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AZ 8, SF 7: Even With LaRussa in Charge, Giants Can't Outslug Snakes

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Bad idea to try to win a mashfest against Arizona. The Diamondbacks might suck, but they seem to match up well against San Francisco, especially when the Giants' pitchers decide to take a couple nights off. It's probably the hardest anyone has hit the staff all year in two consecutive games: 21 runs, 20 hits, 8 doubles, one triple, 7 home runs, comes the judge...17 walks.

The walks are maddening, and they are a growing problem. Good thing Giant pitchers are stingy with the hits and home runs and strike out batters by the busload. When the hits pile up, so do the runs. They're also lucky that so far this year, the Giants are the best defensive team in the game, at least by this measure.

Other than a shrug and a sigh that crap like the last two nights is going to happen to the best of teams (which the Giants aren't), there's not much else to say except Timmy (5 IP, 5 ER, 5 BB) is going to have a bad night once in a while.

The real news was Bruce Bochy's unexpected LaRussification. Boch batted Lincecum 8th and Andres Torres 9th, a Tony LaRussa nugget that statistically should have minimal bearing on runs scored over several weeks, let alone a full season. But the notion of potentially more men on base for the 3rd place hitter is worth a shot.

"Did it work?" is a dumb question after just one night. The Giants scored far more runs than usual -- their season average was 4.35 per game before tonight -- but Torres and Rowand, the "leadoff hitters," went 2 for 9 with zero walks and one run scored. (Rowand hit a couple balls very hard into outs, for what it's worth.)

Any sign that the Giants brass is thinking outside the box is welcome. Then again, insisting that Aaron Rowand, with a .310 OBP this year and .338 for his career, is doing good things in the leadoff spot is also thinking outside the box -- the box of sanity. A lineup of Torres, Sanchez, Sandoval, etc., with Rowand sixth or seventh, makes far more sense, I say. Or how about Huff batting second? He doesn't mind taking pitches, he draws walks, his lefthandedness is enhanced with a runner on first...oops. Looks like Aubrey is last among regular NL first basemen in pitches per plate appearance. Whatever. I still say he's got the skills to bat second.   

Bummer of the week: The Dodgers have moved ahead of the Giants in the standings and are a game out of first place. Whatever happened to this? As soon as I linked to it two weeks ago, LA went on a tear. It's my fault.   

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