7/4/2013 4:40 P.M. ET
Rainout provides respite for Giants at trip's end
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- After rain postponed the Giants' series finale Thursday against the Cincinnati Reds, a senior member of San Francisco's traveling party strolled through the visitors' clubhouse and said, "That's as good as a win."
That was no exaggeration, given the Giants' woes on their three-city trip. Remaining idle was preferable to absorbing another setback. Their 1-8 finish was their worst for a nine-game journey since Sept. 15-25, 2006, when they also went 1-8.
Since leaving home, the Giants endured the following:
• Sinking to last place in the National League West standings;
• Being no-hit by Cincinnati's Homer Bailey on Tuesday;
• Swallowing two walk-off defeats;
• Losing center fielder Angel Pagan for possibly the rest of the season due to hamstring surgery;
• Getting swept in a three-game series by the Dodgers.
The Giants' troubles revolved around their offense, which averaged two runs per game and generated a .185 batting average during the trip. San Francisco will return home to face the Dodgers and the same three starters they confronted during Los Angeles' sweep: Hyun-Jin Ryu, Stephen Fife and Clayton Kershaw. That trio combined to win two decisions while allowing six runs and 16 hits in 21 1/3 innings.
So matters won't get easier for the Giants. But they will begin the Dodgers series with their two most effective starters: Matt Cain, who would have pitched Sunday, and Madison Bumgarner, who got pushed back from Friday to Saturday. Chad Gaudin likely will be reinstated from the 15-day disabled list to pitch Sunday's series finale.
"That's the plan right now," manager Bruce Bochy said.
Bochy cited the options for rescheduling Thursday's game, which include: playing on Sept. 30, the day after the regular season ends; scheduling a day-night doubleheader in San Francisco during the Reds' July 22-24 visit to AT&T Park; or reconvening Aug. 29, which is a scheduled off-day for both teams. That day, the clubs could meet in Cincinnati or Denver, since the Giants conclude a road series against the Rockies on Aug. 28 and the Reds open a three-game set at Coors Field on Aug. 30.
Playing on Aug. 29, regardless of venue, would require approval from both clubs, since adding a game on that date would force each team to play 34 consecutive days. That's 10 over the limit when a scheduling revision is in effect.
Giants don't see help coming from Fresno
CINCINNATI -- If the Giants' decision-makers believed that Triple-A Fresno outfielders Gary Brown and Roger Kieschnick could contribute on the Major League level, they'd be with San Francisco by now.
Though the Giants are struggling to score runs, neither Brown nor Kieschnick are considered potential saviors for the offense.
Manager Bruce Bochy said he has discussed the possibility of promoting Brown or Kieschnick with general manager Brian Sabean. The fact that both players remain with Fresno speaks volumes.
"If somebody's ready who can help us, you make that call," Bochy said Thursday. "If we don't think they're ready, you don't want to bring them up."
Brown's problems with right-handed pitching are well-documented. The Giants' No. 1 selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft began the season in a horrific slump but has lifted his batting average to .246 with 11 home runs, 40 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 83 games entering Thursday.
Kieschnick was hitting .261 in 81 games with 11 homers, 49 RBIs and a .484 slugging percentage. Bochy couched his remarks about Kieschnick in general terms.
"He still needs time down there with the bat, and I think that's pretty much it," Bochy said.
Zito laments lack of efficiency with pitches
CINCINNATI -- Giants left-hander Barry Zito usually recorded the outs he needed against the Cincinnati Reds. He just didn't get them quickly enough.
Zito yielded seven hits but only one run to the Reds on Wednesday night. But Giants manager Bruce Bochy removed Zito two batters into the fifth inning, since he already had thrown 88 pitches.
"I was getting too deep in counts," said Zito, who entered the game with an 0-5 record and a 10.41 ERA in six road starts.
Zito went to both extremes against the Reds. After throwing just 10 pitches to four batters in a scoreless first inning, he needed 28 pitches to escape the second inning while allowing a run. He blanked Cincinnati in the third inning yet added 25 pitches to his total.
Zito's inability to put away opposing pitcher Tony Cingrani was his most telling shortcoming in the fourth inning. Zito threw seven pitches to Cingrani, who eventually doubled to center field.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.