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Monday, April 27, 2009

Sandoval Returns in Arizona

Through most of the fist 2+ weeks of the regular season, many Giants fans where wondering if young Pablo Sandoval may have been a bit overwhelmed. It was the first time in the 22 year-old's career that he started a season on a big league roster and he was doing at a position he hadn't played in years. However, after the ups-and-downs, mostly downs, of the first couple of weeks, Sandoval has leveled out and has hit a grove.

The Giants' third basemen was hitting just .195 on April 18th, but started showing signs of heating up in the latest home stand. Sandoval raised his average 100 points in about a week as he left Arizona with his average up at .292, where the Giants expect it to be, more where the Giants expect him to be. The "Big Panda" also hit his first home run of the season on Sunday, an impressive shot down the right field line that put the Giants in front late in the ball game. While righting himself at the plate, Sandoval has also looked a little more comfortable in the field. He made a nice snag on a line-drive Sunday in which he turned into a 6-3 double play. He's showing he's got the instincts to play the position, he just has to control himself on the balls hit in-front of him, especially the softly hit ground balls in which he has to rush his throw to first in order to have a chance at the out. But he's making strides and seems like he's getting better each night and that's all you can really ask for.

The same can't be said for fellow youngster Travis Ishikawa. The 25 year-old is hitting just .191 through his first 15 games of the season, a huge drop off from the numbers he was putting up during spring training. Once again a case that shows that you can't judge how a player will do based only on his spring statistics. I was expecting slightly below the league average as far as offensive output from Ishikawa, but I didn't expect him to struggle this much. The Giants will still give him a few weeks here to start off in May, but if he's still not producing on May 15th, don't be surprised to see some other guys used there. Possibilities for legit time at first include Jon Bowker ( .300 with 7 RBI in Fresno), Jesus Guzman (.412, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 6 R in last 5 games in Fresno) and possibly even Nate Schierholtz, who the Giants are having trouble finding consistent at-bats for.

The Giants bullpen finally showed some vulnerability in Sunday's game. They had their chance to sweep the D-Backs after Pablo Sandoval's clutch 3-run home run in the top of the 8th inning. Not only did they lose the game, but they missed out giving Matt Cain his much deserved 3rd win of the season. Just as Sandoval hit that home run, the Giants announcers were talking about how the tide is changing for Matt Cain after getting virtually no support over the previously 2 seasons. Unfortunately for Cain though, Brian Wilson picked Sunday to have have his worst performance of the season and first official melt-down. It's no surprise that Wilson was behind in the count when surrendering the game-tying home run to Justin Upton. The dude has closer mentality and I think he's going to end up being a solid major league closer for the Giants through for the next 8+ seasons, but the guy has got to work on getting ahead of hitters and putting them away early. Plus, it would also be nice if he didn't party in Arizona on nights they have games the following day as he posted on his Twitter page before quickly retracting after the blown save. In all seriousness though, he has more than enough stuff to attack the strike zone early and I would hope that Dave Righetti and co. will start putting that in his head. Your not going to be a successful closer in this league if your consistently going 2-1, 3-1 on hitters, no matter what kind of stuff you have.
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6 Comments:

  • At 6:55 PM, Blogger David said…

    Awesome blog. (Shorter paragraphs please, easier on the eyes.)

     
  • At 10:47 PM, Anonymous Giants fanatic said…

    Looks like Brian Wilson got the message... 1-2-3 ninth and struck out the side. Hummmm Babyyyy Go Giants!!! Beat the stinkin' Dodgers!!!

     
  • At 11:54 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    David, thanks for the kind words and constructive criticism. The reason why I normally stretch the paragraphs out is in order to embed a picture without it overlapping the other paragraphs, but that certainly is something I'll take in mind..

    Giants fan, Wilson looked dominant on Monday night and definitely had some anger behind that outing. As I said in the post, I really don't think there is anything to worry about with Wilson. If he can start getting ahead of hitters more often, he's going to continue to have outings like he did on Monday though...And yes, great way to start the Dodgers' series, hopefully the can return the favor and sweep them like they did the Giants in LA earlier in the month.

     
  • At 4:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Big test for the Giants tonight... If Sanchez can beat Billingsley, who btw is my pick for NL Cy Young right now, I'll become a true believer..

     
  • At 5:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    RUSSL said.........
    yeah billingsley has been good but Santana has 25.2 innings pitched and only given up 2 ER and 6 walks with 37 strikeouts. Thats a K and a half every inning so far WOW.

    Your right about big test tonight for Sanchez. Dodgers lineup is scary and our offense has been a little better but not a lot. That right side of our infield and their backups havent given us anything(Ishi,Burress,Uribe,Aurilia). Hope we find a way to get some production from those positions soon.

     
  • At 10:44 PM, Anonymous Giants' Fan Dan said…

    I hate friggen Eithier.... Seems like he's joined the infamous "Giant Killers" of the club in the 2000's that is led by one Scott Hairston and also consists of Orlando Hudson and Gary Sheffield. There are others that I can't think of at this particular moment, but those guys come to mind right away...

     

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