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Friday, August 28, 2009

Giants Notes

The MLB Waiver Trade Deadline is just 3 days away, and the Giants could still use some help in various areas of their roster. I'm not expecting anything too big to go down if something indeed does, but there has been some rumblings going around over the last 24-48 hours that are posing some interesting scenarios.

According to MLB.com, the Giants have placed a waiver claim on Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to acquire Hoffman, but it does give them the chance to discuss a deal with the Brewers while also keeping Hoffman off limits to the Dodgers and Rockies. I think Sabean was more so trying to keep Hoffman away from those 2 squads, which promoted them to put a claim on him, but the more I think about it, the more Hoffman would actually make sense for this team. Earlier in the year, the Giants bullpen was having trouble finding innings to stay fresh, but now they're starting to get a tad overworked. Overall, the Giants bullpen has been better than they've been since 2004, but they still could use a nice veteran addition like Hoffman for the stretch drive. Back in 1997, the Giants had Roberto Hernandez and Rod Beck in their bullpen, two above average major league closers, and it really shortened games. If the Giants could somehow land Hoffman and toss him in with Brian Wilson, Jeremy Affeldt and a rebounding Sergio Romo, it would make any lead the team had after the 6th inning pretty darn safe.

Another decision looming for the Giants is what they're going to do with their number 5 spot in the rotation. Joe Martinez has really struggled in three of his last 4 starts, and has yet to make it through 6 full innings as a starter. It's really taxing the bullpen each time this guy takes the ball, and it wouldn't surprise me if the Giants find someone else to take his next scheduled start. A name from outside the organization that has surfaced recently is Brad Penny. The burly right-hander was just released from the Red Sox and apparently is looking to move back to the NL to right himself after struggling in the AL for most of 2009. Penny is apparently healthy, and is just 2 seasons removed from a 16-4, 3.03 era season with the Dodgers. I do think a move back to the NL and into a spacious park like AT&T would be ideal for Penny. There are other teams that are interested in him though as the Yankees would like him to become their 5th started for the final month of the season. Anyway, Penny likely won't clear waivers until Monday morning, so don't look for anything to happen with him until then, but I would be all for giving this guy a shot in the Giants rotation, especially in a low-risk, potentially high-reward type situation like this.

Up Next: The Giants have the Rockies coming into town for a 3 game weekend series starting Friday night, as they try and get revenge on them after losing 3 of 4 in Colorado last week. The Giants have set it up so that their top-3 starters will all throw in the series as Tim Lincecum faces Ubaldo Jimenez Friday, followed by a Barry Zito/Jason Marquis match-up and capped with a Matt Cain/Jasom Hammel duel. The pitching match-ups heavily favor the Giants, but the Rockies are playing extremely well at the moment, so it should be a fun weekend to watch... Also, we're going to be hooking up with Tom Verducci, SI's Senior baseball writer, for an interview and we'll hopefully have that transcript ready before the end of the weekend, so be sure to check back on Saturday or Sunday for that!
The Giants Baseball Blog

Monday, August 24, 2009

Giants Losing Ground In Wild Card Race

This weekends series vs. the Rockies was definitely one that the Giants wanted to use to gain ground in the wild card race. It's still pretty early, and they do see the Rockies a couple of more times before the end of the season, but if they can't manage to win Monday nights game and split the series with these Rockies, they'll find themselves 4 games back in the race and will have a hole to dig themselves out of.

The Giants who had been heating up coming into this series (Eugenio Velez, Nate Schierholtz and Randy Winn) have really gone cold in the mile high city. Velez was thriving in the leadoff spot for most of the second half, but has gone just 1 for 19 over his last 5 ballgames, and his average has dropped from .330 back into the .270's because of it. Schierholtz is another guy who was really swinging a hot bat coming into this series. He hasn't quite fallen off over the last couple of games like Velez has, but he'd be the first one to tell you that he hasn't done as much at the plate as he's like over the last couple of games. Nate did homer in Saturday nights' loss, but that's the only hit he's collected in 10 at-bats in one of the most hitter-friendly yards in all of baseball. The Giants need to get their offense going early on in Monday's game and hopefully get out to an early lead. They don't have the offense to come back from 4 run deficits, even in a place like Coors Field. As they showed in Tim Lincecum's start on Friday, it doesn't necessarily matter who you have on the mound in Denver, runs will be scored, you just need to be ready to keep up with the Rockies and the Giants haven't been through the first 3 games.

Ryan Garko has been somewhat of a bright spot in this Rockies series though. Garko hit his first two home runs as a Giant in Saturday nights' loss, and has gone 3-9 with 3 runs and 4 RBI in the series. Garko was kind of sputtering along for a couple of weeks there, and people were starting to wonder if this guy would ever get any offense going here in the National League, and I think he answered that on Saturday night. If Garko can start hitting the ball like he has in Denver, then the Giants offense will get that boost that they thought they were getting late in July when they pulled the trigger on the Garko deal. The other Giants newcomer, Freddy Sanchez, has been nursing a bum shoulder for the last week, and it's created a void in the Giants lineup and in the number 2 spot of the order. I think it's safe to say that Sanchez is the Giants most complete right-handed hitter at the moment, so losing him for these games in Denver is certainly hurting the team. Hopefully there are some changes on the horizon regarding the Giants batting order, because Bengie Molina in the cleanup spot, and Eugenio Velez at the top of the lineup while struggling are killing this team.

Up Next: After the Monday nights game, the Giants will return to San Francisco for 3 with the Diamondbacks then 3 more with the Rockies, so again, no matter what happens on Monday night they still will have a chance to redeem themselves against Colorado 6 more times this year.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Giants, Rockies Set for Showdown

The Giants just missed sweeping the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday, as their offense was unable to support another Matt Cain solid start. They did however take 2 of 3 from the Reds, a team they had to take advantage of after losing 2 of 3 at home to them a couple of weeks back. Now, it's on to Colorado, where the Giants hope to gain ground, and possibly re-take the top spot in the National League Wild Card race.

The starting pitching was once again rock solid in the Reds series but unfortunately, none of the starters got credit for a win. Surprisingly, the Reds got to Tim Lincecum on Tuesday night and handed him his worst start since May 15th by getting to him for 5 runs on 6 hits in 6 innings of work. It wasn't a horrible outing by the reigning NL Cy Young winner, but certainly not Lincecum-esque. The Giants offense luckily came through for Timmy though, and allowed him to exit without a decision, furthering his impressive streak of just 2 losses since April 12. Barry Zito and Matt Cain also helped ease the load on the bullpen in the final two games of the series. Zito put forth his 7th straight start in which he had to feel pretty good about. We've been talking a lot about Zito since the start of the second half here, and I know it's hard to believe, but he's been the teams top pitcher, leading in both era and wins, since the start of the second half. Matt Cain followed Zito's 6 scoreless innings with an 8 inning, 1 run performance in Thursday's loss to the Reds. That's the game that was really frustrating to watch as the offense left 10 runners on base and a bunch in scoring position, much like they did for most of Cain's stars in '07-'08.

So, even though the offense is still not hitting on all cylinders, the Giants are still playing relatively good baseball, and they have one of their most important series' of the year approaching. I know it's only August 20th, and there are still 40+ games left, but this up-coming four-game set with the Rockies should be a big one. The Giants will enter it either 1.5 or 2 games back of the Rockies (depending on what they do in their game with Washington tonight) in the wild card race. Depending on how things go over the weekend, they could find themselves 4 or 5 games back after this series, or they could leave Colorado in sole possession of first place in the wild card standing. The first two games of the series are going to be especially important, as the pitching match-ups are kind of in favor of Colorado, but the key to the series will be what kind of offense the Giants will be able to put up in the high altitude of Coors Field. One of their new adds, Ryan Garko, had himself his best series as a Giants in Cincinatti, going 4-12 with 4 RBI in the 3 game set. Garko is definitely someone the Giants need to get going for this stretch drive, and it looks like he's heating up just in time. Hopefully he starts showing some pop (he's yet to homer in 62 at-bats as a Giant), and this weekend would be as good a time as any to really explode offensively.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Giants Split Four With Mets

After mustering only 7 runs in the first 3 games of their series in New York with the Mets, the Giants offense exploded in Monday's finale, enabling the Giants to leave Flushing Meadows with a 4-game split.

The Giants have been playing very average baseball of late, and haven't really taken advantage of the teams they need to be taking advantage of. The Mets are a team that has scuffled all year long, are completely banged up, and shouldn't really have the fire power to keep up with a team like the Giants, yet the Giants could only salvage of split. A big reason why they were able to salvage the split was the offensive day from Aaron Rowand. The Giants' center fielder had arguably his best day as a Giant, going 4-5 with a home run, 2 RBI and 2 runs scored. Rowand's average had dipped below .270 for the first time since May 2oth, so his big day was definitely something he needed and maybe that will get him back on track. The other outfielder the Giants would very much like to get going is Randy Winn. The veteran right-fielder continues to struggle through his worst season as a Giant, but he had a three hit game with a couple of runs scored on Monday as well. With Nate Schierholtz back, and Eugenio Velez striving in the leadoff spot, playing time is getting slim for outfielders, and if Rowand and Winn cannot continue to help out the offense, Bochy needs to seriously consider sitting those guys down for a bit.

The Giants starting pitching threw very well in New York, including another solid outing from Jonathan Sanchez and another victory for rookie Joe Martinez. In fact, it looks like Martinez is quietly grabbing hold of the fifth spot in the rotation and it doesn't look like he'll be relinquishing it anytime soon. He's yet to go more than five innings in a start, but he's certainly shown the ability to keep the ball in the yard and keep the Giants in the game when he's out there. He had one sub par start vs. LA last week, but other than that, he's been nails for the Giants. It's still unclear on when and if Randy Johnson will return to the club this year, so it's especially crucial that the Giants get some support from the bottom half of their rotation. Barry Zito has been pretty darn good since the All-star break, and Jonathan Sanchez has looked like a new pitcher since he threw his no-no back in early July. I thought the Giants rotation would suffer a set-back with The Big Unit on the shelve, but that hasn't been the case. If the Giants can get Randy back in September and he's anywhere close to full-strength, then it will be icing on the cake.

: Speaking of the pitching staff, the Giants inked their first round pick from June's Amateur draft just before the deadline on Monday. The Giants and right-hander Zach Wheeler agreed on a deal that will pay the rightie just over 3 million dollars in guaranteed money. Can't wait to see him get his professional career started.... For those of you looking to do some MLB gambling this season, be sure to check out our baseball handicapping and any info you'll need on how to bet on baseball at Betfirms!
The Giants Baseball Blog

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Giants Struggling Again

Since the second half of the year started, the Giants have either been on a hot streak, or a cold one, but nothing really in-between. They lost 4 of 6 at home to the Dodgers and Reds over the week, and couldn't get anything whatsoever going vs. the Mets' Brett Parnell Friday night, making the right-handed rookie look like a young Doc Gooden in the process.

The problem for the Giants over the last week has once again been offensive struggles. They scored just 7 runs in 3 games with the Dodgers after losing 2 of 3 at home to the Reds. The team has struggled since the start of the second half, but they normally save their struggles for the road, which made it a little concerning to see them choke so hard at home. They barely avoided being swept by the Dodgers, thanks mostly to Tim Lincecum's masterpiece no-decision on Thursday, but the Giants are going to have to start learning to win when they don't get the 8 inning, 1 run starts from their starters, and they haven't seemed to figure that out lately. One reason why I think the offense continues to sag is because of Bengie Molina sticking in the cleanup spot. We've mentioned this a little bit here lately, and just when you think Bochy will make the change, he trots out another lineup with the Giants' catcher in the cleanup hole. Again the Giants don't have an abundance of options for that spot, and no-matter who they put there, he'll be an unconventional clean-up guy, so they may as well go with a hitter who will keep rally's going and get on base with consistency, two things Molina has not done for the better part of the year.

With Eugenio Velez cooling down a bit at the top of the lineup (it was inevitable that he'd eventually come back to life), it's even more crucial that the Giants have people in the middle of their order who are keeping innings alive. I think the best thing Bochy can do with the cards he has is lineup the teams best three OPS' in the middle 3 spots of the order. Right now, those three would be Freddy Sanchez, Nate Schierholtz and Pablo Sandoval. Only Sandoval of that bunch is your prototypical middle-of-the-order guy, but in this lineup, those guys are your best options. I'd also like to see Travis Ishikawa and Fred Lewis given a little more pt to see if them may be able to kick start the offense a bit. Ishikawa has outplayed Ryan Garko in every since of the term since Garko's arrival in San Francisco, and I know that the Giants want to see Garko succeed and will give him ample opportunity to do so, but they need to be playing their hot hitters at this point in time. Randy Winn has gone stone cold along with Molina, as Winn's OPS has dipped below .700. I would like to see Schierholtz given Winn's spot for a while or until Velez plays himself out of the lineup. Here's the way I'd like to see the top 5 spots in the lineup play out with the way things are currently going: 1. Velez LF 2. Uribe SS 3. Sanchez 2B 4. Sandoval 3B 5. Schierholtz RF.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Giants' Fantasy Baseball Interview

This year, the Giants Baseball Blog started a monthly interview with the Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove Blog, in which we here at the GBB answer various questions regarding the Giants' players value in fantasy baseball. Here is the final interview of the fantasy season, done Monday @ http://fantasybaseballhotstove.blogspot.com/:

FBHS: I had no idea until I read your blog. Barry Zito has been dealing of late. His last five starts he has a 2.32 ERA as you point out. I'm still not convinced though. He is Barry Zito after all. Give me one reason why he will be able to keep putting together quality outings.

GBB: Well, I'm not too sure he's going to sport an era in the low 2's for the rest of the second half, but Zito's clearly in a rhythm now, one that Giants fans have yet to see him in since he crossed the bay. His velocity is up from 85 mph on average last year to around 88-89 with consistency this year. It doesn't seem like much, but I think that's making a big difference in how his other pitches are beeing percieved by hitters. He's striking out more batters and keeping them off the basepaths. He just seems like he's throwing with a lot more confidence, and is getting himself out of jams when he needs to. Zito's always been a second half guy as well, so I would expect him to continue being strong down the stretch, just maybe not as strong as he has been over the last month. He's made the loss of Randy Johnson a lot easier to swallow too.

FBHS: Despite the fact that Bengie Molina has taken some steps back from last season, Pablo Sandoval has put up some really solid numbers. Do you think if Sandoval was protected better that his overall numbers would see a jump or would his approach at the plate and the way pitchers attack be the same?

GBB: I think Sandoval has done a terrific job putting up numbers in a lineup that is pretty hard to do so in, but yeah, if he had more protection, his numbers would undoubtedly be even better. For some reason, Bruce Bochy insists on hitting Bengie Molina fourth, even though he has an OPS under .700. I would like to see the lineup shifted around a bit and Molina dropped lower in the order, where his measly OPS and pathetic base-running abilities wouldn't be as magnified. The thing is though, the Giants don't really have many better options at that spot. They would like Ryan Garko to take off and maybe take that slot, but he's still slowly learning the National League. I still am expecting to see some sort of lineup change eventually though. Maybe Sandoval into the fourth spot and Freddy Sanchez into the three hole? Anyway, it should be something to keep an eye on down the stretch.

FBHS: If only the Giants had left Eugenio Valez with the big club through June and July he might have had Joe D's record. He has a hit in every MLB game he's appeared in dating back to May 19th. Now he's hitting lead off. He has some serious value as a run scorer there, but another issue of interest to fantasy players will be how much he can run. Is he a green light guy or are the Giants more cautious with him?

GBB: Velez has been amazing since his recent promotion, but he really didn't show a whole lot up here earlier in the year, or during his showcasing last season. He also lost his green-light permission last year with some baserunning blunders. He's got tremendous speed (was something like 19-20 in sb attempts in the spring of 2008), but he has yet to master the art of baserunning fully. He's been on a tear with the bat though and is really sparking the Giants at the top of their lineup and I think the steals will come as long as he stays in the lineup. The Giants don't have a team built for the home run, so they need to play little ball, and Velez really is the epitome of that. He's also flexing a bit of power (2 home runs over the weekend at AT&T Park) which is a bonus on-top of that average and on-base percentage!

The Giants Baseball Blog

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Giants Can't Handle Reds At Home

The Giants suffered a rare home series loss this weekend, losing 2 of 3 to the Cincinnati Reds, and it was the pitching that couldn't hold the Reds down.

On Friday night, Tim Lincecum put together a pretty good start on paper, but if you watched the game, you know that he did not quite have his best stuff with him. He allowed just 2 earned runs on 6 hits in 7 innings, and struck out 7 batters in the process, but he got into a little bit of trouble late and the Giants' bullpen couldn't hold on for him. The Reds scored 7 runs in the final two innings of that ballgame and ultimately blew out the Giants after entering the late innings down a few runs. Brian Wilson blew his 5th save of the year and Sergio Romo continued his struggles by allowing a run in just 1/3 innings pitched. The Giants bullpen has hit sort of a dry spell lately and I think it has to do with them not getting as much work, which is a good thing. The Giants starting pitching has been terrific lately, even without Randy Johnson, and it's really cut into some of the relievers work load. Merkin Valdez just went 9 days in between appearances, as threw in his first game since July 31st on Sunday, just to show how hard it's been to find innings. I wouldn't worry too much about their implosion on Friday Night though, they've been very solid throughout the year and should be solid down the stretch.

The Giants' bullpen wasn't great this weekend, but Barry Zito, and Eugenio Velez continue to put on a show. Zito put together his fifth consecutive quality outing in which he's allowed 2 runs or less while Eugenio Velez had himself another crazy weekend at the plate. This is by far his best stretch of starts he's had since joining the Giants, and he couldn't have picked a better time to do it. We've talked at length here about how the loss of Randy Johnson has put a little extra pressure on the rest of the starting staff, and Barry Zito in particular has really answered the bell since the Unit hit the shelf. In his five starts since the All-star break, Zito's gone 3-1 with a 2.32 era and a 1.16 WHIP with 25 strikeouts in 31 innings. The dude has been absolutely dealing, and even though he's been a huge disappointment in his 2+ years here so far, he's still got plenty of time to make good, and he's on that track right now. He's approaching .500, which is something I would have deemed nearly impossible when he was 1-6 with on May 30th.

We've talked about Velez a lot here in recent posts, so I'm not going to get into him too much. But all he did this weekend was put together two more multi-hit ballgames, including a couple of home runs, which raised his average to .330 entering play on Sunday. He's also playing solid defense in the outfield, which comes as a bonus to his offensive abilities. The Giants seem to have different players stepping up at different times this year, which is really keeping their offense afloat. For much of July, it was Pablo Sandoval and Aaron Rowand who were carrying the offense, but right now, Velez is the guy who's getting everything going. The amazing thing about it is, many people didn't even think Velez would be a serviceable utility guy up here, let alone someone who'd take a starting spot and not relinquish it.

The thing I am interested in seeing play out is how the playing time gets divided when Nate Schierholtz returns? Schierholtz was one of the Giants' hottest hitters when he hit the DL in late July, and they're going to need his bat in there when he's ready. With Velez playing the way he is, and taking the reigns of the leadoff slot, it's going to be hard to just remove him from the lineup, or even start cutting into his playing time when Nate's activated. I think the guy who's playing time should be cut into is Randy Winn. I like Winn as much as the next Giants fan, but numbers don't lie, and he's the week link in the outfield right now. Winn is having, by far, his worst offensive season in his career, and just when you think things are on the up with him, he goes on another 2 for 19 stretch or something. What's making his low average and OBP even tougher to swallow, is the fact that he's hitting for zero power. An outfield of Velez in left, Rowand in center and Schierholtz in right is what I'd like to see take the field when Schierholtz is activate, at least until Winn heats up or someone else cools down.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Martinez Solid In Big League Return

Joe Martinez made his first big league appearance since he took a line drive off of the skull back on April 9th. The 26 year-old made his first career major league start a memorable one, by defeating the Astros and leading the Giants to a big road series victory while pushing their record back to 12 games above .500.

Many wondered how effective, and what kind of confidence Joe Martinez would have if and when he returned to a big league mound, but just as he showed during him minor league rehabilitation assignment, he's throwing with plenty of confidence and doesn't seem to have missed a beat. He went 5 solid innings on Tuesday, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits while walking none and striking out 4 against a very potent Astros lineup, in a very potent offensive yard. The Giants are really hoping that Martinez can step up behind Lincecum, Cain, Zito and Sanchez and help anchor down the starting rotation until Randy Johnson can rejoin it (likely not until mid-September) and he has locked rock solid on his road to recovery. It looks like Martinez will be the fifth starter for the time-being, and since that's the case, hopefully there won't be any more changes to the Giants rotation until Randy Johnson can hopefully return next month (though I wouldn't gamble on it, he is 45 after all). If Martinez cannot keep handle of the fifth spot (which I don't think will happen), my guess would be that Kevin Pucetas (10-3, 3.76 era in Fresno) will be next in line.

The Giants offense showed up in full force to support Martinez's effort, in fact, they totaled 18 runs over the final 2 games in the series. During that 2 game stretch, Pablo Sandoval went 5 for 7 with 1 homer, 3 RBI and 4 runs scored. The Giants two newest acquisitions also showed up big on Tuesday afternoon. Freddy Sanchez hit out of the three hole (more on that later) and had a 3-hit day while Ryan Garko put up his second multi-hit effort in the last 3 days with a 2-4 with a couple of RBI. As a matter of fact, Garko had himself a real solid series overall in Houston, as he went 5 for 10 with 3 RBI in the 3-game set.

Speaking of the two new additions, and their spots in the batting order, there has been a lot of discussion lately about possibly changing the Giants lineup around a bit. Eugenio Velez has sort of forced his way into the lineup everyday, playing in left field and leading off and I wouldn't look for him to be moving anywhere anytime soon. Bochy loves his speed at the top of the order with Fred Sanchez's solid bat control behind him the the two spot. The area which is under question though, and has been for the better part of the last 2 years, is the middle of their order. Bengie Molina, in particular, has really been playing himself out of the clean-up spot, and it's amazing that Bochy continues to trot him out there night in and night out. Molina is sporting an OBP of .270, which is barely a respectable batting average, and a pathetic on-base percentage. He had a hot starting in April and parts of May, but over the last 2 1/2 months, he's been relatively non-existent on offense. The thing is though, the Giants don't really have your prototypical cleanup option on the roster. Ryan Garko figures to be next in line when Molina inevitably gets dropped in the order, and he'd be a better option as he gets on bast a lot more than Molina does, but he's still learning a new league, and asking him to become the teams cleanup guy this early could be putting too much pressure on him. I still would try it out for 7-10 days just to get an idea of how things went. My ideal lineup for the roster as is now would be as follows:

1. LF Velez (until he cools down)
2. 2B Sanchez
3. 3B Sandoval
4. 1B Garko
5. CF Rowand
6. RF Winn/Schierholtz (when he returns)
7. C Molina
8. SS Renteria/Uribe
The Giants Baseball Blog

Monday, August 03, 2009

Giants Get Well At Home

Fans started to panic a bit when the team came out of the all-star break so stagnant, but it looks like they have righted the ship, as they so often have at home this year, with a 6-1 home stand. They've also regained their hold of the National League Wild Card spot, although the Rockies, Cubs and Marlins are breathing right down their necks.

During this recent stretch of good ball, one of the pleasant surprises, and a big reason why the team went 6-1 during the home stand was the play of Eugenio Velez. The Giants speedy utility guy got the call-up just before the Pittsburgh series, and has torn the cover off the ball over the last week (12-27, 7 RBI, 5 runs). Velez has also played all 3 outfield positions for the Giants as well as second base, furthering his value and providing the Giants much needed flexibility while their two starting middle infielders (Renteria and Sanchez) took it slow. Renteria is going to be battling a bone spur in his right-elbow for the rest of the season, so it's unclear how effective he's going to be on a day-to-day basis. Velez hasn't been used at shortstop yet, but his availability at second allows Juan Uribe to be the on-call shortstop. Uribe has been such a valuable commodity for the Giants this season, and he may end up finishing out the year at short if Renteria's health continues to limit his effectiveness. Uribe isn't the most gifted defensive shortstop, but his bat will help make up for some of his shortcomings on defense, much like it did while he filled in at second base for the team for much of July. With Sanchez and Velez now in tow, the Giants depth up the middle has doubled over the last week!

Speaking of Sanchez, he started his Giants' tenure off in style, with a 2-4 afternoon, including a double and couple of RBI's. There's no question as to Sanchez's effectiveness when healthy, it's just going to be a matter of keeping him that way. He reported everything as OK after the game Sunday, so hopefully he can go forward with everyday duties for the rest of the year, because the team definitely needs it. The other new addition to the Giants, Ryan Garko, hasn't been quite as prosperous as Sanchez yet. Garko has struggled through his first five games in the National League, going just 2 for his first 16 without driving in a run while hitting fifth in the order. I said when they acquired him that the league switch and new team may take a little while to get used too, and I still expect Garko to have a positive effect on the team down the stretch. The thing is though, is that Travis Ishikawa is hitting over .300 since the all-star break, and shouldn't just be cut from the Giants plans now that Garko is aboard.

Notes: Just because the non-waiver trade deadline has passed, it doesn't mean the Giants can't make any more additions to their team for the stretch run. They could still do a deal before August 31st, but any players involved would have to go through waivers first, exposing him to other teams in the league as well. There a typically a lot of pitchers that get dealt around this time, although Adam Dunn was one significant bat who got dealt in August last year. With Randy Johnson not expected back until September at the earliest, I fully expect Sabean to explore deals that could land the team another starter in August.
The Giants Baseball Blog