On Tuesday night, the Giants had the Black and Orange faithful feeling like it was last October, but on Sunday night, they had their fans feeling that World Series hangover. All the promise the Giants showed by dominating the first two games against the first-place Rockies was lost after a miserable three game home stand. The Braves came into the Bay looking for a little redemption against the team that ended their season last year and they found it with a three-game sweep. Game one showed the weakness of the Giants bats and exploited the struggles of Madison Bumgarner. His amazing poise and conviction that he displayed in the postseason has failed to carry over to 2011 so far. When he puts runners on base, he tenses up and tries to be too perfect, leading to big innings like the four run third that proved the difference in the Braves 4-1 Friday night win. Bochy seems to be staying behind his young left-hander through his struggles and hopes to see Madison calm down and return to his 21-year old phenom self.
(We could have used this Timmy over the weekend)
Game two was a nationally televised game and a big platform for the Giants to show that last year was no fluke, especially with Big Timmy on the mound. Unfortunately, the Braves waited out Lincecum and walked to a 5-2 victory. Coming off a near flawless effort in Colorado, the Franchise fell victim to the patience of the Braves’ hitters. Unlike the last time Lincecum faced the Braves at AT&T, Atlanta was not swinging at what he was offering. The six walks served by #55 were a season high and became a trend for the weekend.
Game 3 looked like one the Giants could salvage and end their three-game losing streak, but once again they threw too many ball fours to gain one victory. Sanchez is the most consistent starter the Giants have right now. He will pitch around six innings, give up 2-3 runs and walk as many as he strikes out. Sunday was no different as he handed the mound over to the bullpen in a 2-2 game, only to see Affeldt give up a three run homer to the poor man’s Buster Posey, Jason Heyward.
The dinger would not have been possible if Prado was not walked before Heyward, but that was the theme of the weekend as 16 walks led to 8 runs.
Fortunately, the Giants battled back in the seventh inning with Comeback Player of the Year candidate, Aaron Rowand, doubling home two with two outs, giving the home team a 6-5 lead. The jubilation was not long lived as Sergio Romo hung a pitch to Giant Killer, Dan Uggla, who deflated the crowd and ended any hopes of a Giants win by going yard to tie the game at six. Brian Wilson would collapse in the tenth sending 40,000+ fans home in dismay and 25 Giants players on a very long plane trip to Pittsburgh.
(Let’s bring back the Machine and the Giants MOJO)
Up Next: Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, Matt Cain looks to stop the bleeding by starting off the road trip with a strong outing against the perennial basement dwellers, The Pirates.