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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Pitching, untimely hitting has Giants in rut

Entering play about 10 days ago on June 9th, the Giants had the best record in baseball and sat nearly 20 games above .500. However, a 1-8 run since that date has dropped them back down to earth and has shrunk their lead on the 2nd place Dodgers to just 4 games.

A big reason for the Giants rut has been because of some unstable pitching, from the top of the rotation through the back end of the bullpen. Tim Hudson had his worst outing as a Giant this week in Chicago vs. the White Sox, giving up 7 runs on 12 hits in just 4 1/3 innings. Matt Cain followed up Hudson's outing with his worst outing of the 2014 season as well, giving up 8 runs om 10 hits in 5 innings. All those short outings have caused the bullpen to be called upon quite frequently, and while they've done an admirable job, the workload may be takings it's toll on the most important arm in that pen. The starting pitching has shown it'll have some downs here and there, but for the most part, they're going to do their job and provide quality outings. I'm not too worried there. As we inch toward the halfway point in the season however, the Giants' energetic closer sits at a pedestrian 3-3 with a 5.04 ERA and 20/24 in save opportunities. While the save ratio isn't terrible, he was nails up until about the last month, when he's seen his ERA balloon from 2.21 up to where it stands now. As of now, Sergio Romo's job is not in any kind of jeopardy, but one has to think that if his ERA hovers around 5 and his ineffectiveness continues through the All-Star break, talk of change will certainly surface.

I've always liked the idea of being able to use Romo freely anyway, and not tying him down to the ninth inning only. As we all know, the saves don't necessarily always take place in the 9th inning, and Romo was as good as any in those situations. Not that I'm abandoning hope of him rebounding though. In fact, if I were to bet, I'd expect him to bounce back and I doubt anyone else but #54 will be getting consistent save opportunities anytime soon in San Francisco. It is worth keeping an eye on nevertheless.

Elsewhere with the squad, the Giants have gotten some good news in regards to Brandon Belt's rehabilitation, as the first basemen is on track to rejoin the team sometime in the next two weeks. I've been hearing the end of June as a target date, but My guess would be sometime in that first week of July. Either way, it'll be great to get the big first basemen back, as it will significantly deepen this lineup and allow Bochy to start using a more consistent day-in and day-out lineup like he prefers to do. While Belt is on the mend, the Giants leadoff hitter and center fielder, Angel Pagan, had to leave the team earlier this week to get has back looked. Pagan's ailment is being labeled as "lower back stiffness" but the fact that he had to leave the team to get a second opinion does raise some red flags. Already without their steady #2 hitter Marco Scutaro for what could be the entire season, they absolutely cannot afford to lose their leadoff guy for any long period of time, so expect the Giants to be cautious with Pagan. We've seen the Giants do a good job in being able to fill Brandon Belt's shoes while he's been down, but Pagan is almost like Posey in a way that nobody comes close to doing what he does as well as he does. That's how important Pagan is to this lineup and hopefully we see him back out there this weekend without missing a beat.

Giants All-Star Watch: I'm about to fill out my All-Star ballot, and although I'm a die-hard Giants fan, I don't sit there and punch in all Giants to start the game. This game means something now, and it should be treated as such. There really is no Giant that is worthy of starting this years game, not even Buster Posey, but there are a handful of guys deserving to represent the NL at Target Field next month. Although plenty can change in the 4 weeks before the game, as of now, I'd say their are four players that should make the cut with one on the fence. Madison Bumgarner, Hunter Pence, Tim Hudson and Jean Machi all should be virtual locks with the way they've played and the impact they've had on the Giants great start. I'd put Michael Morse right their on the fence as he's put up big numbers and seems to always put them up when they really count.

2nd Base Watch: Despite Brandon Hicks' abysmal slump and Ehire Adrianza's in-ability to get anything going with the bat, the Giants don't have any immediate plans to bring up either of their two most logical in-house replacements, Adam Duval or Joe Panik. The 25 year-old Duval has a better chance since he's on the 40-man and can also play some first base. Plus he's having a monstrous season in Fresno, leading the PCL with 22 jacks, a .293 average, 64 RBI and a .983 OPS. Panik, a first round selection in 2011, is finally playing up to his capabilities in Fresno and the Giants aren't likely to disrupt the 23 year-old at the moment (.313/5/43/.811).
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1 Comments:

  • At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Berdj J. Rassam said…

    The Giants need Pagan back in the lineup, and need to improve Cain and Lincecum's performance or upgrade.

     

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