Giants Bats Quiet, Dodgers Quieter in Shutout

The Giants shut out the LA Dodgers at AT&T Park tonight, 2-0 behind Tim Hudson (2-3) who gave the men in orange and black 6-1/3 innings of solid pitching, scattering five hits. Sergio Romo got credit for a hold and Pablo Casilla nabbed the save.

Buster Posey was the offensive story for the Giants, collecting the only RBI of the strange night game. The Giants left nine runners on base and hit only 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position. But tonight it was enough to win their fourth straight.

Every other team in the NL West won tonight but the G-Men picked up a full game on the Dodgers and are now 3.5 games back at 21-18.

Tomorrow’s game pits Tim Lincecum (3-2, 2.43) against the Dodgers’ Brett Anderson (2-1, 3.50). Timmy’s coming off a rough start in Cincinnati where he went just 4-2/3 while giving up five hits and three earned runs before giving way to the pen. But his two previous outings were strong. Back in front of the home crowd, I think he rebounds and pitches a solid game to lead the Giants to their fifth straight victory. Call it 5-2.

Running Out of Things to Say About the Giants

Chris Heston became the unlikely stopper for the Giants on Saturday, leading them to a victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. But a team is only as good as the guy who pitches the day¬†after the stopper does his job. And on Sunday, Tim Hudson was shaky, ineffective and in trouble from the opening gun. I couldn’t figure out why Bruce Bochy left him in so long.

Giants' Tim Hudson blew up early and never recovered.

Giants’ Tim Hudson blew up early and never recovered.

In the end, it was as it had been for eight of the previous nine games as the G-men started a new losing streak with a 5-1 defeat at the hands of the D-Backs. Their record is now 4-10 and at .266 they are the third worst team in baseball. Only Milwaukee (.167) and Miami (.231) have worse records.

This time, the Giants did do one thing different. Whereas in most of the recent losses, they’ve wasted opportunity after opportunity, this time they just didn’t create any chances to waste. They stranded only five base runners and only two of them in scoring position. They just didn’t hit at all as Jeremy Hellickson tossed 6-2/3 innings of decent ball, scattering eight hits and giving up just one earned run.

Hudson, meanwhile, fell behind 2-0 in the first and never really recovered, leaving after five innings of work for another non-quality start.

Today, at long last, the Giants get a day off. They are the only team in the majors to have been forced to endure 14 consecutive games to open the season, a scheduling snafu I refuse to see as an accident. As far back as I’ve been able to research it, no other team has been forced to go 14 straight right out of Spring Training without a day off. The D-backs, by comparison, are enjoying their second day off today. That grueling schedule has no doubt played a part in the Giants’ poor start and MLB should be ashamed of itself for such a stupid move. But at the end of the day, professional players need to overcome those kinds of obstacles and the Giants clearly have not.

Tomorrow, the Dodgers, leading the NL West at 9-3, come into AT&T Park to face Tim Lincecum (0-1, 2.25) in the opener. They’ll throw Brett Anderson (1-0, 3.27) at the home team. The Dodgers have played nine of their first 12 at Dodger Stadium and are on a seven-game winning streak.

The odds are stacked against the orange-and-black in this series. They have the second worst runs scored vs runs allowed margin in all of baseball, having been outscored by 25 compared to the Brewers’ 35.

I’m afraid the Dodgers will continue the Giants’ losing streak despite a good effort from Lincecum.

Los Angeles 4, San Francisco 1.

So Much for Predictions

Predicting is a difficult task, particularly when it involves the future.

That’s something I used to say when I was a technology analyst and it’s clear it holds true for sports, too. As reader Michael Payan pointed out in a not-so-subtle email followup to my prediction of a Giants’ two-run win yesterday, “At least you got the margin right.”

The feast-or-famine offense of the Giants is going to drive me nuts again this season. And I’m afraid we’re going to see the G-men lose a lot games where they score less than three runs.

The biggest problem with the offense isn’t hits, it’s runs. After just 3-1/3 innings of yesterday’s game, the Giants had had 10 men on base and left nine of them. The 10th was doubled up. Going into the game, the team was in the bottom third of all of baseball with an average of 3.71 runners left in scoring position.

If hitting isn’t timely, it’s as bad as not hitting.

Young Chris Heston acquitted himself pretty well for his home debut and for a change the bullpen didn’t blow up. But the sticks? They were just absent.

Giants Rightie Tim Hudson

Giants Rightie Tim Hudson

Today’s game features Tim Hudson against substitute starter Christian Bergman. Hudson had a great start in San Diego, scattering five hits over 6-1/3 innings. Bergman, who’s only in the rotation because of an injury to Jorge De La Rosa, has faced the Giants twice at AT&T Park, and has a 1-0 record and 3.75 ERA to show for it.

Watch Buster Posey today. He’s “owned” Bergman, though the two have faced each other only five times. In those five ABs, Buster has four hits including a homer and a double¬†and four RBIs.

My prediction? Gulp.

How about Giants 3, Rockies 2?