The Giants had their first interleague series of the 2012 season this weekend as they played host to their cross bay rival Oakland Athletics. Unfortunately, they couldn't manage to pull out a victory in Sunday's game to sweep the A's, but they did take 2 of 3 from Oakland and have beaten the A's 11 out of the last 12 times they've played at AT&T Park.
|Lincecum's ERA Raised to 6.04|
It wasn't all a cake walk though, as the Giants ace was once again knocked around in Sunday's start, and it cost the Giants a chance at a sweep. Tim Lincecum had perhaps his most frustrating start of this season Sunday, lasting just 4 innings while giving up 4 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks. He also got his clock cleaned at the plate by Colin Cowgill while covering on a past ball, which had everyone holding their breath for a moment there. He appears to be fine physically, but his effectiveness is not there right now. His last good start and victory was over San Diego on nearly a month back on April 28th, and since then Tim's averaged just 5 innings per start in 4 outings, and has given up 16 runs in just over 20 innings of work. He's witnessed his ERA balloon up to 6.04 and his record fall to 2-4 after Sunday's loss. Luckily for him though, the veterans really picked up the slack this weekend, as Barry Zito took care of his former team, with a huge assist from the offense, and saw his record improve to 3-1 in Friday night's 8-6 victory. That was followed up by another strong outing from Ryan Vogelsong, who had his best start of 2012 on Saturday as the Giants shut out Oakland. The 34 year-old right-hander continues to make good on the 2 year/$8.4 million deal the Giants gave him over the winter, and he just keeps getting stronger with each outing. In his start Saturday, he went his typical 7 strong innings, allowing just 1 hit, 1 walk and 0 runs paired with 5 K's. I've said it a few times before, and I'll say it again, the back end of the rotation is really what's keeping the Giants afloat right now. Cain is pitching nicely and Madison Bumgarner leads the team in wins, but Lincecum's struggles have been somewhat neutralized by Zito and Vogelsong's dominance.
|Melky Hitting .353|
At the same time, the offense is still kind of sputtering along. They need to hit a hot streak in order to create some separation between .500 as they've been hovering around that point seemingly all season long. They had another inconsistent weekend with a very nice night Friday, followed by one good inning Saturday, then being shut down by Bartolo Colon in Sunday's game. There are some players who continue to do their job, but there are too many guys still not pulling their weight, especially in the infield. In fact, the lack of infield depth, coupled with the injuries to Pablo Sandoval and Freddy Sanchez have the Giants in the market for infield help. One guy who's been linked to them over the last few days was Padres castoff Orlando Hudson, but he landed with the White Sox just yesterday. Luckily for the Giants, their outfield had been producing to help make up for the lack of production in the infield. We've talked at length about Angel Pagan's surge in May, and after Sunday's 2-4 effort, he's now got his batting average up over .300 for the first time as a Giant. Melky Cabrera also continues to rake, and now has himself in to top echelon of NL hitters with a .354 average after a 4-4 day Sunday. And finally, there's Gregor Blanco, who's been a huge breath of fresh air in the leadoff spot, allowing the Giants to create some sort of stability while their top offensive threat heals from his broken wrist. Blanco has played so well that he'll likely keep his spot in the lineup when Sandoval does return, with Pagan staying lower in the order. With Blanco out there, the Giants have tremendous speed in the outfield and really have a good formula going there. I just wish we could see this team all healthy, with Freddy Sanchez and Pablo out there and the outfielders hitting like they are. Unfortunately, that day may never come with Sanchez's struggles to stay on the diamond, so don't be surprised if the Giants do deal for a more impacting 2nd basemen.
In a minor roster move, the Giants added some rotational depth by inking Brad Penny to a minor league deal. Penny was released by Detroit earlier in the season after struggling and comes to the Giants in a very similar circumstance to 2009, when he went 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA in 6 starts down the stretch. The Giants hope they won't need to use Penny as a starter like that this season, though they have very little depth after their starting five right now, so this signing does make some sense. Also, if your looking to do any wagering on upcoming games, check out the TopBet online sportsbook