San Francisco Giants
So I thought I'd do a report card for the Giants' first half. Although not perfect and definitely not where I really want to be (4th place in the NL West) we do have some promise of things to come and have a chance to make a run at a playoff spot. So here we go:
Starting Pitching: B-
The start of the season lest you forget, we had one of the most outstanding rotations in baseball. Timmy started out 4-0, Zito started out 5-0 and the whole staff besides wellemeyer had a sub 3.00 ERA. As this season has progressed we've gotten inconsistent performances from wellemeyer before he got injured and he's now been replaced by our rookie phenom Madison Bumgarner who finished off the 2nd half with 2 straight wins. Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez have been inconsistent as well, but Cain has shown all star form at times.
The lineup we had at the beginning of the season is far different from the one we're trotting out now. Panda has been mostly a disappointment all season besides the first month, and he's been relegated to batting out of the 6th or 7th hole in a much deeper lineup. Freddy Sanchez came back from injury and has shown how a 2nd place hitter is supposed to hit. Andres Torres gave us a jolt as a leadoff man before injuring his groin recently, but should be back soon, and Pat Burrell has given us a steady power bat to insert some days. But this offense now stands clearly on the shoulders of a man and a boy. Aubrey Huff and Buster Posey
Aubrey is having one of his best offensive seasons in his career hitting .295 with 17 home runs and 54 RBI's.
Buster has been everything we've ever hoped he would be. Besides now replacing Bengie as the starting catcher, he's been red hot at the plate hitting .350 with 7 home runs and 25 RBI's. The kid even hit cleanup in the last game before the all star break.
All in all, hitting has gotten a lot better and that's why I bumped the Giants up to a B
Relief Pitching: C+
Besides Brian Wilson, we really don't have many guys we can rely on at this point. Affeldt hasn't been the same as he was last year, Romo's stuff although electric can become quite predictable at times. A guy you might want to look out for in the 2nd half is Chris Ray. Ray was obtained in our trade with Bengie Molina from the Rangers and has been doing pretty well lately with only 1 earned run in 6 appearances and 6.2 innings.
I have to give Bochy at least some credit (thus the +) He took out rowand when he wasn't producing, and its not easy putting 13 million dollars on your bench. That however isn't Bochy's problem so much as its Sabean's problem. However he continues to play Renteria every day despite the fact that he's mired in yet another slump. I do see signs of him making changes however, and putting in the hot hand (Ishikawa). Decisions in his bullpen have made everyone want to pull out their hair and smash coffee tables across the bay area, but a lot of that comes from having an inconsistent bullpen to begin with.
Front Office: A-
As far as this year goes, we've made some great moves. I know everyone's sad to see Bengie go, but to get Chris Ray and another minor leaguer for a aging and struggling catcher is a great move to make way for Buster Posey to be our everyday catcher. Speaking of which deciding to bring up both Posey and Bumgarner this season has been great, and I'm excited everytime I see them play. Also, to sign Pat Burrell for a green army man a paper clip and some bubble gum was genius and I love the depth he brings and his patience at the plate.
The signs prior to the year have been great too. Freddy Sanchez was signed to a 2 year deal, and Aubrey Huff and Juan Uribe both signed 1 year deals for a total of 6 million for both! Yes, that's your #1 and #2 home run hitters earning a combined salary that is $7 million less than you paid Aaron Rowand for this year. The lone mistake was signing Mark DeRosa, but I still think he's a great pro, just ran into some bad luck.
So what do we need to do for the 2nd half?
"Hitting power, hitting power, and hitting power. Our best games seem to be when we get enough guys on base and bring them home. I know it sounds common sense, but the truth is no matter how good our pitching and fielding we can't win games if we don't offer up some big hitters."
True enough Mark, yes it sounds simple and yet the Giants are not getting the picture. Situational hitting has been a blight upon this team the entire 1st half. I hear the Giants are considering a ticket offer for 2 seats, 2 hot dogs and 2 beers for $22 each and they'll call it the Panda Double Play Combo (kidding). But seriously this offense needs to get started for us to have a chance.
However I don't think our answer lies with making a move. We have the talent on this roster now. This lineup is capable of scoring 4+ runs every night. In our last 10 games we've scored 6 or more runs SIX times with 3 double digit run games (11, 15, 10).
I think we'll be able to see if this team can make it to the playoffs if we can do better against the NL West. Right now we're 9-20 against the NL West and are soon to have a series in LA against the Dodgers. If we can't turn it around against our NL West rivals then this season might just be another promising regular season without results. So lets hope for a sweep...
Laws of the Day
Brian Wilson pitched a perfect 1-2-3 8th inning in the All Star game to get the hold as setup man to Jonathan Broxton. The NL went on to win 3-1 in its first win in 13 years
Tim Lincecum did not pitch at all in the all star game making it 3 all star teams and only 1 appearance. He's slated to start tomorrow against the Mets at home.
Saturday is Tim Lincecum Bobblehead day as well as University of Arizona Alumni day, 2 reasons for why I'll be at the park enjoying the game. Matt Cain is the scheduled starter on Saturday.
Brian Wilson wearing his "magic" shoes