© 2010 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

06/28/10 11:39 PM ET

Giants seek better pitching vs. Dodgers

Over the next few weeks, the Giants will be defined by quality. Recently, San Francisco has dropped seven of its last 10 games, falling 4 1/2 games behind San Diego for first place in the National League West.

And Giants outfielder Aaron Rowand is looking to reverse the trend, noting that the recent slide and potential for atonement is dependent on the quality factor.

"It's obviously a tough stretch of games against quality teams -- teams you can test yourself against, being where we are in the standings," Rowand said. "I think everybody has the confidence that with our starting pitching, we can be competitive and have a chance to win every [series]."

The Giants' starting pitching, however, has lacked quality -- in the form of quality starts. Before Barry Zito's outing Monday, San Francisco starters hadn't logged a quality outing in five straight games, which marked the club's longest drought since mid-May.

It was a five-game aberration for the Giants, who are ranked third in the National League with 45 quality starts. During that span, only one starter -- Madison Bumgarner -- lasted more than six innings and the rotation has recorded a combined 9.45 ERA.

Tuesday's starter, Matt Cain, contributed to that rising ERA. In his previous outing against the Astros, the righty bombed in Houston, surrendering seven runs on nine hits over 2 2/3 innings. The performance drastically increased Cain's ERA from 2.16 to 2.72.

"You don't sit there and wait for a bad day to come," said Cain, who is tied with Tim Lincecum for a team-high 12 quality starts. "You keep going out there like you're going to pitch well or you're going to hit well."

Opposing pitcher John Ely has grasped that concept, yielding a mere run to the Angels in his last start after allowing seven runs a week earlier. The 24-year-old will be looking to maintain the Dodgers' dominance over the Giants this season.

Dodgers: Relief changes in store?
Manager Joe Torre is considering tinkering with his bullpen. After the Dodgers recently acquired left-handed reliever Jack Taschner, the club assigned him to the Triple-A Albuquerque pitching staff and could potentially promote him to the Majors to replace George Sherrill.

"We want to see what we have here," said manager Joe Torre. "I still think highly of Sherrill; I know what he's capable of doing. It's still a matter of getting his confidence back. He's still feeling for it."

In 17 appearances for the Pirates, Taschner had a 6.05 ERA. Prior to his time with Pittsburgh, Taschner also had stints with the Phillies and Giants, tallying a 10-5 record in the process.

Giants: Renteria lighting up on offense
Since being activated June 16, shortstop Edgar Renteria has emerged as one of the club's hottest hitters, going 14-for-37 with three doubles and two RBIs this season. He's collected a hit in eight of San Francisco's last 11 games.

Renteria, who is 3-for-3 in stolen-base attempts, needs 10 more swipes to notch 300 for his career.

Worth noting
The Giants boast a 27-8 record when notching the game's first run, but they are 8-15 against their NL West rivals this season. ... Against the Yankees on Sunday night, the Dodgers notched four sacrifice bunts and two sac flies. The six-sacrifice total is the most by a Major League team this year.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.