To climb over the backs of the slumping Dodgers to do it? A bonus, to be sure.
With their 5-3 win over Los Angeles, The Giants not only have won as many games as they've lost, but they keep gaining half-games on the leader of the NL West, which has changed from San Diego to Arizona and back to San Diego in the past few days while the Giants have pieced together three consecutive wins. Now 4.5 games back of the Padres, the Giants also find themselves only a game from 3rd place, right behind those Bums from SoCal.
This is a case of the Giants doing what they did not do last week -- take advantage of struggling teams. While the Giants could not win series against the Pirates, Rockies, and Astros, they did win their series against the A's, and stand poised to do the same to L.A. if they can get one more win.
Remember the mantra: stay within striking distance, fellas, and Something just might happen.
- Jason Schmidt is back, and he looks like he's supposed to look. No, it wasn't the best performance as Schmidt gave up three runs through five innings, but he did his job and kept the Dodgers at bay without his usual command. What's encouraging, though, is the seven strikeouts he collected through those five innings, and the velocity seems to be at more Schmidt-like levels. Command of his changeup eluded him a bit, and he issued three walks, but only gave up five hits with only one of those being an extra-base hit -- a double by Antonio Perez. All in all, a nice performance.
- Longest hitting streak by a Giant so far this year? That'd be Ray Durham, who collected a couple of doubles last night to run his streak to 13 straight. I hate to say it, but with Jason Ellison rocketing back to Earth in a hurry, Father Alou has got to consider re-inserting Durham at the top of the order. I think Elly is more suited to do his damage sneaky-like in the 7th or 8th slot where there is a bit less pressure.
- It's that man again; Mike Matheny keeps those important hits coming. He's still holding respectable offensive numbers, defying his career stats and making Brian Sabean look like he actually knew what he was doing when he signed Matheny. If this guy ends up with 33 doubles and 19 homers (which is about what his current totals project to over the course of a full season), I'll praise Sabean's name (in a very deserted area where nothing can hear me, of course, but I'll still do it).
- Edgardo Alfonzo had a nice game last night, going 3 for 3.
- Another guy attempting to make me look really stupid is Jeff Fassero, who also continues to be very useful. He's running about a 2:1 k/bb ratio, a 1.15 WHIP, and a 3.41 ERA. If these numbers hold, I'll praise Sabean's name (but this time in an area where some wild animals stand a chance of hearing my cries). He came in for Schmidt and threw two innings yesterday, allowing only one hit.
- The bullpen as a whole was very efficient, with Jason Christiansen playing the only role to which he is suited (LOOGY), with Jim Brower and Scott Eyre getting in on the action. My good man! I will have dancing girls and Holds for all my men! See that the Holds flow like wine from the cup of Dionysus!
- Which brings us to Tyler Walker, a.k.a. the Bull according to Giants color broadcaster Mike Krukow. His numbers just keep falling. While I don't think that he's the Answer to the Giants bullpen woes, unlike a person or two, I think he should be ridden until the wheels fall off. Remember, people, Walker doesn't have loads of ML history to point out whether he's bad or good, so what we're seeing now could very well be what Tyler Walker is -- a good relief pitcher. To say he's undependable based on all of one year in the bigs is a bit of a stretch. He's got the stuff, he's got the desire, and luckily for the Giants, he's the closer at this moment -- not Matt Herges or Jim Brower.
If he wasn't the GM of the Dodgers, I'd be a bit sad for Paul Depodesta. The Dodgers are stuggling badly, but it really isn't DePo's fault. Two moves he made that aren't working out thus far are J.D. Drew and Jose Valentin, but he'll probably get blamed for all of the team's problems in one way, shape, or form, with no credit being given for the things that are going well. Milton Bradley, Derek Lowe, and Hee Seop Choi are all moves that are working out brilliantly for DePo, but many will point out Drew and Valentin as some sort of damning evidence that the Dodgers GM made horrible decisions this offseason. Looks to me like his moves are holding serve at this point, but after the Dodgers scorching start as a team the expectations rose too high.
Today it'll be Brett Tomko vs. Wilson Alvarez. Go Giants!