Game Notes and Comments: at LA Dodgers April 16-18, 2010

Game 1 Friday April 16th – Dodgers 10-8
The Giants hope that Todd Wellemeyer’s great Spring Training stats would somehow spill over into the first several months of the regular season and solve their 5th starter problem is going up in smoke. In Wellemeyer’s defense, his general body of work was contrary to his performance in March; the Giants just crossed their fingers and tried to will him to be a good starter.

Todd Wellemeyer through 4/18/10
 

W/L IP H BB R ERA WHIP
0-2 10.1 13 7 11 9.52 1.94

In the top of the 5th inning, centerfielder Aaron Rowand was hit in the face by Dodger starter Vincente Padilla. Padilla, who has a reputation as a bad teammate and a headhunter, was released mid-season last year by the Texas Rangers because he was “regarded as a disruptive clubhouse presence” (S.I.). Inexplicably, the Giants did not retaliate at any time the entire series.

Eugenio Velez took over in center as Rowand went on the DL. Velez is proving once again can hit, and hit with power; now if he can only be more alert on the basepaths.

Game 2 Saturday April 17th – Giants 9-0
Tim Lincecum six shutout innings, 3 for 4 at the plate with 3 RBIs. Bengie Molina continued his great start, going 3 for 7 in the first two games, and is now batting .406. Velez went 3 for 5 and had more adventures on the bases. Three shutout innings from the Giants bullpen.

Game 3 Sunday April 18th – Dodgers 2-1
A brilliant line by Barry Zito: 7.1 innings, 1 run, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts; he has a 1.86 ERA after three starts. Pinch hitter Manny Ramirez hit a two run homer off Giants reliever Sergio Romo in the bottom of the 8th.

Let’s clear up some things about this game:
1. Manager Bruce Bochy was correct to take Zito out of the game in the 8th– he hadn’t allowed a run, but after walking Dodger pinch hitter Garret Anderson, Zito was clearly running out of gas.
2. One out in the eighth inning is not when closer Brian Wilson works (or should work). There are six other pitchers in the bullpen, two of whom are responsible for the eighth inning: Sergio Romo and Jeremy Affeldt. Bochy put in the righty Romo against the righty Ramirez, and it just didn’t work out.
3. The real issue in this game is that the Giants did not score runs, and they had several good opportunities.

This loss to the Dodgers is nothing new to Giants fans with any kind of short term memory– throughout 2008 and 2009, great starting pitching performances were repeatedly squandered because the Giant offense could not score runs. Sunday’s game was a nasty reminder of those not so long ago days.

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