Burrell Gets Start In Pittsburgh
Within a week of signing Pat Burrell to a minor league deal, the Giants wasted no time in getting his bat onto the 25-man roster and into the starting lineup.
Burrell played just 5 games in Fresno but performed well in that brief stint, going 5-16 with a homer and 6 RBI. The Giants are hoping they will get that type of production upon his arrival, and not the Burrell that hit just .213 with 16 homers and 77 RBI in 146 games in about 1 1/3 season in Tampa. He got his first start as a Giant on Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh, but went just 1-4 with a strikeout. Bochy had him hitting out of the 6 hole in between Aubry Huff and Buster Posey. As expected, Burrell got the start in left field, pushing Huff into right and Andres Torres to center field. I don't think we'll see much of that outfield alignment at AT&T Park, but I do expect Bochy to use that mix on occasion during road trips. As good as Aubrey Huff has been in his stint in the outfield for the Giants, I believe asking him to handle right field at AT&T on a nightly basis would be wishful thinking. Also part of the Giants lineup change Saturday had Pablo Sandoval dropped down into the 8th spot. It's no secret that Pablo has been struggling really all year long, so Bochy is going to try and do whatever he can to maybe alleviate some of the pressure off of Sandoval.
While Sandoval has been struggling, 2 guys who have really picked up the slack have been Buster Posey and Aubrey Huff. We talked a lot about Posey in our last post here, and he's done nothing but continue to rip since. He's still got his average up around .450 and seems to be hitting the ball on a line in almost every at-bat he takes. Huff, in my opinion, has been the most consistent hitter for the Giants over the first 2 months. Huff entered play Saturday at .302 with 7 home runs and 25 RBI. His RBI numbers would probably be a bit higher had there been some more consistency at the top of the order, but right now he's projecting out to be right around .295 with 22 home runs and 80 RBI and I think any Giants fan would take that line from Huff come September. Also, Freddy Sanchez has really caught fire since his return and is finally showing Giants fans why Sabean gave away their #2 pitching prospect last summer to get him. Sanchez has hit safely in all but one of his 16 games since his return from offseason shoulder surgery and it has his average up at .389. Now I don't expect him to hit .350 plus all year, but in order for me to feel good about the Giants deal with Sanchez, he's going to have to stay healthy from here on out and hit around .310-.315 and it looks like he's indeed ready to do so.
Up Next: The Giants finish off their 3 game set with Pittsburgh on Sunday, and if they want to be in the playoff race in September, these are the types of series they have to win in June and July. Tim Lincecum will oppose Ross Ohlendorf as Timmy tries to break his personal 2-game losing streak and win his first game since May 15th.... Also, we'll be taking our monthly look down on the farm in our next post, so look out for that Monday or Tuesday!