Giants Look to Erase Road Woes
The Giants record is slipping, and so is there spot in the NL West standings, and the big reason why has been their miserable play away from San Francisco. It wasn't more evident than it was on the teams recent painful roadie through Canada and Denver, but they couldn't even get themselves right in at least one of their mini two-game set with the A's over at the O.co. One big reason for the drastic home/road splits is, of course, the struggling starting pitching. Matt Cain's ERA (5.46), Madison Bumgarner's (3.55), Tim Lincecum's (5.86) and especially Barry Zito's (10.19) are all significantly higher when they pitch away from the thick, foggy atmosphere on the San Francisco Bay. On the positive side of this, these guys' track records suggest things will only get better for them moving forward, but that has to happen sooner than later. It's more important then ever for those top four starters to step things up now with Vogey shelved for the next 6 weeks. They have to be quality enough to get deep into games to alleviate some of the pressure off of the pen. They're most likely going to have to roll with an in-experienced fifth man until Vogey returns, (we saw how things went with Kickham in Oakland), so every fifth day really should be considered a bullpen day for the Giants until further notice. There's no better time for the Giants four veteran arms to start clicking all at once!
Speaking of Michael Kickham, although the young lefty had trouble in his debut A's on Tuesday, I really think the Giants ought to give him another look the next time around. Kickham was pinched on a couple of close calls that led to that big Oakland 3rd inning. I watched from my Ipad and was juggling watching the game with playing on the site www.ipadcasino.ca, but definitely saw the positives nonetheless. Bruce Bochy had hinted after that game that Chad Gaudin could get a the nod in Sunday's game vs. St. Louis, but Mike Kickham still hasn't returned to the Grizzlies as of May 31st, which could indicate the Giants are keeping him around to be activated to start that game. Again, I like Kickham, and feel he was the most deserving of the Grizzlies' arms to get the call in the first place, and I think giving him a 2nd start in his hometown (born in St. Louis) could be a good thing for the lefty. As good as Gaudin has been, I'd really prefer to keep him in the bullpen. The Giants' pen is already a bit shorthanded without Casilla and an ineffective Ramon Ramirez taking his spot at the moment. Also, George Kontos has been a bit hit-and-miss this year and the Giants' right-handed releif options, especially in the later innings, aren't nearly as effective as they were when Romo was locking down the 8th and B-Weezy had the 9th.
Now, things should get better when Casilla gets back, but I still am a huge advocate of giving Heath Hembree a look finally. If he could come up and be that bridge from the rest of the pen to Romo in the 9th, it would allow Boch to use Casilla more freely whenever he needed to and make the bullpen a whole lot tougher. I really like that idea. Plus it would give the Giants a legit closing option on those nights in July and August when they're going to want to keep from overusing Romo. I know he got knocked around in in few of his recent outings, but he's been nails for the most part all season long for Fresno. Without the pressure of a pennant race, or the need to rush him right into the closer's seat, I think the timing for an Hembree call-up right now would be ideal!