Sunday, June 19, 2016

Eight in a row, 27-8

The SF Chron's Henry Schulman notes in his game story that the SF Giants have never had a better stretch over 35 games than now.

 
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Giants have played in San Francisco since 1958. In none of those 58 seasons did they revel in a 35-game stretch this good, with 27 wins.
They began the stretch with an eight-game winning streak and now have another after beating the Rays 5-1 on Sunday to sweep the three-game series at Tropicana Field.
The Giants are on pace to win 101 games, and looking for statistical reasons might be fruitless. When they started play Sunday they ranked seventh in the National League in runs and sixth in hitting with runners in scoring position. Four pitching staffs had better ERAs.
But they win, sometimes with dominance from their starters, other times with a clutch hit, and by rarely kicking the ball around as they did Sunday.
In their 44th win, the Giants scored four runs in the eighth inning to break a 1-1 tie. For the second day in a row Joe Panik had the tie-breaking hit.
“We’re obviously not at full strength, but we’re just playing the way we play,” pitcher Jake Peavy said. “This is the identity we talked about in spring training, who we are as ballplayers and who we are as a team. We just come out and play our best team game and have the best approach.”
When the Giants open a four-game series at Pittsburgh on Monday night, they might be at even less strength.
On the day he assumed the active major-league lead in consecutive games played, at 188, Matt Duffy aggravated a left Achilles injury and left the game. Manager Bruce Bochy said Duffy might miss “a day or two,” but Duffy refused to concede the end of his streak.
“I wouldn’t say I’m concerned,” Duffy said. “It’s nothing serious.”
Duffy hit third base hard as he tried to steal with two outs in the seventh inning, then rounded the bag as Trevor Brown grounded out on the pitch. Duffy had the same injury last season and said it was worse then.
His replacement, Conor Gillaspie, hit a two-run double in the four-run eighth. Buster Posey also had an RBI single.
Duffy has just started to hit consistently, with hits in 10 of his past 12 games. If he misses time, Gillaspie will play and the Giants will have six starters batting left-handed against at least three left-handed Pirates starters.
That sounds like a recipe for defeat, but the left-leaning Giants have been beating all comers.
“You’ve seen our lefty hitters,” Bochy said. “They’re doing a pretty good job against lefties. We saw a good string of them at home. This is our lineup. It’s not going to change. I think it’s good for them to see lefties. It helps their at-bats against righties because they’ve got to stay in (their stance) against lefties.”
Sunday’s game smelled like a loss at the outset. The Giants uncharacteristically made three errors in the first two innings, by Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Peavy, whose wild pickoff throw let Logan Forsythe score.
Despite the errors, a replay call that went against them, three hits, a hit batter, a stolen base and 11 Rays coming to the plate, Peavy held the weak offense to one run in the first two innings. Belt matched that with a fourth-inning homer.
In successive starts, Peavy outpitched 19-year-old Dodgers rookie Julio Urias and matched 26-year-old Jake Odorizzi. The two Jakes had almost identical lines: six innings, four hits, one run, eight strikeouts.
Peavy insisted he is not trying to carry a torch for baseball’s senior citizens, but he left no doubt about his confidence despite his early rough patch.

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