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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Giants Stay Hot, Take 3 of 4 in San Diego

Some fans were a little worried about how the Giants would start the 2nd half, that they may flatten out a bit after the All-Star break, but if this first series is any indication, this team looks just as good as they did in the first half, and have reinforcements on the way!

Matt Cain pitched brilliantly Sunday, just a day after Barry Zito struggled through his roughest start since his return from the DL last month. Cain went 6 strong innings, allowing just 1 earned run on 3 hits and 2 walks to go with 9 strikeouts. However, he didn't factor into the decision because two other un-earned runs crossed the plate while he was on the hill and he actually departed with the Giants down 3-2. Like they do so often in tight games though, the Giants wouldn't go down without a fight, and had a couple of un-likely heroes come through for them in the late innings. Andres Torres, who's shown some signs of life since the 2nd half started, had the game-tying single in the 8th inning, then catcher Chris Stewart came up with the big go-ahead suicide squeeze in the 11th inning. Brian Wilson then came on and did what he does best, made it interesting, but got the save. I was a little surprised Wilson did get out of this one though, as he allowed 3 free passes in the inning, which typically will lead to at least 1 run. However, Stewart made a great play on a bunt attempt and turned it into a double play which saved the game for the Giants. Once again, their bullpen was tremendous, throwing 5 scoreless innings in which they allowed just 2 hits and Wilson's 3 walks. Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez bridged the gap between Cain and Wilson and did so perfectly.

Offensively, the Giants had a pretty good weekend in Southern California. Torres and Nate Schierholtz each had multi-hit efforts and an RBI Sunday afternoon, but it was the teams' effort on the base paths which stuck out for me in this game. They stole 7 bases on the afternoon, 2 by Torres, Schierholtz and Burrs and one by catcher Eli Whiteside. I don't have all the box scores in front of me, but I'd say the 7 steals were the most by the club in a single game this year, and I hope we see a lot more of it in the coming games. A lot of people don't realize what kind of speed the Giants actually have on their roster. Not one single player in that starting 9 is what you'd consider to be a slow runner. Aubrey Huff is probably the slowest of the bunch, but I wouldn't call him slow. Schierholtz is one of the faster guys on the team, and I definitely would like to see him running more often like he showed Sunday. Same thing with Burris and Torres. A huge part of those two guys' game is their running abilities and they need to put it in the opposing pitchers head that they will indeed take off at any given time. As I watched Bochy over the years, if there is one are in which I'd like to see him a bit more aggressive is the running game. This team can't rely on the 3-run homer every night, so in order for their offense to create those runs, they need to get aggressive and creative.

Health Report: As I said at the top of the post, the Giants will be gaining some re-enforcements very soon. They just got back Mike Fontenot and he's already making an impact, going 7-20 with 3 runs scored in his first few games back from the DL. Also in the midst of a rehab assignment as we speak and on the doorstep back to the majors is Brandon Belt. I was surprised the Giants didn't recall Belt when they put Pat Burrell on the 15-Day DL, but I think it's only a matter of days before he takes Hector Sanchez's spot on the roster. Belt is on fire in Fresno, hitting .354 with 3 HR and 8 RBI and an OPS just shy of 1.200 over his last 10 games. Again, I assume that the Giants won't be carrying 3 catchers for much longer, and the next move would be most certainly to bring Belt back. That said, with Nate Schierholtz's emergence, the Giants don't really have an everyday spot for Belt, which could also be why he's still down in Fresno (why call him up if he's just going to ride the pine?). Either way, a team desperate for offense shouldn't keep their best offensive prospect down when he's major league ready now, and I don't see any positive by having 21 year-old Hector Sanchez up here as a 3rd catcher when he should be piling up AB's in Fresno!

Mark DeRosa and pitcher Jonathan Sanchez have also begun rehab assignments with each player down in San Jose this weekend. DeRosa's really been obsolete this whole season and ever since he signed with the Giants, trying to overcome a surgically repaired wrist. DeRosa had a double and a walk in his first rehab game with San Jose, and although it will likely take him a few weeks to get back into the swing of things, a healthy DeRosa can only help out the Giants infield depth. Sanchez has been on the 15-day since late June with what's being labeled as tendinitis but was primarily meant to just give Sanchez a few weeks off to rest and re-evaluate his approach so his rehab won't be nearly as rigorous.
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4 Comments:

  • At 7:49 PM, Anonymous Giants Fan Dan said…

    Crazy how baseball works. Two weeks ago we hated Sanchez and wanted Zito out there, now I'm not so sure. I think Zito's come back to earth after getting bombed at Petco Park, the best pitching yard in baseball, and it's going to be just a matter of time before all of us fans are crying out for Jonathan Sanchez who everyone sold down the river 2 weeks ago!

     
  • At 12:45 AM, Blogger Dave said…

    it was a suicide squeeze bunt in the 11th, not a sac fly. Way way cooler. Your blog is dope

     
  • At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Lights Out said…

    So who are the Giants going to trade for cause the deadline is coming up quick and the only name I've been hearing is Carlos Beltran. Is that the Giants target right now?

     
  • At 10:56 PM, Blogger Mr Lonely said…

    nice blog... have a view of my blog when free.. http://www.lonelyreload.com (A Growing Teenager Diary) .. do leave me some comment / guide if can.. if interested can follow my blog...

     

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