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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Giants Salvage Series vs. Brew Crew.

Up untill about the sixth inning of Tuesday nights game vs. the Brewers, the Giants where looking like they where going to maybe start showing their age. It is no secret that this team is old and old teams tend to tire down the stretch in the second half. The Giants where handled with relative ease by the Philidelphia Phillies at home, and then got absolutley spanked by the Brewers to kick off that 3 game set. If you take away a few lucky bounces and a hit, the Giants could very well have been looking at a 1-5 begining to the second half. The main reason why the Giants are still a game above .500 after that stretch is Ray Durham. There hasn't been a hotter Giant hitter over the month of July than Durham. After 3 years of underachievment and injuries in the orange and black, Durham is finally starting to show some shades of the all-star second basemen he was with the Chicago White Sox. His speed/running game isn't much of a factor anymore, but the dude is easely on his way to career highs in home runs and rbi's. He is currently sitting with 15 home runs and 52 RBI, and his average has climbed from the .220's to .270 in 3 weeks and is still rising. After his last 3 seasons, I don't know if a 25 hr, 80 RBI season would be good enough to get him another deal in SF, but he is having the best season out of all potential free agent second basemen (including Jeff Kent).

Lance Niekro was finally sent back down to Fresno after struggling through the first half. Again, Niekro had problems with his health, and not only was he lost vs. right-handed pitching, he started to lose it vs. lefties as well. Niekro hit .233 with no home runs and 3 rbi's in July (30 ab's). That's flat-out "not getting it done," and while Brian Sabean said Tuesday that the team was not close to aquireing a first baseman via trade, it sends the message to the fans that he is working on it. Felipe Alou said it best when discussing Lance Niekro's situation. Alou said Niekro is way behind for his age due to injuries, and it's going to be tough for him to stay healthy enough to learn consistancy. I've been wrong before, but something tells me that Lance Niekro's days may be numbered as a member of the Giants. I see a lot of Damon Minor when I look at Niekro, a guy with huge power and a big offensive upside, but is still stuck on that line between AAA and the big leagues. Yet another failure at an attempt to develop a hitter by the San Francisco Giants.
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