The remaining three games vs. the Astros plus the next three game set vs. the Rockies are the only games the Giants have for a while against what looks to be poor teams -- the A's, Dodgers, Padres, and Phillies will wrap up the month of May.
The Giants are only three games back of the Dodgers, but the problem isn't three games back, it's being behind three teams in the division. While staying close to these teams ensures that the Giants could make up ground quickly by simply beating those teams when they play, the Giants haven't exactly fared well against the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Padres to this point. Thus the need for the Giants to mop up the floor with the weaker competition whenever the opportunity presents itself -- like right now, with the Astros, for instance.
Notes from last night's game:
- As poorly as he looked in the Spring, Brad Hennessey has looked equally as gutty in his two starts this year. Great thing: Hennessey's k/9 is at an even 9.00. Bad thing: Hennessey's already given up five home runs in 13 innings of work. Keep doing the former, stop doing the latter, Brad.
- Despite simply being not a very good hitter, Mike Matheny continues to be, for lack of a better word, clutch. His two hits last night were both important, and both drove in a run.
- Ray Durham is still clawing his way back to respectability with a pinch-hit double that he eventually scored on. Batting average up to .247, OPS up to .664. You can do it, Ray-Ray! Me and Pooky and errbody else is behind you. Word.
- By the way, stop, stop, stop playing Grissom in centerfield when Jason Ellison is playing. Father Alou, can you hear me? We both know it's dumb defensively, not to mention that besides some early-season heroics, Grip has been a big-time liability offensively. At least Michael Tucker draws some walks when he's not hitting. The official Get Jason Ellison More At-Bats Than Marquis Grissom campaign has begun. Right now, it stands 98-69 in favor of Grissom -- I want to see Ellison have more at-bats than Grissom by the end of May.
- Speaking of Ellison, doesn't it suck when you go 1 for 3 at the plate and see your batting average drop? Ellison, if he had enough ab's to qualify, would be 2nd in the league in hitting behind another where-the-heck-did-he-come-from outfielder, Clint Barmes. Only thing is, Barmes plays for the Rockies, so he doesn't get full credit. Near as I can tell, Elly is about 20 some-odd ab's away from qualifying for the leaderboard at this point. He'll probably have to play everyday for about 3 more weeks to get enough at-bats.
- More kudos: Deivi Cruz continues to be a very nice pickup. While you'd rather not have the guy starting in your middle infield, having him as a utility infielder works out well enough.
- Jim Brower was able to pitch last night without anything horrible happening. Amen.
The semi-resurgent Woody goes tonight vs. the 'Stros, who run out right-hander Ezequiel Astacio. Astacio has been mowin' 'em down with 12 strikeouts in 11 innings pitched vs. only one walk, but he has given up 16 hits in those 11 innings, with four of those hits being round-trippers. Don't let his 9.82 ERA fool you into thinking the Giants will whoop up on him -- any pitcher who can go 11 innings while only walking one and striking out 12 is a little dangerous.