Even though the Giants couldn't complete the 4-game sweep of the Padres on Sunday, they still took 3 of 4 from San Diego, and enter the all-star break with the second best record in the National League at 49-39.Once again, it was the starting pitching that paved the way for the Giants in the Padres series. Although it's kind of old news by now, we didn't get a chance to touch on Jonathan Sanchez's no-hitter Friday Night yet, and I wanted to do so. Sanchez was Bruce Bochy felt comfortably inserting him back into the rotation in Randy Johnson's spot, and he did he best impression of "The Big Unit", no-hitting the Padres and striking out 10 batters in the process. Almost as impressive as the no-hits though, was the goose egg in the walk column. Sanchez has been averaging about 5 walks per 9 innings pitched, and that was really the area which was getting him into trouble. If fact, it was the only time this year in which Sanchez pitched 4 or more innings without allowing at least 3 walks. Only a booted ground ball by Juan Uribe cost the 26 year-old lefty the perfect game. Sanchez was probably also feeding off of Tim Lincecum's brilliant start from the night before. Lincecum carried a no-no into the seventh inning on Thursday night, but unraveled a bit in the 7th and ended up being removed from the game before he could get out of it. Nonetheless, taking away Zito's start on Sunday, the Giants pitching staff, both starting and relief, was nearly untouchable for most of the weekend. Even though the Giants are really playing good baseball right now, and are one of the hottest teams in the league over the last 6 weeks, there are a lot of players on the roster who could use a Edgar Renteria, Bengie Molina, and Aaron Rowand are a few guys who have been playing a ton, and not taking many days off. Molina got a few days off in the Padres series in addition to the upcoming 3 day break, so Bengie should be nice and rested for the second half. Renteria's only had one day off over the last 15 games, and his average is starting to take a bit of a dip because of it. Rowand is the type of guy who will fight Bochy to stay in the lineup everyday, so the all-star break is about the only time that Boch can give him a rest without having Rowand in his ear about it. The Giants actually are off on Thursday as well, so their all-star break is essentially 4 days long, although they will be traveling to Pittsburgh on Thursday.
Update on Cain:
Matt Cain, who was selected to his first all-star game last week, took a line drive off the right-elbow in the second inning of his start on Saturday, and his status for the all-star game is looking doubtful right now. The X-rays revealed no break or fracture, and the injury is being classified as a bruise at the moment, but its going to be swollen and stiff for a couple of days, and due to the fact that it's on his pitching arm, likely means he'll be unavailable to pitch for the National League on Tuesday. Cain will still make the trip to St. Louis and hopefully he'll still get to enjoy everything else. Either way, the Giants don't think the injury will keep him from missing any starts at the beginning of the second half, although they may re-align the rotation and have him start the fifth game after the break, which would give him about 10 days in-between starts.
Trevor Cole The Giants Baseball Blog