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Monday, June 04, 2012

Giants Sweep Chicago to Improve to 31-24

Giants take care of business vs. one of the NL's worst teams, as the pitching staff shut the down when need be and the offense came up with just enough support to yield positive results. Won 14 of 21 and now 31-24?

Zito: 5-2, 2.98 ERA
As has been the case for the starting pitching in general this year, it was again brilliant this last week. Even Tim Lincecum finally shook off some of his struggles in Thursday's game (despite getting another loss) to set the tone for the weekend, and it continued through Vogelsong's start Monday. Perhaps the most impressive start of the weekend though, came from the arm of Barry Zito on Sunday to shore up the series win for the Giants. Zito turned in his best outing of the season, throwing 8 1/3 innings of shutout ball, allowing just 4 hits with 5 strikeouts. Zito improved to 5-2 and dropped his ERA under 3.00. This all came on the heels of nearly an identical performance out of Matt Cain on turn back the clock day Saturday. Cainer came remarkably close to Zito's encore with an 8-inning, 1 run start collecting 7 K's along the way. We talked about Lincecum's bounce back outing and Bumgarner's last start in our previous post, each of which were brilliant in their most recent assignments. Then it came full circle Monday afternoon with Ryan Vogelsong, who pitched in his typical 7-inning, 2-run outing which has become almost routine for him. Eric Byrnes has talked about Vogey extensively on his show at KNBR and he believes the Giants elderly stopper would be the #1 choice for Bochy in a must-win situation. For example, if the Giants reach the postseason as a wild card team and need to beat out an opponent in a one-game playoff. The starting pitching indeed lived up to their expectation this weekend, and the bullpen didn't do too shabby either.

The Giants are still taking it slow with Santiago Casilla as they figure out what his problem is and whether or not he'll need a DL stint, but the fact that he hasn't been placed there yet is a good sign. Plus, in his absence, Sergio Romo is 2-2 in save situations and the Giants appear equipped enough to get by a few more games without their closer. Jeremy Affeldt has also stepped up his game and locked down the 8th inning Monday. I've mentioned before, and still believe, that the Giants will need to reinforce the pen at some point with an arm or two, but one guy they've now publicly been reported as pursuing is Boston Red Sox 1B/3B/DH,
Giants Looking Into Youkilis
Kevin Youkilis. This shouldn't be much of a surprise seeing that the Giants are getting a league's worst production out of their collective group of first basemen, but I hardly think Youkilis is the answer. It's been a few years since he's put up real good numbers, and many argue those are largely a byproduct of playing at Fenway Park. There's more than a realistic chance he comes here and has trouble adapting to NL pitching (Ryan Garko ring a bell?) or go into a rut after being uprooted from Boston. I know his track record is there, but I personally would steer clear of Youkilis, especially since the Giants have little resources to deal and the Sox will likely want a nice package for him. I'm still all for waiting it out another few weeks to a month and see what teams fall out of it and become desperate in July. A good hitting first basemen is really just what this team could use, especially a right-hander, but I'd give Belt a few more weeks, and also try and find out what other options are out there besides Youkilis.

Draft Day: Don't forget, round one of the draft is starting at 4 PM Thursday. We did a brief preview of possible targets and guys linked to the Giants in our post below this one, here, and we'll be back tonight or tomorrow afternoon with the early round results for the Giants, who have pick 20, but no compensation picks in this draft and don't select again until around 80th.
The Giants Baseball Blog


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