On to the critical series of the year. Four games with the first-place Padres. Two wins isn’t enough. The Giants need to win at least three of four to have a realistic chance of catching San Diego.
Tonight, Matt Cain tries to continue the recent hot stretch by the starters, but the series will boil down to this:
Can the Giants get an early lead on the Padres, and make it stand up? The Padres bullpen has reduced the game to six-inning affair, not unlike the Yankees of 1996, with Mariano Rivera shutting down the seventh and eighth innings, and John Wettland closing out the ninth. If the Giants can get to Garland early tonight, it could set the tone for the whole series.
I’d love to see Sanchez on the bench tonight, maybe a lineup like this would be the way to go:
Or something like that. Maybe start Schierholz and have Guillen as a late inning, men on base pinch hitter. Freddie Sanchez should be the pinch hitter when the bases are empty, and for God’s sake, stop using Ishikawa with men on base. In fact, stop using him as a pinch hitter at all. He’s been cover-your-eyes awful.
It’d be nice if Posey got hot again, but the season might be starting to catch up with him.