A long season gets even longer with these types of series, the ones the San Francisco Giants lose in similar fashion. How many of these games have we seen? A young starter on the mound who keeps the team in it despite a shaky performance, then comes the big inning for the opposing team, followed by no breaks in favor of the Giants. All in all it yields a loss, a result San Francisco is regrettably becoming used to.
Giants right-hander Kevin Correia is part of the new youth movement sweeping through the rotation, but as his fellow starter Brad Hennessey fared in last night’s 16-4 loss, his six and two thirds innings pitched gave the visiting Florida Marlins four runs. Since coming up from AAA Fresno, where he had a 3-2 record and a 6.07 ERA, he hasn’t fared much better. Two starts with the big club have led to one win and a 5.79 earned run average.
Today’s performance was no better or worse than previous outings, and it leads to questions asking if this is the best the Giants can do. Even if a team is not in contention such as the Giants are this season, what can fans expect to see from a team that isn’t too far away from the division lead? Granted, it’s a poor division with San Diego leading the way at exactly .500 following today’s loss, but the truth of the matter is this is a four team race. The Giants’ struggles and failure to capitalize on the poor play throughout the division is symptomatic of why the National League West is so terrible. Today all but one team lost, moving the once-dismal Arizona Diamondbacks to within 1.5 games of the Padres for the division lead.
On the other end of the spectrum sit the Florida Marlins, a team playing well enough to hang around in the divisional and wild card races. The National League East’s five teams are all realistically in this thing, making a once unexciting race full of push-overs into something to watch. Today’s 4-1 victory over San Francisco was somewhat out of the norm for them as Correia retired one of their most dangerous hitters first baseman Carlos Delgado three at-bats in a row, ringing him up twice on swinging strikeouts. Young superstar Miguel Cabrera got the offense going with a solo home run in the second inning. Starter AJ Burnett has been inconsistent this season but remains a key component to the Marlins’ success. He took matters into his own hands and gave the proverbial finger to his .098 season average when he teed off on Correia in the third inning. His home run put the Marlins up by a score of 2-1 and proved to be all the runs he needed. The scoring didn’t stop there. Right-fielder Juan Encarnacion lifted a 3-1 pitch into the left-field bleachers scoring catcher Paul LoDuca who got on by the way of the hit by pitch. All the runs scored on the Marlins side were in the name of the home run.
Edgardo Alfonzo has made his presence known since returning from the disabled list with the lone run batted in for the Giants today. His third inning single scored centerfielder Jason Ellison. With his two RBI in his first game back Friday night and one today, Alfonzo has put good wood on the ball and aided his mates in the field with solid defense. Right-fielder Moises Alou continues to prove that playing for his daddy was one of the better ideas general manager Brian Sabean has had in the past few years. Although the box score doesn’t show much for him today he reached base all four times he came up, smacking three base hits after getting beaned by Burnett in the second inning. Ellison’s 2-for-3 day came after three hitless games for him. Key players for the Giants continue to produce but it’s all the same in the 2005 season.
SFDugout.com’s Player of the Game: The newly returned Alfonzo. Hitting in the second slot of manager Felipe Alou’s lineup suited him well today, and where the third baseman was thought to be dead weight and trade bait only a sucker general manager would take, he’s getting the right hits at the right time.
Game notes: San Francisco’s bullpen—horrific most of last year and in the early season—continues to stabilize as the season goes on, at least when relievers Scott Munter and Scott Eyre come on. The pair has thrown up some impressive numbers this season, with twenty-six holds between them and a combined ERA of 2.45…Sabean’s dropped hints that Kirk Reuter’s exile to the bullpen will end sooner rather than later, causing the revolving door of starting pitchers for the Giants to spin faster…today is absentee slugger Barry Bonds’ forty-first birthday.
Chris has been a Giants fan since her days in utero. She loves baseball and writes about whatever she can get her hands on…even the Athletics. She's a Bay Area gal through and through. This is her 23rd season of fandom and first where she's had the honor to write for the Giants on SFDugout.com. Love/hate mail can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, where the love mail gets top priority and the hate mail gets used for kindling.
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