After a tough battle in Miami in which the Giants salvaged the series and ended up splitting with the Marlins in a close game Sunday, San Francisco returned to AT&T Park Monday to play host to the D-Backs for 3 games.
|Belt Goes 2-4 Monday|
Game one went a lot like Game four went in Miami, a pretty low scoring affair in which the Giants jumped out early and their strong pitching made the lead stick. Barry Zito continued his home dominance, improving his record to 4-2 and ERA to 3.33 after a 7-inning, 2-run outing in Monday's game. It was largely the same recipe for success that the team has been having lately, as once again their outfield helped carry the offensive weight for the team. Melky Cabrera (.368) and Angel Pagan (.309) each went 1-3, and Gregor Blanco (.290) had a 2-4 day at the dish, but perhaps the guy that needed a big day with the bat the most, finally had one. We all know how second base has been a black hole for this team ever since Freddy went down last June, which we'll discuss more of below in the next paragraph, but another spot that has been vastly underachieving has been the collective group of first basemen the Giants have used early on this season. Aubrey Huff's anxiety issues and under-performance really opened the door, but nobody has stepped in yet. The consensus is that Brandon Belt will eventually be the guy to take off and take that position by the reigns, and he made a stride in that direction Monday going 2-4 with a triple and an RBI. It would be a huge relief for Giants management if Belt can lock this down before the trade deadline and prove to Bochy and Sabean that he can be their guy down the stretch.
|Arias Hitting .260|
Now, back to the second base position, which has been bad news all year for the Giants. Manny Burris was out there Monday, but his .219 batting average is less than inspiring. Also, the Giants noted over the weekend that Freddy Sanchez had yet another setback with his surgically repaired throwing shoulder, further putting into question if he'll ever make a return for the 2012 season. One potential option for the Giants could be to move Joaquin Arias, who's played decently of late at third in Pablo Sandoval's absence, over to his more natural position once the Panda returns, but I still think Sabean may go outside the organization for help in this department. The thing is, they may need to wait awhile before someone they have interest in becomes available. I mean, just going up and down the list of teams that are pretty much out of it already, there aren't many impressive options on those teams. The one guy who I do like and will probably be available at some point is Toronto's Kevin Johnson. However, he's a lefty and the Giants are already pretty left-handed heavy. That's what makes Sanchez so vital to this team. Not only is he another solid bat you can count in the lineup, but he balances that lineup out greatly as the team's 2nd best right-handed bat next to Buster Posey. That's also an attribute that Arias has in his favor as well, and I think the Giants do like Arias as a potential utility guy, but if they have a chance to upgrade over him at 2nd when Panda returns, they have to jump all over it.