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Friday, July 15, 2011

Bumgarner Strong in 2nd Half Opener

Well, the formula that worked very well for San Francisco in the first half won them the first game in their unofficial 2nd half Thursday night. They got a great starting performance and great relief work, but were shutout through 8 innings until finally tying the game in the 9th and winning in the 11th.

Madison Bumgarner got the nod to kick off the 2nd half, his first start since July 6th, and he was brilliant. He allowed just 1 run and 7 hits with no walks and 4 K's over 6 innings vs. the Padres, but didn't get a decision because the Giants failed to give him any run support. It's something that Bumgarner has gotten used to by now, so even though he's not getting great run support and despite his 4-9 record, the 21 year-old hasn't let it faze him whatsoever. He just keeps on going out there and throwing quality ballgames and his wins will certainly come in due time if he keeps it up. All-Star Pablo Sandoval kept his hitting streak alive with a 2-hit night with 2 RBI, but the biggest swing of the night came off the bat of Aubrey Huff in the top of the 9th, and the Giants are hoping it's a sign of things to come for their first baseman in the 2nd half of the season. Huff hit a home run off of Heath Bell, a guy who's been deadly vs. Giants hitting over the years, sending the game into extra-innings where the Giants feel very comfortable. Aubrey had a rough first half, and although he's knocked in a fair amount runs, his 8 home runs and .240 batting average in the first half were down drastically from the 26 HR/.290 campaign he put up last year. Still though, I don't believe Aubrey Huff is washed up or done with by any stretch, so I'm expecting a big finish out of him in these last few months.

Outside of Huff, if the Giants aren't planning on adding any outfield help, they really need Andres Torres to step it up as well. There has been a lot of talk of Carlos Beltran possibly joining the mix, and if that were to happen, one would think it would be Andres Torres' spot who he'd take in center field. With the emergence of Nate Schierholtz and power/clutch hitting from Cody Ross, Bochy probably wants those two in the lineup on a near daily basis, leaving Torres, who's fallen off badly in 2011 after a breakout 2010 season, the odd man out. That said, the Mets are holding Beltran in high regard and have said publicly they won't deal him unless they get a top-prospect in return, so even though he appears to be a nice fit for San Fran, chances of them actually dealing for him are a lot less than 50-50. Right now they really need Torres healthy and confident heading into this 2nd half, or else they're going to have to look elsewhere for a leadoff man. A .224 average and .317 OBP just aren't ideal for the #1 spot in the lineup. Problem is, the Giants don't really have a better option for that top spot. Again, I think Schierholtz would be a nice fit, but Bochy seems to want him in a run producing spot, so you see why Torres all the sudden becomes the center of attention in the 2nd half.

Also, I really think the Giants are going to need to add some catching depth. I think this team as is should definitely win the West, but that shouldn't be the Giants only goal. With their strong pitching, even without one of their premiere players in Buster Posey, this team has a legitimate shot at winning another championship. Right now though, I don't think this team could get through Philly again unless they get another bat and can upgrade the catching department, even just slightly.

Roster Note: The Giants placed Pat Burrel on the DL Friday and called up 2011 catching phenom Hector Sanchez. We've discussed Sanchez in our minor league report just recently here, so click on that or type Hector Sanchez into our search box in the upper-left for more details about the player. I really like the move, giving the Giants an offensive threat behind the plate and giving a shot to a player who really deserves it. I've compared him to Pablo Sandoval in his quick rise, now lets see if he can succeed like Pablo did during his first stint in the Bigs at the end of the 2008 season.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 7:26 PM, Blogger Karen051793 said…

    I really don't know how to find the answers to these questions, or who to ask, so I decided to as you:

    (1) In 2011, how many games have the SF Giants played that have gone into extra innings?

    (2) Of those, how many did the Giants win?

    (3) Is the number of extra-inning games higher than average this year?

    If you choose to do the research and answer, then THANKS!!

  • At 1:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Screw the Padres for walking Sandoval and not allowing him to extend his hit streak... Oh well, hopefully he starts another one tonight!

  • At 1:29 PM, Anonymous J-Bill said…

    Are the Giants really going to trade for Beltran? I know Brian Wilson wants him on the team, but I don't see it. Besides, they could get just as effective of player for 1/4 of the price if they wanted to by going after Jeff Franceour.

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