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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Giants Clinch NL West Tie

UPDATE: The Giants have now swept the Diamondbacks, clinching at least a tie for the NL West. This means that the sinking Padres would have to beat the surging Giants 4 times in a row in order to knock them out.

Now, even if the Giants hold off the D-Backs and win, and the Cubs take care of business vs. the Pads tonight and the magic number drops to 1, the division, again, is not necessarily theirs. The Giants will have to finish the season off against the Padres, and the Pads could still take the West with a sweep this weekend. And let's not forget that the Padres really have owned the Giants throughout 2010 up until the Giants took their most recent 4-game set. Prior to that series, the Giants were 2-10 vs. San Diego this year and have really been having problems with them over the last few seasons. However, this really is a different Giants ball-club than what the Padres have seen for much of the last 3 or 4 years, and they're really doing what they need to be doing in order to clinch this division. They're on the verge of sweeping the D-Backs, as they once again scored 3+ runs in each game, and that's really been the magic number for the Giants offense. If they can just get to 3 runs, and hopefully within the first 5 innings of the game, then 95% of the time, they're going to win those games. Especially now that this bullpen has really toughened up and made this complete pitching staff the best in the NL in my opinion. It didn't seem like much at the time, but those moves Sabean made for Javier Lopez and Ramon Ramirez at the deadline have really paid off. Five Giants relievers (Lopez, Ramirez, Brian Wilson, Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla carry ERA's at 2.28 or lower, which gives you an idea on just how effective the Giants 'bully has been recently.

It's not just the bullpen and the starting pitching though, the offense looks like they're finally hitting with at least some consistency, but mostly, they're using the long ball to put runs on the board, something which hasn't really been done here since the days Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent. Home runs accounted for all 4 of the Giants runs Thursday, as Pablo Sandoval and Andres Torres each had solo jobs, and Buster Posey hit a 2-run jack to give him 17 on the year. The Giants have all the sudden become a team that can, and will beat you with the "3-run homer", as they say. Nobody on the team is necessarily having a huge home run year, but just about everyone in the lineup has home run power. Bringing in Aubrey Huff this offseason was a start, as he's ended up being one of the best bargains of 2010 hitting .290 with 26 hr and 87 RBI heading into the season's final weekend. Juan Uribe is second on the team with 23, then there's Pat Burrell and Buster Posey, who have 18 and 17 respectively, but neither player has gotten close to a full-season's worth of at-bats. Burrell has hit his 18 bombs over the course of just 275 at-bats with San Francisco. Posey wasn't called up until the very end of May, and wasn't a full-timer right off the bat, so his 17 home runs in 389 rookie at-bats have been mighty impressive. Lead-off man Andres Torres is 5th on the team with 16 hr's in his surprising break-out 2010 season. Also in the everyday lineup is newcomer Jose Guillen, who has hit only 3 jacks in his 120 at-bats in SF, but had 16 with KC which would puts him at 19 for the year. Pablo Sandoval, who hit 25 last season, has had an off-year with only 13 in 2010, but absolutely brings that threat to the batters box, and may erupt at any time.

Pitching Match-Ups for SD Series
: With the way the Giants rotation lines up, will be Matty Cain going Friday (in the potential division clincher), followed by Barry Zito Saturday, then Jonathan Sanchez Sunday. However, if the Padres manage to win the first 2 games of the series, it wouldn't surprise me the least to see Bochy start Lincecum in the finale on 3-days rest. If that's what it came down to, I think that's the day Padres' young ace Mat Latos is next scheduled to start, so that could be one for the ages. Let's hope it doesn't get to that though.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Giants In Drivers Seat for Final Week

The final week of the regular season is officially upon us, and it's now do or die time for all teams scurrying to make that last postseason push. The Giants start a 3-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks Tuesday night before returning home to host the Padres the final 3-game set of the year, and the one that should ultimately decide the fates of both teams.

As we stand now though, the Giants have a 1 game lead on the Padres as we start play Tuesday, so they, in essence, control their own destiny. They send Jonathan Sanchez to the mound against the D-Backs' Rodrigo Lopez in a pitching match which heavily favors the Giants. Sanchez has been an in absolute groove lately too, as he's allowed just 3 runs over his last 5 starts. Unfortunately, he's still battling some wildness, which is spiking his pitch count early, and forcing him out of games in the 6th and 7th innings, even when he's throwing shutout or 1-run baseball. But as all Giants fans know, it's not necessarily the pitching that any one's worried about. As they've showed throughout most of September, when they score runs, they win, and they don't generally have to score a bunch either. Outside of that wacky game in Colorado Saturday, the Giants don't really have trouble beating teams when they score 3 or more runs. In fact, that game in Colorado has been the only one all month in which the Giants have scored 3 or more runs and have lost the game. The pitching is on right now, both the starters and the bullpen. Rookie Buster Posey hit the nail on the head this weekend when he was quoted as saying "If we give this staff a little run support, we're going to be tough". The hitters know they hold the key to this thing, and right now, they're responding.

In effort to ensure that ever so important offense is clicking on all cylinders, the Giants activated Andres Torres from the DL about 7-10 days quicker than the earliest anyone had been anticipating. Torres started Saturday's game and homered in his return to the top of the lineup. The Giants have been getting some good performances out of Cody Ross lately too, and he's been one of the hottest bats on the team over the last week. Over his last 4 games, Ross is 6-14 with 3 homers and 5 RBI. He's now given Bruce Bochy a solid back-up plan in-case Torres is not quite ready for everyday duty, and if he keeps it up, he may force himself into a full-on platoon situation with Torres in center field. Right fielder Jose Guillen has also gone a bit cold over the last week (no homers or RBI since September 19th), and Ross could find himself out in right field against arms that Guillen isn't familiar with. Guillen has been solid since his arrival from Kansas City, hitting .289, but he just hasn't quite been the run producer the Giants were hoping they'd get. Still, he is very streaky though, and he's about due for another 2-3 homer, 10-RBI series, so let's hope he's saving it for San Diego.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Friday, September 24, 2010

Giants' Offense Puts Them Back on Top

First off, sorry for the sporadic posting schedule over the last few weeks, I was a little under the weather for a few days and then left town early this week to attend a wedding. I'll be back in town on Monday, and will resume normal posting schedules. We'll also be posting something everyday during that final week of the regular season, so do stay tuned to see if the Giants will be playing October baseball for the first time since 2003.

That said, the seesaw battle for first place in the NL West is looking more and more like it's going to carry into the final weekend of the season, when the Giants square off with the Padres at AT&T Park. That series is just 7 days away, as MLB gets set to play it's last week of regular season baseball. It's officially "crunch time" or "do or die" time, or whatever you want to call it, for all clubs pushing for playoff spots, including your San Francisco Giants, and the Giants sure answered the bell on Thursday night in Chicago. The Giants took the rubber match of the 3-game series with the Cubbies, by pounding Cubs pitching and putting up 13 runs in support of Madison Bumgarner's 7 shutout innings. Bumgarner allowed just 7 baserunners, en route to striking out 9 Cub hitters as he just continues to grow out there on the mound. Over 8 of his last 9 starts, Bumgarner has allowed 2 or less runs and his overall season numbers are starting to look a little more appropriate compared to how he's thrown. His era now sits at 3.06 (2nd lowest in Giants' rotation) and it just looks like the kid has arrived and believes he belongs now when he's out there on the mound. I think at times during spring training and early in the year in Fresno, he was trying to do too much in order to make the team, now he's relaxed, adjusted and has begun to dealt. What makes it even more impressive is that he's doing it in the midst of a pennant race.

As I said though, Bumgarner got plenty of help on Thursday as well, contrary to how things went in the first two games of the series in Chicago. The only run the Giants scored in the first two games of this series came on a Buster Posey solo shot on Tuesday night that provided all the offense needed for Matt Cain and the Giants bullpen. Wednesday night, they were just shut down by Randy Wells, allowing him to look like a young Greg Maddux as he held the Giants scoreless through 7 2/3 and spoiled a nice outing from Jonathan Sanchez, Chris Ray and Santiago Casilla. Finally on Thursday though, the bats all showed up, as pounded out 19 hits and scored 13 runs against Ryan Dempster and Co. Everyone in the Giants starting lineup reached base, and everyone in the lineup besides Aubrey Huff crossed home plate. Juan Uribe had the biggest night of all, hitting 2 bombs while driving in 6 runs, giving him 22 homers and 84 RBI's on the year (both 2nd on team). Buster Posey and Cody Ross also left the yard, and Freddy Sanchez had another multi-hit game with 4 knocks. The leadoff hitter of the night was Mike Fontenot, as he got the start at third with Pablo Sandoval resting, and he collected 2-hits. That leadoff spot continues to be the one real question mark for the Giants over this last week as they've yet to find an everyday replacement since Andres Torres went down 2 weeks back. As I said in the last post here, the Giants' playoff hopes lye on their offense, as they know they're going to get enough pitching, and that leadoff spot as about as crucial to a lineup as any.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Giants Must Handle Brewers, Cubs

The Giants and Padres are dead-locked right now in a tie for first place in the NL West, although the Giants do have a slight advantage in their winning percentage. With only 2 weeks left, every game from here on out is huge, and the Giants must take advantage of their light schedule over the next week.

First off, they need to take care of business vs. the Brewers, who they where shut out by on Friday night. Randy Wolfe threw a complete game, 3-hitter, and the Giants lost brief hold atop the NL West. The Giants must right the ship on Saturday evening, and they have the right man taking the hill in the red hot Tim Lincecum. The Brewers are 10 games below .500, and the Giants are fighting for their playoff hopes, and because they were unable to come up with any runs and just 3 hits on Friday night, it's got to be a little bit discouraging for the team as a whole. The Brewers aren't a very good team, and the Giants had been on fire coming into the series, so hopefully Friday night's loss was the lone hiccup and these last 2 games. It's very important the Giants start taking advantage of these teams that they're better than, because they have another 3-game set with the same type of team coming up next. After the Brewers series, the Giants head to Chicago to face the 68-81 Cubs. If the Giants were truly playing with a sense of urgency, and are determined to be playing baseball well into October, they really should go 5-0 over their next 5 games, or at the very least, 4-1.

In order to do that, the Giants are going to need just a little more consistency out of their offense. Once again, they showed their roller-coaster offense over the last 2 nights, putting up a 10 spot with 8 extra-base hits (3 homers) on Thursday night against Ted Lilly, only to be absolutely shut down by Randy Wolf, who pitching style is identical to Lilly's. Over the last 2 games, Bruce Bochy has also slotted in a new leadoff hitter, as the never-ending search to replace Andres Torres' bat continues. Edgar Renteria has been the latest trial, and he answered the bell big time Thursday with a 4-hit night, but then went 0-4 in the same spot Friday. Without Torres, the Giants have no real leadoff hitter, and don't even really have anybody that somewhat resembles a leadoff guy. Renteria is probably the closest thing to that on the roster, but he's not really an everyday guy right now, as he splits time with Juan Uribe. Freddy Sanchez might be an option, but he's really solidified the 2-spot and the Giants do need to keep some sort of cohesion going in the lineup. That leaves the man I mentioned in last post, Cody Ross, still as the best candidate by default. He's got a little patience, got some speed, got some pop and wouldn't disrupt the lineup by shuffling a bunch of hitters. When Renteria plays, Boch should lead him off, but when he doesn't, my pick is Ross. If the Giants can't get some kind of consistant production from that spot though, I have a hard time seeing the earning a playoff spot.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Giants Offense: A Model Of Inconsistency

The Giants pitching staff is doing all they can in order to push this team into the playoffs, but the offense just can't seem to keep up their end of the bargain, at least on a consistent basis.

In September, the Giants have lost 4 games, and in 3 of those games, they've scored 1 run or less. Whenever this team scores more than 2 runs, they generally win the game, and again, that is a huge tribute to their pitching staff. Last night's game in LA was a prime example of the Giants "Jekyl and Hyde" offense, as they were shutout 1-0 by the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw. Once again, had the Giants been able to scrape out just 2 measly runs, they would have taken the game. Instead, they were held scoreless, and fell a full game behind San Diego in the west. It's a shame too, because they wasted another solid outing by Barry Zito, and ran his losing streak to 7 games. Now, for the first 5 of those last 7 starts, Zito did look pretty bad, and did deserve to lose the game, but in his last 2 starts, Zito has gotten himself back on track, he just hasn't gotten any help from the Giants offense. The situation kinda reminds me of the lack of run support Matt Cain was suffering through during the '07-'08 seasons, when his loss total doubled his win total, despite carrying a 3.69 era over that span. Zito's a veteran though, and I don't think he's going to let that get to him, especially with so much on the line in these last 2 weeks of the season.

The one thing I did like to see in Tuesday's game was using Cody Ross in the leadoff spot instead of Aaron Rowand. Now, Rowand has gotten plenty of bashing here lately, so I'm not going to keep beating a dead horse, but there's no way this lineup is at it's best with Aaron Rowand in the leadoff spot. With Andres Torres now out for the regular season, they need an answer there over the next few weeks, and Bochy turned to Cody Ross on Tuesday, and I think he should stick with Ross for the rest of the year. Ross hasn't been overly impressive since his arrival in San Francisco, but he's been used sparingly. However, Aaron Rowand is hitting .229 and has an OBP of .282. That's truely pathetic in terms of a leadoff hitter, and pretty horrible for any positional players standards. Ross' OBP isn't too much higher (.319) but a big improvement over Rowand. Ross also brings more pop and speed to the lineup. If Ross doesn't get going in the next couple of games, I would hope Bochy would try somebody else though, and my next choice would be Freddy Sanchez. The Giants' second basemen has gotten himself back on track over the last 6 weeks, and is one of the teams hottest hitters. Not an ideal leadoff hitter of course, but without Torres, the Giants don't really have one on their roster.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lincecum Puts Giants In Tie for 1st

Tim Lincecum is officially back, and if you needed anymore clarification on that, all you had to do was watch him work on Sunday afternoon.

Lincecum won his third straight decision, throwing 7 innings of 7 hit, 1 run ball, striking out 9 and walking just 1 Padre batter all afternoon. And I can't help but think that all those people who were seriously worried about Timmy are kicking themselves for ever doubting "The Franchise". I think we can agree, that after his third straight solid outing (21.2 IP, 5 er, 17 hits and 29 k's), the Giants ace is back in his groove, and he found it just in time. It seems like Timmy's velocity is popped back up a bit, but it really was his accuracy (or lack thereof) that had him out of whack. It's no coincidence that Lincecum's only walked 2 batters over those last 3 wins, after averaging a little over 3 per start during his 5-game losing streak. It was also good to see the bullpen, which has really tightened up here over the last week or so, nail the door down for Timmy over the last 2 innings. Although they did allow a few runners to cross the plate in Thursday night's game, the Giants bullpen went 8 scoreless innings in the most crucial series of the year up to this point. In fact, overall, their pitching as a whole really came through in this series. The only reason they didn't sweep the Friars is because the offense couldn't score any runs when Madison Bumgarner contributed another brilliant outing (20.1 IP, 11 hits, 2 runs, 13 k's over last 3 starts).

Equally impressive as the Giants overall pitching performance, was their mini offensive outburst in Sunday's finale. The Giants offense got to Cy Young candidate Mat Latos for 5 runs, knocking him out after just 4 innings pitched. Buster Posey hit his 13th big fly of the season in a 2-hit effort, and Aubrey Huff chipped in 3 hits and 2 runs scored as well. The Giants offense was due for an outburst though, after collecting just 1 run over their previous 2 games. But now the Giants' offense faces a new challenge, as the team lost it's everyday leadoff man and center fielder, Andres Torres, likely for the rest of the regular season, this weekend after he underwent an appendectomy. Torres had been the one constant in an ever changing lineup over the 2nd half of the season, and was one of the team's most valuable players this year. It's definitely going to be a loss, and the Giants are going to need Aaron Rowand to step up big in his absence.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Giants Within 1 in the West

The Giants can move back into a tie for first place with a win Tuesday, coupled with a Padres loss, as the Giants have moved to within 1 game of NL West leading San Diego.

The Giants have also apparently got their starting pitching back on track. Starting with Tim Lincecum's win last week, the Giants' starters have been outstanding over the last week or so. The team has won 4 of their last 5 because of that, as their offense still hasn't really found their groove in September yet. A prime example of this came Monday night, as the D-Backs held the Giants scoreless through 12 innings, when they finally broke through and won, 2-0. They only scored 3 runs the day before that in LA as well. There really just isn't anyone who's very hot in that lineup right now, and there are a few guys starting to struggle a bit. Andres Torres has hit a bit of a rough patch over the last week, going 2-25 in that span. The Giants outfield as a whole has really hit a rough patch. Newcomers Jose Guillen and Cody Ross started out well, but have since cooled off, and Pat Burrell has just 1 homer in has last 10 games. It's gotten to the point where Nate Schierholtz is starting to get some ab's again, and he ended up delivering the game winning hit on Monday night in AZ. Luckily, the Padres bats have sputtered more than the Giants, enabling the Giants to stick within striking distance of first place.

The Giants will try and reclaim that top spot again on Tuesday night, sending Tim Lincecum to the mound vs. young D-Back righty, Barry Enright. The 24 year-old Enright has been lights out since his promotion (6-2, 2.45 era) and won't be an easy task for the Giants. More importantly though, they're just hoping Timmy can continue his rythem from last weeks start, which was his best start in about 2 months. It's time to start the "Padre Watch" as well, and they'll be sending someone to the mound in place of Mat Latos (out with the flu) Tuesday to oppose the Dodgers' Clay Kershaw. This is a great opportunity for the Giants to move into that tie, as the pitching matchup now heavily favors LA. Also, the Wild Card race, which appears is becoming just a 2-team race between the Giants (or San Diego) and the Phillies. The Phills, who hold a 1.5 game lead on the Giants, send Joe Blanton to the mound against the Marlins Chris Volstad, Tuesday night.

Roster News: The Giants will be getting Emmanuel Burris and Eugenio Velez back on the big league roster Tuesday night as well, as the Giants have now expanded their roster to 32 players. With them being in a pennant race, again, there probably won't be many more call-ups, and certainly not any players that they don't plan on using in some way. I still would like to see Jesus Guzman brought up as a right-handed power bat off the bench, and still would like to see righty Henry Sosa get a few innings of work.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Padres Opening Door for Giants

It seems like we've been waiting all year for it, but it's finally came, and that is a San Diego Padre losing streak. Ever since they've taken reigns atop the NL West, they've been a model of consistency, but now they're finally struggling, and it's time for the Giants to take advantage of it.

The Giants have picked up a few games over the last week, and now sit just 3 games back behind the first place Padres in the West, but they've been struggling themselves lately, and have yet to really jump on the opportunity this Padre losing streak is providing. They did manage to take 2 of 3 from the Rockies this week, but they fell back into the losing column Friday night against Chad Billingsley and the LA Dodgers. Barry Zito didn't really give the Giants much of a chance, as he gave up 4 runs in 4 innings of work. The bullpen did take over in the fifth and held the Dodgers scoreless the rest of the way, but the Giants offense mustered up only 2 hits all night, one of them just happen to be a clutch 2-out, 2-RBI single off the bat of rookie Buster Posey which is the only reason the Giants even dented the scoreboard. That came a day after the Giants only put up 4 hits against Ubaldo Jimenez. They just don't look like they're playing with a sense of urgency, especially at the plate. They didn't look like they were playing for a chance to move within striking distance of first place in their division. I don't now if the guys are just tired, or what (they did have just 2 off days in August), but they looked like they were swinging the bat under water on Friday night. Still though, as I type this, the Rockies are leading the Padres 2-1 in the fifth inning in San Diego and if they can hold that lead, the Giants would have another shot at moving within 2 games with a win tonight.

One great peace of news to come out of that Rockies series was Tim Lincecum's outing in the rubber match on Wednesday. The Giants needed it too, because he was opposed by Jimenez and again, the Giants offense didn't do a whole lot for him. Lincecum didn't need a whole lot though, as he went 8 strong, allowing 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 9. The only blemish on his night wasn't even much of a mistake, just a great piece of hitting by one of the best young hitters in the league, as Carlos Gonzalez took him deep with nobody on base. Brian Wilson shut the door in the ninth with a 1-2-3 inning, earning his 38th save and preserving Lincecum's first win since July 30th. More importantly though, it broke Lincecum's personal 5-game losing streak, and hopefully will put the 26 year-old right-handers mind back at ease. It's also worth noting that it was by far Timmy's best outing throwing to rooking backstop Buster Posey, something that has been brought up frequently when discussing Lincecum's 2nd-half drop-off. Anyway, the Giants need their ace confident and ready down the stretch if they are going to be playing in October, there is no doubt about it.

Roster News: The Giants haven't made many add-ons to their roster just yet, but the only positional player they've brought up has already paid some dividends. Speedy 25-year old center fielder Darren Ford, who had a huge '09 season and a nice spring training this year, was called up this week, and scored the game winning run in Wednesday's game vs. the Rockies. Ford, who led the Giants minor leagues in stolen bases and is arguably the fastest guy in the organization, was used as a pinch runner and will be used in that role quite often. The Giants also activated relievers Dan Runzler and Chris Ray.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Giants In Need of a Strong September

Although they've really looked pretty bad here over the last couple of weeks, the Giants enter September with a more than legit shot at ending their 7 year playoff drought.

The one consistent the Giants had been able to keep up, even when they were struggling, was that they've been able to beat the teams they should beat, but that wasn't the case in their most recent series vs. the D-Backs. The Giants really should have been swept by Arizona, but fortunately for them, their offense showed up in Sunday's finale and bailed out another rough series for the pitching staff. Now they have a shot to get back on the right track and start off September in stronger fashion than they finished August in if they can take care of Colorado on Wednesday and take the 3-game set. More importantly though, the Giants need Tim Lincecum, who's struggles have yet to cease, to get back on track, and this would be a great game for him to do that in. It's not going to be an easy task though, as Lincecum will go against the Rockies ace, and potential Cy Young candidate Ubaldo Jimenez. Lincecum has been a below average pitcher since the all-star break, carrying a 5.17 era, a 1.52 WHIP and a 2-5 record in 9 games since the 3-day hiatus. Again, I'm not at all in panic mode, and I fully expect Lincecum to work his way out of this. I just think the kid's had a tremendous workload over the last 2 1/2 seasons and the Giants may want to monitor his pitch count a lot closer over this last month. The Giants really need Lincecum to get back on track if they're going to make a serious run at a postseason birth, so it's really tough at this point to hold him back in any of his starts. I just wouldn't ask him to throw more than 100 pitches per game right now, and I'd give him the extra day of rest whenever possible.

Luckily, while the pitching staff has sputtered, some of the offensive players have started to pick up some of the slack. Freddy Sanchez in particular has been on fire over the last 10 days, hitting right around .500 with a homer, 6 RBI and 8 runs scored over that span. He's raised his average back up to .290 and has found himself back in the 2-hole because of it. The Giants offense clicks best with Sanchez in the 2-spot, and I like how it allows Posey to move back down in the lineup to a more suitable position for him. When they're on, Andres Torres and Freddy Sanchez provide one of the better 1-2 combo's in the NL, and we're just now seeing both of them hit their stride together. Sanchez hasn't been the only guy who's picked up the slack recently though either. Pablo Sandoval has really spun his season around in August. Half of his 12 home runs and 16 of his 52 RBI came in August, and he backed those numbers up with a solid .312 average and .907 OPS. That is much more "Panda" like, and I really think he's in line for a big finish, which of course would be another shot in the arm for the Giants offense. For the first time in a long, long time, the Giants have two guys in their early-mid 20's who they drafted/developed that should anchor the middle of their order for years to come in Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval. It's like Matt Williams and Will Clark all over again. I really can't wait to see them both clicking together and eventually hitting back-to-back in the batting order.

September Call-Ups: Since we are officially in September now, teams can expand their rosters and carry up to 40 players. With the Giants being in a pennant race, I don't think they are going to be looking at giving a lot of younger players much of a look, but there are still some intriguing names to keep an eye on over this next month. I don't think we'll see guys like Thomas Neal or Brandon Belt but a few other guys to watch for are former Marlins' ace Dontrelle Willis (in Fresno right now), infielder Jesus Guzman (to provide right-handed pop off the bench), infielder Emmanuel Burris (late inning defense replacement at short) and right-hander Henry Sosa (promising arm that can start or relieve).
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________