First off, an eye-opener. Here’s a chart coming into today’s games showing how teams do when they’ve got 2 outs and RISP:
In the third game of the four game series against the Phillies, the Giants sent Matt Cain to the mound against Cole Hamels. And despite giving up fewer hits, recording more strikeouts and allowing the same number of earned runs as Hamels, Matt Cain takes the loss on a score of 2-1. The Phillies are leading the series 3-0.
Final pitching lines:
Cain: 8.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB and 8 K.
Hamel: 9.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB and 5 K.
Of note: Kenny Albert’s advice to Cole Hamels for the game? “Drop a Deuce.” Yup. FOX even put that up on the screen and everything. Drop a Deuce. To his credit, if Hamels did drop a deuce, he did it off-camera.
The Phillies’ only runs were scored in the first inning. And only one of the two runs scored in that inning was earned. It was quite the inning: A Jimmie Rollins double, a Shane Victorino fly-out, a Chase Utley walk, and a Ryan Howard K. Okay – two outs, with two on. Not a problem, right? Well, no. A Hunter Pence single scored Rollins, with Utley moving to 3rd on a missed-catch error on Pablo Sandoval. Then a passed ball by Eli Whiteside allowed Utley to score. Finally, Raul Ibanez struck out to end the inning.
Typifying the game (and the series, and maybe even the season), the third inning brought this familiar refrain: “Huff grounds out to the second baseman.” And Brandon Belt is back in Fresno.
Carlos Beltran’s struggles in a Giant uniform continued, with a GIDP, strikeout, groundout, and soft line-out. Note the absence of hits.
In the fourth inning, the Giants got a mini-rally going, with Rowand and Keppinger both singling with no outs and Beltran and Sandoval coming up. Yet, 4 pitches later, the inning was over with no runs scored. In just 4 pitches. 4. The Giants are 0 for 17 with RISP this series.
Two bright spots on the day, in addition to Cain’s typical fantastic pitching: Howard was struck out 3 times by Cain, and Sergio Romo continued his amazing streak of retiring consecutive batters, bringing the number to 31. No baserunners for 31 plate appearances against Romo. That’s just good.
Unfortunately, the Giants can’t seem to buy a run lately. So far in the series, the Giants have scored in just 3 of the 27 innings played. Over the last 8 games, the team has scored a total of 16 runs, and 8 of those came in one game against the Diamondbacks (not coincidentally, the only win in those 8 games). In those 7 losses, the Giants have scored a total of 8 runs. No matter how exceptional the pitching staff, the team can’t win games without fixing that glaring problem.