Before I say anything, I’ll reiterate what I said in my series preview: I’m not worried about Tim Lincecum and today did nothing to change that. He’s not walking guys, he’s still getting swing-throughs, and today he was victimized by some God-awful defense behind him. So with that out of the way, let’s talk about the game.
I refuse to worry until May, and I stand by that. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Lincecum got the first hitter of the game out on two pitches. Then Placido Polanco hit a pop-up to right-center on the fourth pitch of the inning, that really should have been caught for the second out. Instead it fell between a bewildered Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera, leading to a disastrous four-run first inning. After that, Timmy settled down for the most part while the Giants offense made it feel just like 2011 again.
Now let me go out of my way here to say that I think this year’s offense is better than last year’s. The unholy tandem of Chris Stewart/Eli Whiteside is no longer catching. Brandon Belt is kind of getting to play some more. Buster Posey is Buster Posey. Things aren’t terrible. But I’ll be damned if Emmanuel Burriss doesn’t look like the second coming of Brian Bocock. There was one particular at-bat of Burriss’s that comes to mind right away. Facing Roy Halladay with runners on, he saw four pitches. All four were breaking balls in the dirt, and all four were swung at. Needless to say, it wasn’t pretty.
But Burriss wasn’t the only problem with the offense tonight. So far this season, the Giants have been a team that hits surprisingly well… in the first three innings and then not at all after that. Not counting tonight, they’ve hit .282/.352/.427 in innings 1-3. In innings 4-6 they’ve hit .239/.293/.434 to with .200/.287/.356 for innings 7-9. What all these numbers indicates is that this is a team that’s making zero adjustments the second and third time through the order against a starting pitcher.
Typically a pitcher will go over what worked and what didn’t after his first tour through a batting order. He’ll adjust accordingly, and hope for the best. Once he does this, a team with a hitting coach who knows what he’s doing will have his team adjust as well. The Giants don’t seem to be that kind of team. What we saw in the first few innings against Halladay was a measured approach against a really good pitcher. Then we got to the middle innings where Halladay noticed he could flop a curveball in for strike one to every hitter while no one did anything about it. This was quickly followed by three of the fastest trips to the plate ever, as the Giants failed to get him to throw more than nine pitches in a single inning from the 6th to the 8th.
Proper adjustments were not made, as hitter after hitter went up to the plate with no plan of attack. They’d stand there wide-eyed after the first pitch curveball, then swing wildly at the next pitch no matter where it was. Halladay, being the artist on the mound that he is, barely had to break a sweat.
And that’s my doom and gloom for tonight. Joe Blanton goes to the hill for the Phillies tomorrow, so at the very least we get to face someone a tad more mortal on the mound. If the offense continues to not make adjustments late in games though, we may start to see this offense regress in the worst way.