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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Giants Struggling Vs. Top Teams

I've been noticing a pattern here lately with the Giants, and it's becoming a tad disturbing. Yes, the team is still 13 games over .500 and in pretty good position to make their playoff push in the final month of the season, but they just can't seem to figure out the NL's better teams lately.

First off, the Giants were punished by the Padres, once again, in their own home ballpark, losing 2 of 3 to the first place Friars in a series the Giants really needed to make a statement in. Just a few weeks back, they were really cruising but lost 3 of 4 to the NL East leading Atlanta Braves in Atlanta, then beat up on the lowly Cubbies before sinking vs. the first place Padres. Now they're struggling again vs. a solid Philly squad. It seems like the Giants just can't seem to win the big series vs. these winning ballclubs, and that's going to hurt them down the stretch. A big reason for that is the fact that their dominant starting rotation has hit a bit of a bump in the road, especially ace Tim Lincecum. Fans are starting to worry about "The Franchise" after his era's blown up to 3.62 (a staff high) and he's lost his last 3 starts in a row. Not too mention, his fastball that once averaged 94-96 mph is down around 90, and he just doesn't have that uncanny command that he's used to. I've seen Lincecum win without his best stuff. I've seen him dominate teams even with the 91 mph fastball consistently, but he seems like a different pitcher right now. The logical guess is that maybe all his work over the last 3 seasons is catching up with him (450+ innings last 2 seasons). I'm not at all panicked over Lincecum right now, but I think it would be wise for the Giants to consider sitting him down and missing a start to get some extra rest. Not sure if that's the issue or not, but I'm sure taking an extra 5 days off wouldn't hurt the matter.

It's not just Lincecum though either. It seems that the rest of the Giants' starting rotation have all had their era's balloon here in the last couple of weeks. Luckily, they've gotten some clutch offensive performances that have won some games for them recently, or else they'd really be in a tail-spin. The two right-handed power hitting outfielders the Giants added in-season have both been paying dividends. Jose Guillen just arrived, but has arrived in style, going 5-12 in his first 3 games as a Giant, including an impressive homer run off of Roy Oswalt to bring the Giants to within 1 late in Tuesday's game (a game the Giants eventually got blown out in). But it's really been Pat "The Bat" Burrell who has really exploded here lately. Burrell's taken sole reigns of the everyday left-field job and has prospered. In his last 10 ballgames, Burrell has gone 11-39 with 5 home runs and 13 RBI. One of those homers ended up winning a game for the Giants, and one of them ended up tying a game in the 8th inning in which the Giants ended up pulling out.

Besides Burrell, prize rookie catcher Buster Posey has continued his assault on NL pitching, collecting 8 hits in his last 4 ballgames and keeping the Giants lineup afloat. Bruce Bochy has recently been experimenting with Posey in the 2 hole, but I really would like to see him moved to the 3-spot permanently. I think that spot best suits him and will likely be the spot where he ends up in the long-term. With the way everyone's swinging the bat right now though, Boch doesn't have many other options for that 2nd spot. One idea I have would be to place Pablo Sandoval there for a few games to maybe get him going. Hitting him in front of Posey, Huff, Burrell and Guillen would probably be the spot that would provide him with the best possible pitches, and probably the best fastball ratio. Pitchers won't want to walk the Panda to set things up for the hot hitters in the Giants lineup, so I think they'd go right after him. Just an idea, but I don't see any harm in trying it out.
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2 Comments:

  • At 9:29 PM, Anonymous hitnrun said…

    Trevor, the Giants inability to beat the above .500 teams will mean no playoffs for them, as only the better teams are playoff bound to begin with, and without Lincecum reverting back to his old self, their chances were pretty slim anyway. The Giants inflated their record against the teams (Brewers, Pirates, Astros, Nats) that stink, so if they cannot at least go .500 against the better teams, they don't deserve even a wild card slot. 2 up and 10 down against the Padres says it all!

     
  • At 3:18 PM, Blogger Aaron said…

    Posey will probably be your best hitter so i tend to agree with him moving to the three spot. (That is where Carlos was when he got called up until he got injured)

     

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