It looked like another game of Domination By Superior Force at first, with the Atlanta Braves taking advantage of having a better bottom end of their rotation than the Giants have at the top. Well, maybe that's a bit harsh, but when we couple the Giants generally poor starting pitching and their generally mediocre offense along with the Braves strong rotation and decent offense, it really isn't that off.
That being said, though, our Giants are a scrappy bunch. Jason Schmidt showed us a flash of the old...wait a minute. He didn't just flash, he mooned us with the old Schmidt. He was the old Schmidt, cranking up as high as 96 on the gun, putting his fastball high in the zone, and racking up the strikeouts (10 total in seven innings pitched). He used his breaking ball a bit more than normal as a strikeout pitch, but this was an inspiring performance.
What else was inspiring?
- Jason Ellison, that's what. A very nice three-hit game, including the game-winning soft single into left field that scored the winning run.
- Pedro Feliz is something else. I think his proper nickname is Feast or Famine. Looked horrible in the first game of the series, but came back with a two-hit performance yesterday, including the three-run homer that gave the Giants their first lead. I'm a bit mystified as to why Horacio Ramirez would pick to throw a first-pitch fastball anywhere close to the zone to Feliz, who, last I heard, is a first pitch fastball hitter, but perhaps the Braves scouting report isn't up to snuff on Feliz -- he's only been that type of hitter for his whole career, after all. Heh. I'll take it, though.
- Props to LaTroy Hawkins, because he is trying very hard to be useful. An inning of scoreless relief.
Not so good? Tyler Walker, who is trying to change my recent change of heart as to the strength of the bullpen. I've always known he can be shaky, but so can Armando Benitez. No, no, I'm not saying Walker is as good as Benitez, but I am saying that I thought he was capable of doing the closer's job. Now...well, it may not matter for this team anyway. May as well stick with him for now, but if he does another hatchet job on a Giants lead, I'm thinking Hawkins may well gravitate into the role.
Oh, and something else...
Hey! Umps! Get a freaking call right, will ya?
They blew another call last night in the 9th inning, a blown call that ended up putting Deivi Cruz on 2nd base. Cruz would end up scoring the winning run, but he should've been on 2nd base with Feliz on 3rd -- Feliz was supposedly tagged out on the way to 2nd base after Cruz' grounder to Rafael Furcal, but since Furcal didn't even have the ball in the glove that he tagged Feliz with, it's a bit difficult to call him out -- but that didn't stop this umpiring crew from doing just that. Furcal's throw ended up in the Braves dugout, allowing Cruz to 2nd base, but that was the only saving grace to a piss-poor call by an umpire who was looking directly at the play.
Ah, well. Nevermind. Victory is ours!
This also puts the Giants in a tie with the Dodgers -- they lost on a walkoff home run to the Phillies (did I ever mention the Phillies are my 3rd favorite team? I didn't? Hm, perhaps it's because I don't have a 3rd favorite team...but if the Phillies do this to the Dodgers all the time, I could make them my 3rd favorite team). The Padres also lost on a walk-off home run...hmmmmmmmmmm.
Omens? Nah, course not.