It was great to see that touchdown the Giants scored on the Twins last night in the 9th. Even more encouraging is that Joe Nathan doesn't seem so unhittable this year.
Last year Joe Nathan gave up 13 ER runs in 73 appearances. This year he's given up 12 ER in 28 appearances.
And looking at his stats you can see that Gardenhire is not using his best reliever very efficiently or maybe Nathan doesn't have the "testicular virility", as our governor might say, to come in with runners on. So far this year he has not inherited a runner in any of his relief appearances.
But enough about those soon to be former Central Division champs. Let's talk about the Sox.
The Sox offense has arrived in June as they lead the AL in runs scored and home runs for the month (helped slightly by a 15 run game at Coors field). Even Joe Crede is getting into the mix in June, batting a very impressive 306/405/694. And if this past series against the D-Backs is any indication, the balls are going to be flying out of the Cell as in years past.
Unfortunately, that's bad news for our pitchers. As the offense has heated up, the pitching has slipped. This shouldn't be a suprise as many of the Sox pitchers were playing well above the career averages the first two months of the season. All the starting pitchers except for Buehrle have posted a high ERA this month:
I would say both Garland and Garcia have pitched a little bit better this month than their stats suggest. Poor defense led to 4 of the 6 runs Garland gave up on Tuesday and his WHIP is 1.32 for the month. Not good, but good enough for a sub 5.00 ERA. Garcia's WHIP for the month is actually a miniscule .93, but he gave up a 3 run homer to inflate his ERA in both of his starts this month.
Playing in the Cell, there's no doubt that Sox pitchers are going to give up some dingers and have some rough nights. That's why it's so important for the pitchers to throw strikes and not give up any walks to keep these home runs solo shots. I'm not quite sure that all of these pitchers are up for the task. But I still feel good with Buerhle, Garcia and Garland taking the mound.