The Giants caught a lucky break this week, after losing their best hitter and starting 3rd basemen a few weeks ago, the division leading Dodgers suffered their first big blow of 2012, as Matt Kemp is expected to miss two week with a hamstring pull, opening a window of opportunity for the Giants to move up from 6 games back in standings.
|Blanco Striving in Leadoff Spot|
Now, the Giants have looked like a completely new team the last few games, and have won 3 straight with outstanding pitching and timely hitting. Their offense isn't performing nearly as badly as I was expecting without Sandoval, as others have stepped up, and if they continue to do so, they're just going to keep climbing in the standings. Losing Kemp, even for a couple of weeks, is a huge blow to LA, as he was by far the early season MVP in the NL and hitting a ridiculous rate. The dude had 12 HR and 28 RBI with a .359 average through mid-May. In comparison, despite being out most of May, Pablo Sandoval still leads the Giants in HR and RBI with 5 and 15, just to give you an idea of the year Kemp is having. Now with both he and Juan Rivera on the DL, the Dodgers are running out of outfielders, and the time for the Giants to be hitting their stride is now, and they look to be doing just that. It wasn't the prettiest win Monday night, but the Giants still beat Colorado to move up over .500 again, and has them riding a decent 3-game win streak.
The guy who's really come out of his shell the last few games has been Gregor Blanco. With Sandoval sitting, the Giants had to re-arrange the lineup a bit, moving Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera down in the order and placing Blanco in the leadoff spot. Blanco's scored 5 runs in these last 3 games, and has really exploded with the bat raising his average up from .237 to .286 and even has a big fly, 4 RBI and 2 stolen bases during that stretch. He's done exactly what the Giants needed from him in the leadoff spot, now they just need him to keep it up. What's allowing Blanco to stay in the leadoff spot is the fact that Angel Pagan is still in the zone. Even after having his 20-game hit streak broken last week, he's since started a new one and keeps seeing that average creep up. He's still not getting on base nearly as much as the Giants would like (.306 OBP), a big reason why this team is dead last in OBP.
One guy who I've not been impressed by lately is Joaquin Arias. Sure, he's been decent at times for the Giants filling in at 2nd and at 3rd now in wake of Sandoval's injury, but I can't help but think there are better options in the organization suited for 3rd base. Arias has made some big errors over there, including one that almost cost the Giants the game on Monday, and his bat hasn't been anything special. Even Connor Gillaspie seemed better suited to play 3rd in Sandoval's absence, as at least you didn't need to hold your breath on every ball hit to him. I still think the best option on the roster is Brett Pill. If your going to sacrifice some
|Belt Needs Regular AB's|
defensively, you might as well get some power into the lineup. Pill has come through in big spots for the team early on and really does deserve to be getting more at-bats than he currently is. I know he doesn't embody the patience that this team needs in their order, but he'll at least hit the three-run homer for you and come up with the routine plays. I doubt Bochy will really tweak with much as the team has performed these last few games, but if there's one move I'd like to see be made, that would be it. That would also open up the door for more at-bats for Brandon Belt, who really needs a good 7-10 games straight where he plays everyday. I know I've been a little down on Belt here lately for his lack of production, but it is hard to sustain any kind of rhythm at the plate when you play him one day then rest him two, then play him again. He needs steady diet of at-bats so the Giants can determine whether or not he's ready to be a big leaguer and take first base from Huff once and for all.