On Friday night, the Giants lost a heartbreaker. Their bats were silenced again by the opposing starter, in this case Lance Lynn of the Chicago White Sox, and though Giants starter Alex Cobb went five scoreless, the Giants once again lost the bullpen battle. This was a scoreless game for eight innings, lost in the top of the ninth, blown by Camilo Doval.
Giants 0, White Sox 1
bummer. I feel bad for the kid. Doval is an exciting hurler with a 100mph+ fastball, but his command in high-pressure situations is constantly being tested by the system being run by Gabe Kapler and the staff and lately it feels like every other night he gets a bad beat.
More importantly, the Giants have begun this season’s gauntlet: seventeen straight games from July 1st to July 17th, ending in the All-Star break – longest uninterrupted stretch of the season.
Last year it was sixteen games and I covered every game under the category Gauntlet. The Giants went (10 – 6) over that incredible stretch of games. It changed the whole season. They stayed ahead of the Dodgers, accomplished the first sweep of the Rockies in Colorado, and were first to 90 wins in the major leagues during the nightmarish run, when they faced the Mets (3-0) and Braves (1-2) on the road; the Brewers (1-3) and Dodgers (2-1) at home; and finally the Rockies (3-0), at altitude – all without a break.
The outcome of this year’s gauntlet stretch could easily define whether or not the Giants are buyers or sellers at the trade deadline and to what extent.
Trouble is, we don’t even know which 26 guys are going to be playing any given night. Add to that, the starting rotation is considerably weaker, the bullpen is not performing as well as last year, and the inconsistent Giants bats go dead for long stretches. Sigh. The system, which uses umpteen players and combinations and bullpen games, faces a legitimate test.
Over the next seventeen days, the Giants face:
Chicago White Sox – at home, July 1st – 3rd
Arizona Diamondbacks – in Arizona, July 4th – 6th
San Diego Padres – in San Diego, July 7th – 10th
Diamondbacks again – at home, July 11th – 13th
Milwaukee Brewers – at home, July 14th – 17th
So far, they are (0-1).
Curiously, the Giants are scheduled to face Madison Bumgarner twice, once on the 4th of July against Carlos Rodón, and then again on the 13th against … who knows? Because we don’t have a fifth starter.
whew. I feel we need to go at least 11 – 6 over this stretch to stay in the hunt, though key matchups against San Diego and Milwaukee lend us the opportunity to close the gap in the division and the wildcard race. I am pessimistic.
Let’s Go Giants! Beat the White Sox!
Crush Chicago and go on a run for seventeen games to define this season as contenders.