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Sunday, July 08, 2007

First Half Report Card

The All-Star break is officially underway and it's time to take a look back at how the Giants fared in the first half of the 2007 season.

Lineup: There are a couple of guys hitting the ball well at the moment, but only Bengie Molina and Barry Bonds seemed to stay healthy and somewhat consistent throughout the half. Bonds went on about a 6 week cold stretch in May and June, but has rebounded well and is on pace for another Barry Bonds type year, even at age 43. Molina has arguably been the best Giant pickup of the offseason as he's worked well with the staff and has come up with one clutch hit after another. The rest of the bunch has been anywhere from below average to dismal. Pedro Feliz, Rich Aurilia and Omar Vizquel seem to hurt the offense more then they help and Ray Durham is not coming anywhere close to matching his career year last season. Ryan Klesko and Randy Winn have been serviceable. With a consistent offense, this team would be at least .500.
Overall Grade: D

Rotation: The only question mark in this bunch has been the 126 million dollar ace Barry Zito and he is the one and only reason why they are not worthy of an A. Matt Cain has pitched through some of the worst luck I have ever seen in the first half and his record is 3-9 because of it, despite having an era of 3.53 with hitters hitting just .237 off of him. Matt Morris carried the staff early, but it has been Noah Lowry who has stuck out in my mind. Lowry is the staff leader in wins (9) and era (3.35) and has had only one bad start in his last 11. The rookie Tim Lincecum has gone through his ups and downs but has proved he indeed belongs and is already an extremely tough assignment for NL hitters.
Overall Grade: B+

Bullpen: Not much needs to be said here. You don't need to be a baseball fanatic or even have any baseball expertise at all to realize that this bullpen is pathetic. The quest for a legit closer has gone on for 3 1/2 years and counting, and it doesn't look like things are changing anytime soon. I am ready to give Messenger a shot. Sabean could cut every single reliever on this team besides Misch and Messenger, and you wouldn't hear a complaint from me. Henessey and Corriea are ok at times but are middle relievers, not 8th and 9th inning guys.
Overall Grade: F

Defense: The defense hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. The outfield has been average, but the infield defense has been spectacular for the most par, thanks to the magnificent Omar Vizquel. Bonds has been a little better than I expected in left field. Dave Roberts is an inconsistent center fielder who makes the tough plays, but also blows some of the easy ones.
Overall Grade: B

Bench: The rookie call-ups have done a pretty good job this season, with Freddie Lewis standing out. Elizier Alfonzo was one of the best backup catchers in the league before getting hurt in June. Ryan Klesko started the year off on the bench but has taken hold of the first base job vs. right handed pitching. I am surprised at each passing roster move in which Mark Sweeney manages to stay on the roster, but he can still pinch hit with the best of 'em.
Overall Grade: B

Managing/Coaching: You can't really blame the on field coaching staff for what they were dealt. This lineup is very old and there really isn't one arm down in the bullpen that you can count on night in and night out. I think Bochy has done a good job at playing the hot hand and he isn't shy to play a rookie over a veteran if that rookie deserves it. Two things I think are crucial signs in a good manager. He tried to set up some structure in the bullpen, but things fell apart when Armondo Benitez did.
Overall Grade: C+

Biggest Surprise: Freddie Lewis. He's come a long way to get to the bigs, and now that he's here, he doesn't look like he wants to leave. Although his defense can use some work, and he still has some baseball maturing to do, he possess the tools to be able to be a good major league player, something the Giants haven't developed through the farm since Bill Mueller.

Biggest Dissapointment: Barry Zito. You could put Benitez here as well as some other people, but the Giants expected a better start to the Zito era than a rough 6-8 start. He's been knocked out of games by the 5th or 6th inning routinely. He'll be better in the second half, but those who said Zito was on the decline are looking right on at this point.

Will Make the Playoffs If: The rest of the of the division suffers some major injuries and the aging Giants somehow come up with a way to play with more energy and passion than they did in the first half. They would also need to make some additions to the team which at this point wouldn't be the right thing to do.

2nd Half Prediction: The Giants will be better in the second half than they were in the first, but that isn't saying much. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Giants play .500 ball from here on out and maybe eventually even get back to .500. However, a lot of things need to go right for that to happen and way too many things would have to go right for them to think about sneaking into the playoffs. As far as the standout players, I say Noah Lowry will go on to win 18 games, and Barry Bonds will end up with 33 home runs while the Giants end the year at 79-83, 13 games back from the division winning Dodgers.

*Blog Note: Like the players, I am taking an all-star break myself. I will be in Tahoe for the next week or so and the Giants Blog will not be updated again until Monday, July 16th.
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3 Comments:

  • At 12:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don't know if you can give the Giants Offense a D. Bonds is an All-Star and Molina could have been one as well.

     
  • At 9:36 PM, Anonymous GiantROb said…

    Overall, I give the Giants a D- for the first half. You can't get any better than that if you one of the worst teams in the league.

     
  • At 6:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Bonds should have played in the home run derby. I was dissapointed that nobody really hit balls into the cove. I've been waiting for a home run derby here for ever just because of that and the lefties dissapointed big time.

     

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