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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.
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