Phillies Take Game One, Giants Get Worked By Roy Halladay
Before I say anything, I’ll reiterate what was said in my series preview: I’m not worried about Tim Lincecum and today did nothing to change that. He’s not walking guys, he’s still getting swing-throughs, and today he was victimized by some God-awful defense behind him. So with that out of the way, let’s talk about the game.
Lincecum got the first hitter of the game out on two pitches. Then Placido Polanco hit a pop-up to right-center on the fourth pitch of the inning, that really should have been caught for the second out. Instead it fell between a bewildered Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera, leading to a disastrous four-run first inning. After that, Timmy settled down for the most part while the Giants offense made it feel just like 2011 again.
Now let me go out of my way here to say that I think this year’s offense is better than last year’s. The unholy tandem of Chris Stewart/Eli Whiteside is no longer catching. Brandon Belt is kind of getting to play some more. Buster Posey is Buster Posey. Things aren’t terrible. But I’ll be damned if Emmanuel Burriss doesn’t look like the second coming of Brian Bocock. There was one particular at-bat of Burriss’s that comes to mind right away. Facing Roy Halladay with runners on, he saw four pitches. All four were breaking balls in the dirt, and all four were swung at. Needless to say, it wasn’t pretty.
But Burriss wasn’t the only problem with the offense tonight. So far this season, the Giants have been a team that hits surprisingly well…in the first three innings and then not at all after that. Not counting tonight, they’ve hit .282/.352/.427 in innings 1-3. In innings 4-6 they’ve hit .239/.293/.434 , and .200/.287/.356 for innings 7-9. What all these numbers indicate is that this is a team that’s making zero adjustments the second and third time through the order against a starting pitcher.
Typically a pitcher will go over what worked and what didn’t after his first tour through a batting order. He’ll adjust accordingly, and hope for the best. Once he does this, a team with a hitting coach who knows what he’s doing will adjust as well. The Giants don’t seem to be that kind of team.
What we saw in the first few innings against Halladay was a measured approach against a really good pitcher. Then we got to the middle innings where Halladay noticed he could flop a curveball in for strike one to every hitter while no one did anything about it. Soon the strike zone got atrociously wide, and it became something of a bloodbath.
What transpired in the Giants’ next three turns at the plate was scary bad, as the they failed to get more than nine pitches out of Halladay in a single inning from the 6th to the 8th. Proper adjustments were not made, as hitter after hitter went up to the plate with no plan of attack. I mostly recall a whole lot of wide-eyed at first pitch curveballs, followed by wild swings at the next pitch no matter where it was. Halladay, being the artist on the mound that he is, barely had to break a sweat.
But that’s enough doom and gloom for one night. Buster Posey had his first three hit game since last April and Brandon Belt actually had a few good at-bats while playing stellar defense. We’ll see how that’s rewarded tomorrow, but I’m skeptical on a daily basis as to what the fate of the young first baseman will be.
Joe Blanton goes to the hill for the Phillies tomorrow. That means we get to see a pitcher who’s positively mortal in comparison to what we faced tonight. Also, Hunter Pence still looks like alien.