April hasnít been kind to the orange and black so far this season. The bats have been alive and hitting, but questionable pitching has landed the Giants in fourth place in the west, trailing the Dodgers, Padres and Diamondbacks. The Giants have now dropped six of their last eight games.
Trying to put an end to the Giants funk Wednesday night was their 24-year-old lefty Noah Lowry. Since the start of Lowryís rookie campaign last season, he had yet to record a loss. Lowry began his career at 7-0. He started 16 games in a row without losing, second most in the Giants history. He could not extend his streak to 17 games, as he picked up his first career loss against he DíBacks.
On the mound Lowry was shaky early, having trouble locating the strike zone and walking five. He would however find the plate, allowing only two runs on two hits in five innings. The two runs would be plenty though, as the Giants couldnít string a rally together.
Countering Lowry and the Giants hitters on the hill was the right-handed veteran Javier Vazquez. Heading into his Wednesdays start, Vazquez hadnít faired too well in 2005. His first three starts resembled an extended session of batting practice, starting off 0-2 with an 11.77 ERA.
Vazquez fared much better in his fourth start of the season at the expense of the Giants. He lasted seven innings, allowing eight hits and no runs. He walked and struck out a pair, while reducing his ERA over four points.
More times than not when a pitcher walks the lead off hitter in an inning it is a recipe for disaster. This is exactly what happened in the third inning, as Lowry walked Vazquez to start the inning off. The DíBacks capitalized on the walk and went on to score the first two runs of the game, off a double to center by Luis Gonzalez.
The Giants finally scored their lone run of the game in the bottom of the ninth on a sacrifice fly off the DíBacks closer Brandon Lyon. But that would be it, with the game ending at 2-1.
The Giants bright spot of the game was again Edgardo Alfonzo, who continued with his offensive assault, going 2-3 with a walk. Alfonzo is leading the league in hitting and is continually making impressive plays at the hot corner.
The only good news going for the Giants right now is that their slugging right fielder Moises Alou is expected to return to the line up on Friday. Barry Bonds wonít be returning as soon however, with his rehabilitation going slower than expected.
Thursday nightís series finale will have ex-Giant Russ Ortiz (1-1, 4.24) squaring up against Jason Schmidt (2-1, 3.00). Schmidt will be making his fourth start of the season, as he comes off a loss in Colorado where he allowed four runs in five innings.
Cord has been a Giants junkie since he could blink and is an enthusiast for playing and watching most sports. Getting paid to be around baseball is his ultimate goal and he is confidant it will happen soon. Hit him up at Cordnowell@gmail. com
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