Giants vs. Nationals Recap & D-Backs Preview
With high expectations for post-All Star break performances, the San Francisco Giants (who were dealing with a widespread case of the flu at the time) fell victim to an embarrassing three game sweep at home, against a highly competitive NL Central contender, the Milwaukee Brewers. However, the Giants were only 7 games back at this point, and need anyone be reminded of the NL West and East races down the stretch in 2007? Of course, remaining in the race was a lofty hope for even the most idealistic Giants fans, but with the worst team in baseball coming into town (and then the NL West leading Diamondbacks following) their seemed to finally be a window of opportunity for the ball club to capitalize on.
7/23/08 - AT&T Park – 7:10pm, 63 degrees
Giants 6 - Nationals 3
Barry Zito had thrown seven quality starts in nineteen outings to this juncture of the season. On top of that, Zito owned a 1-9 record at AT&T with a 7+ ERA. Most of the 34,813 in attendance presumably had already braced themselves for potential embarassment.
“Z” came through on the first game of the Nationals series with 6 ip, 7 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned runs, 3 bb, 5 k, and 1 homerun.
The Giants gave him unusual offensive support highlighted by Fred Lewis’ first leadoff homerun of his career, and catcher Bengie Molina’s second multi-homer game this season. Molina broke a streak of 160 at-bats without a big fly when he drove himself and Eugenio Velez home with a pure stroke to left center on a belt-high, outside, 1-1 fastball from Nationals starter Jason Bergmann in the bottom of the 1 st.
Willie Harris tried to make things interesting for the Nationals against Zito when he cut the Giants’ lead to 5-3. He hit a bullet off of a hanging breaking ball over Randy Winn’s head into the right field arcade in the 5 th inning. A fan immediately threw the baseball onto the field, prompting Harris to stop his trot at second base and consult with 2 nd base umpire, Angel Campos, before realizing he did in fact hit the ball out of the park. Kudos to the fan who broke Harris’ stride and prevented him the satisfaction of a trot on his teams diamond.
Jack Taschner, Sergio Romo, and Tyler Walker held Zito’s lead for 2 innings of one hit ball before All-Star Brian Wilson converted his 26 th save in 28 tries.
The peanut gallery, as always, was in full effect when the injury plagued Nationals had to play catcher Paul Lo Duca in left field. Giants fans never forget a player once they’re seen in Dodger blue, and needless to say, he played poorly in a position far from his expertise in front of never-ending chants and taunts that certainly did not help his cause.
WP: Barry Zito (5-12), 5.56 ERA
LP: Jason Bergmann (1-7), 4.21 ERA
SV: Brian Wilson (26)
Giants vs. D-BACKS Preview
Buying a ticket to a ball game at AT&T Park this season has become a risk. The Giants’, league worst, 39% winning percentage at home (20-31) can explain the reason why they’ve been erased by everyone but themselves to contend in the mediocre NL West race, at 7 games behind the leading Arizona Diamondbacks and 15 games below .500%. The Giants had only achieved their first series sweep the day before against the Nationals, which shouldn’t be confused as a valuable accomplishment.
The Diamondbacks weren’t the least bit worried of the inconsistent, at best, Giants team as they took the field Friday night. The Giants were looking to pull off their first two sweeps at home, back to back. Dan Haren, Brandon Webb, and Randy Johnson would have a say in diminishing that dream.
By Gavin Stuart
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