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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cain Gets Giants Refocused

The Giants fell into a mini two-game losing streak after defeating the Padres and clinching their spot atop the NL West Saturday, but Matt Cain got the group refocused Wednesday night.

After kind of a let down start by Tim Lincecum in Tuesday nights game, Cainer put the Giants back in winning mode with 7 strong innings of 4 hit ball and 6 strikeouts vs. the D-Backs. Cain and Lincecum are expected to start games one and two of the NLDS and this was likely each guys last start of the regular season and it was the polar opposite for each right-hander. Lincecum went just 4 innings, walking 4 batters and giving up 7 runs. The best part of that game for Timmy was it's the last he'll see Paul Goldschmidt in 2012! As bad as Lincecum was Tuesday though, Cainer made pretty much everyone forget about it Wednesday with his 16th win of the season. The man expected to take the ball in game one showed exactly why Wednesday night and he had the Giants again looking like the NL West's elite. In addition to Cain's gem, the Giants got another solid effort out of a guy I think will be crucial come the playoffs, Brandon Belt. The lanky first basemen had another 3-hit game and you can tell he's locked in with the way the ball is jumping off his bat. Belt's average rose up to .275 after Wednesday's game and he's become such an important part of this lineup that he could find himself back in the left field during Lincecum's starts in the playoffs.

Speaking of left field, the time has come for the Giants to make an official decision on Melky Cabrera's status for the postseason. San Francisco was expected to make an announcement before Wednesday's game, but pushed it back until Thursday. Most beat writers close to the team have pretty much counted the possibility of a Melky return out, but the Giants players, including Buster Posey and Angel Pagan, each indicated they'd gladly accept Cabrera back if he's in a position to help them win. Now, this whole thing could be moot if the Giants don't make it out of the first round, as Melky wouldn't be eligible until a possible NLCS. My guess, as with most is that the Giants will sever ties with the All-Star left fielder, but the fact they've delayed the decision makes me wonder a bit. After all, as much as Bruce Bochy wants to say different, the Giants have gotten pitiful production out of left field since his suspension. Giants outfielders have hit in the low .200's with no home runs and something like 17 total RBI in 7 weeks since losing Melky. The question is, what kind of shape he'd be in and whether he'd be a better option over players who've been active the last two months. It's tough to just throw a player into a playoff game when he hasn't played competitively since early August.

Another thing Melky could have in his favor is the health factor of the Giants two primary left fielders right now. Gregor Blanco's had a shoulder issue that's been bugging him, and Xavier Nady just missed 10 games with a sore hamstring. Should both those guys go down, and Melky gets cut loose, the Giants could be up a creed without a paddle come playoff time. It's a tough decision for sure, as there are strong points to be made for his dismissal and his return, but I'm sticking to my original thought that Melky has played his last game in a Giants uniform.
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  • At 12:41 AM, Anonymous McCovey Cover said…

    Why make the decision now? If they get to the second round, then obviously they are doing something right without the "cheater". But the only reason I say wait on the decision is because your right about the injury factor. But I like the Blanco/Nady platoon just fine.

    Can't they wait until the end of the regular season to decide this though?

  • At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Barry Zito is the man. Can't beleive he got out of that leadoff triple situation to start the game. I hope he's in the playoff rotation. He's obviously not the best, but the Giants keep winning whenever he takes the mound.

  • At 4:35 PM, Blogger James Pointer said…

    Stoopid... Leaving Melky off is utter hypocrisy and is detrimental to the team. This is a guy who is shy and doesn't speak English well. After the Giants tolerated the antics of Bonds. they are now "taking the high road" and releasing one of the league's best players. It doesn't matter how long it takes for him to be ready. Who would you rather have lurking on the bench-Cabrera or Huff or Theriot or Blanco or many others? Stoopid move, Giants; it may be a difference maker.

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