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Monday, July 11, 2011

Giants Take 3 Game Lead Into Break

Well, is it me, or did that first half kind of fly right by? It seems like it was only yesterday that the players were getting their rings on the field during the ceremony, and all the sudden we're at the All-Star Break. Either way though, we're here, and if you told the Giants they'd be 3 games ahead in the NL West and without Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez, they'd take it in a heartbeat.

The Giants started off the weekend series with Brian Wilson blowing the save Friday night, but he got chance for redemption Sunday, and he cashed in to give the Giants the series win and seal the 8th victory for fellow All-Star Matt Cain. As good as Cain was in tough situations Sunday, and as well as everyone pitched all weekend, the man who really stuck out in this series for me was Nate Schierholtz. Nate had 2 more RBI and 5 more hits in Saturday and Sunday's game, including a 4-4 day Sunday to raise his average up to .293 after being in the low-.260's 10 days ago. The kid started getting regular playing time with all the injuries that the Giants have suffered this season, and like I said in the last post, he just keeps getting stronger with the more at-bats he gets. His numbers entering the break don't really jump out at you until you look at the amount of at-bats he's had. While most Giants' regulars are up above 300 at-bats, Schierholtz got just over 200 in the first half, so his numbers, with regular PT, would look a lot better. I'm very curious to see how he does in the 2nd half and what Bochy decides to do with the outfield when Cody Ross comes back after the break. I really think Schierholtz has nailed himself into the Giants lineup vs. right-handers, but will still likely give way to Burrell or Rowand vs. lefties. Who would have thought Nate Schierholtz would be the one to step up in Posey and Sanchez's absence?

He hasn't done it alone though! The Giants added another all-star to the mix Monday, as Pablo Sandoval got named as an injury replacement. Pablo has been focused since opening day, but is now in the midst of a career-high 21-game hitting streak and has been the one constant in the Giants lineup before and after the broken hand. I think it's great for Pablo to be there as he probably would have challenged for the starting gig had he not got injured and missed a month. Still though, even with the missed time, his numbers and value to the Giants couldn't be ignored by his own manager. Over the last couple of weeks, it's really been all about Pablo and Schierholtz carrying this offense. Add that to the fact that the NL is paper thin at third base this year and you get a very deserving player in the Panda. The 24 year-old will appear in his first all-star game, but one that I think we all knew would eventually come when we saw him burst onto the scene in 2008. He becomes the first Giant homegrown position player to make the squad since Matt Williams in the 90's and something tells me this isn't going to be his last either. He joins fellow Giants Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong, Matt Cain and Brian Wilson on the NL All-Star roster headed up by manager Bruce Bochy.

Up Next: Giants 1st Half Review/Grades and a look ahead to the 2nd half Thursday!
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3 Comments:

  • At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great job by the Giants in the first half, now if they can keep it up anoter 2 1/2 months, it will be like last year all over again. Loving the emergence of Schierholtz

     
  • At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Jason Billingsley said…

    There was a lot of Beltran talk on KNBR today and supposedly a rumor that the Giants are inquiring about him. After seeing how little the Brewers gave up for K-Rod, I say go for it, get Beltran and Reyes!

     
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