I’m not going to complain about Brian Wilson. Some people think his back is still bothering him, and I can see why that could be a cause for concern. But blaming stupid things like the beard or the Showtime cameras is too much. Even the best closers have their off-nights — look at Mariano Rivera down in New York. Wilson’s walks are way up this year, and his velocity has fallen off a bit, but he’s still an above average reliever. As long as the Giants don’t sign him to a ridiculous long-term deal to appease the general fanbase, I can live with him blowing a save now and then.
Let’s look at the positives of this game — Madison Bumgarner is still very good. Coming into this year, he was identified as a young pitcher who might be prone to the “Verducci Effect” due to all the innings he had thrown in 2010. Since the 2011 season is only about 75% complete, nothing is certain yet, but throwing 112 pitches in the middle of August is a good sign, to say the least. I’ve heard some people say that Bumgarner gives up too many home runs, but interestingly enough, his HR/9 was ranked 4th among qualified starters coming into tonight’s game (Matt Cain is 3rd). Brian McCann‘s blast certainly moves him down a touch, but like the rest of the Giants staff, he’s well above average in this category.
Nate Schierholtz pieced together a nice night against veteran Tim Hudson, who pitched fairly well in spite of the Braves’ suspect defense. If Pablo Sandoval‘s injury keeps him out of the lineup for a couple of days, the Giants will need Nate to carry a big load in the middle of the order. Mike Fontenot did his best Panda impression by going yard in the 8th. Fontenot has been relegated to the bench for a couple of weeks now, but he should probably being starting occasionally against right-handers, even if it’s to give Orlando Cabrera or Jeff Keppinger a breather.