quality starts, which is good to see after a dismal overall pitching performance in August. Once Huff and Torres get their bats going, the Giants will truly be a potent team.
- Bumgarner's ERA ranks fifth in the majors among the 18 rookies who have started at least 10 games.