Affeldt excels; ‘D’ isn’t that bad; history’s safe
ST. LOUIS — If Jeremy Affeldt seems like he’s one of the best setup relievers you’ve seen, it’s not your imagination.
Affeldt worked a perfect ninth inning Wednesday to extend his scoreless-innings streak to 19. It’s the longest streak by a Giant since Noah Lowry and Jason Schmidt each put up zeroes for 19 consecutive innings in 2005. The last Giants reliever to enjoy a longer streak was Joe Nathan, who went unscored upon for 22 1/3 innings in a row in 2003.
During Affeldt’s 20-game stretch, he has allowed only 10 hits in 60 at-bats (.167). Moreover, none of the 10 baserunners he has inherited in his last 11 appearances have scored. He also leads NL relievers with 10 double plays induced.
Despite their three errors Wednesday, the Giants actually played some decent defense.
Center fielder Aaron Rowand made a breathtaking diving catch of Skip Schumaker’s third-inning line drive. Left fielder Randy Winn duplicated the feat on the luckless Schumaker in the fifth inning.
They say it’s difficult to sweep any opponent. History proves that this is so.
Had the Giants won Wednesday, they would have entered Thursday’s finale with a chance to record their first four-game series sweep in St. Louis since May 6-9, 1912. Nineteen-twelve! That’s when Christy Mathewson and Rube Marquard were the Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain of their day for San Fran — er, New York — and the roster included two star-crossed players: Fred Merkle (who failed to touch first base in a critical 1908 game) and Fred Snodgrass (whose error in the final game of the 1912 World Series helped opposing Boston prevail).
It’s worth remembering that four-game series aren’t played much anymore. Still, 97 years is a heck of a long time.
The Giants’ last four-game sweep of St. Louis anywhere occurred July 24-26, 1987 at Candlestick Park. It helped launch their second-half drive toward the National League West title.
– Chris Haft