Giants' Rotation Laboring Through August
A big reason for the rotation's downfall has been the struggles of Tim Lincecum, which we broke down in our last post. However, it hasn't just been Lincecum. Barry Zito, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez have all been pretty inconsistent lately. And the bullpen hasn't been much of a help either. The Giants lost 2 of 3 against the St. Louis Cardinals, again losing to a first place team, and gave up 17 runs in the process. Even when the Giants offense is on, it's asking a lot of them to score 17 runs in a 3-game set, and they just can't keep up with teams when they get behind by a large margin early in ballgames. Surprisingly, it's been rookie Madison Bumgarner who's really been the most consistent Giants' starter throughout the month of August. Cain and Sanchez have sprinkled in some decent starts as well, but have been terribly inconsistent. The excuse some of the pitchers and fans are hinting at is that the loss of Bengie Molina has had more of an impact than people originally thought. Not that Buster Posey is a bad game-caller, it's just that he's only caught a handful of games at this level and doesn't know these hitters nearly as well as Bengie did. I'm hoping this staff though, which is packed with Cy Young winners, perennial all-stars and top-prospects, will be just fine eventually no matter who's behind the plate.
The Giants also made another move which added some depth to their outfield Sunday, grabbing Cody Ross off waivers from the Florida Marlins. I think they claimed Ross to block him from somebody else (my guess is the Padres, Cards or Braves), but ended up with him. And since he's here, they might as well use him. Ross brings value to the team in a number of ways. Although he's not having his best year (.265, 11 hr, 58 RBI, 60 runs, 9 SB) he's been a pretty solid hitter over the last couple of seasons. In 2008-'09 he averaged 23 homers, 82 RBI and a .799 OPS with a .265 average. Not too shabby considering he's a pretty darn good defensive center fielder, with the ability to play either corner outfield spot flawlessly as well. That said, I don't think he's going to get a heavy playing load right off the bat here. I don't think he'll play over Guillen in right or Burrell in left, but could be used as a defensive replacement late in ballgames or insurance for Andres Torres incase he fades down the stretch. If Ross catches fire though, like Burrell did, he'll undoubtedly find himself in the lineup more days than not. He's also under team control through the 2011 season, meaning the Giants can either use him as trade bait this winter, or they could keep him in the mix as a viable center/right field option for 2011. Everybody in the Giants outfield, outside of Schierholtz and Rowand will be free-agents after the year, so Ross would immediately become their best outfielder on the roster once everyone files for free agency. I really like the move considering they didn't have to give up anything, and, again, now posses a 29 year-old right-handed hitting outfielder who plays good defense and will give you 20 hr/85 RBI per year.