Big Game, Pitcher 

It's probably folly to read too much into one game, but I won't be surprised if, two months from now, we look back on tonight's game versus the Braves as a touchstone of the season.

The Giants need a long outing from a starter. Jason Schmidt needs to go deep, and he needs to dominate. Other than Jerome Williams on Saturday night, the team hasn't had a clutch pitching performance all year. The bullpen is wrecked. Dustin Hermanson looks dustined for the DL. With every start by Brett Tomko and every emergency start by Brian Cooper, the lunatic fringe trades up for an ever-larger surrey. Dave Veres and Mike Crudale are not exactly pitching themselves into shape in Fresno. The stockpiles are wearing thin.

If Schmidt can prove he's back with a vengeance, it'll give the team a huge shot in the arm. If he gets cuffed around like he did against the Padres last week, it'll be time to press the panic button. More on that later tonight.


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