Saturday's game was characterized by dominant pitching and poor umpiring behind the plate. Madison Bumgarner pitched a beautiful game, allowing only one earned run on three hits through seven innings. The lone blemish was a third inning solo shot off of the bat of Yorvit Torrealba. Bumgarner only needed 79 pitches to get through seven innings, as he pitched extremely efficiently.
His counterpart, Tim Stauffer, also pitched very efficiently, going six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits. The bullpen trio of Gregerson, Adams, and Bell came in and shut the Giants down, to secure the 1-0 victory, but more importantly, to reclaim first place as their own.
Jerry Crawford, the umpire behind the plate, just called a bad game overall. His strike zone was too wide, expanded on the outer half of the plate, forcing the Giants to protect pitches outside. The effect it had on them was noticeable: Buster Posey, for example, struck out twice and grounded into a double play, not the kind of game one would expect out of him after a day of rest.
This is not the first time that this umpiring crew has given the Giants troubles. Earlier in the second half of the season, Travis Ishikawa had scored the game-winning run in a home game against the Mets, but umpire Phil Cuzzi called him out. From the video replay, it was pretty obvious Ishikawa was safe.
It's unfortunate that the Giants had to face this problem in such a critical game—any game against the Padres is critical at this point. The Giants are now one game back in the NL West, and will need to win the series finale in order to once again pull into a tie for first place.
Madison Bumgarner has had a very decent rookie campaign, but one of the most impressive numbers he has put up is his road ERA. After Saturday's quality start, he now has an ERA of 2.14 in nine road starts.
The Giants rotation is finally dazzling. Ten of their last 13 starts have been quality. Andres Torres has put up impressive offensive numbers this year. His 64 extra-base hits, for example, are among the top 10 in the National League. He is struggling mightily of late, though. He's 8 for his last 60 (.133 avg). This has taken away a large part of the Giants' running game, too, as Torres is now rarely on base.
Pablo Sandoval seemed to have altered his batting stance during his pinch-hit at bat on Saturday. It will be interesting to note if he does this again on Sunday...
Are the Giants turning into the Padres? The Padres are characterized by three main factors: low scoring, dominant rotation and bullpen, and speed on the basepaths. The Giants are scoring very few runs, and their rotation and bullpen have been lights-out for the most part.
Without many runs coming by virtue of the longball, they're trying to steal more—like Huff's steal on Friday, or Ford's attempted steal, which ended Saturday's game.
In terms of scheduling, the Giants appear to have the upper hand for the rest of the season over the Padres. The Giants will have more rest days (19 games as opposed to 21 games remaining). The average winner percentages of the Padres' and Giants' opponents for the rest of the season are as follows:
Avg Win Percentage of Opponents for Padres: .528
Avg Win % of Opponents for Giants: .497
Based on this, it would appear the Padres have a tougher remaining schedule.
Lastly, the Padres will play 13 of their remaining 21 games away from home, whereas just seven of the Giants' remaining 19 games are on the road.