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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Giants Set to Begin Second Half

The 2nd half of the Major League Baseball season officially begins tonight, and the Giants hope they will pick right up were they left off before the break when they won 6 of 7 and had their offense clicking on all cylinders.

What really kept the Giants afloat for much of the first half was their spectacular starting pitching. All of their starting pitchers have era's below 3.76 and all of them and all should have winning records, although Matt Cain has once again pitched through some terrible luck. For a while there in early-mid June, it looked like 4 of the Giants 5 starters had legit shots at making the all-star team. All of them (besides Todd Wellemeyer) had era's under 3 and had winning records. They were thriving even though they weren't getting consistent run support. Unfortunately, they haven't really been able to get their offense and starting pitching clicking together at the same time. For much of the first half of the year though, the Giants offense has been very inconsistent. It took them a while to find their best leadoff man (Andres Torres) and a couple of their big hitters like Aubrey Huff and Juan Uribe really didn't get going until May and June. The guy they were counting on really carrying the offense, Pablo Sandoval, has not been nearly the factor that he was in '08-'09, and I think that was a big reason why the offense was so slow out of the gate. However, ever since Buster Posey's arrival, it seems like the Giants offense has stepped it up a notch.

Posey's emergence has helped equal out the under-performance from Sandoval, and has really solidified the middle of the Giants batting order. That along with the solid outputs they're getting out of Aubrey Huff and Juan Uribe has helped shape the best Giants lineup since the early 2000's. Keep in mind also, that they are doing this without Mark DeRosa (out for season with injury) and without getting very much out of Aaron Rowand (.238, 8 HR, 27 RBI). Even though Posey has been a big part of the Giants offensive turnaround, he wasn't the most valuable player for this team in the first half. That honor would have to go to Aubrey Huff, who's quietly put together one of his best halves of his career, and has turned out to be an absolute bargain at $3 million for 2010. Entering the 2nd half, Huff is hitting .295 with 17 bombs and 54 RBI to go with a .921 OPS. There were plenty of people who didn't even think Huff would hit 17 homers all year playing at AT&T Park after hitting just 15 last year with Baltimore. I'd have to say the two biggest contributors and most important pieces to the Giants lineup in half #1 were Huff and Andres Torres. The 31 year-0ld Torres has been huge at the top of the lineup where Aaron Rowand failed so miserably. He's cooled off a little lately, but his .281 average, .378 OBP and 17 steals at the leadoff spot has given the Giants their best production out of that slot since when Ray Durham was used there in his first few years in San Francisco.

It's all going to come down to offense for the Giants in the second half, and that's pretty much what everyone was expecting all along. The trade deadline is just around the corner (July 31st) and the Giants could go out and really put themselves in a good spot with another big bat. Their bullpen is rock solid, and their starting pitching, especially after the arrival of Madison Bumgarner, doesn't need any work. Even their lineup is starting to round into shape, but if they could just get one more corner outfielder, or possibly even a first basemen who could rake, it would really help their chances of winning this division. They may have found that extra bat in one of their own, Travis Ishikawa, who's been on fire since being inserted into the starting lineup. If they're going to go outside the organization, there are a bunch of options out there. A few that come to mind right off the top of my head are Lance Berkman, Prince Fielder, Adam Dunn, Josh Willingham, Dan Uggla and Garrett Jones.
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2 Comments:

  • At 4:50 PM, Anonymous Fast Freddy said…

    Oh Man, if the Giants could get Dunn or Fielder, it would be on... Look out NL West!!! But what would they have to give up for those guys?

     
  • At 5:56 PM, Anonymous Jason Billingsley said…

    Hey Trevor, I remember during the offseason you mentioned how you wanted the Giants to go after Kelly Johnson at the time. I really wish the Giants would have taken your advise and gotten him instead of Freddy Sanchez. Oh yeah, not to mention he's a lot younger and less injury prone than Sanchez. Wonder if the Giants could pry him away from AZ?

    J-Bill

     

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