1-5 (28-24, 0.5 GB)
5-1 L vs. Fla; 7-6 L vs. Fla; 1-0 L vs. Fla; 5-4 W @ Mil; 3-2 L @ Mil; 6-0 L @ Mil
Once again, amazing how much a season can change in one week. Easily the worst week of the season, and that is the understatement of understatements.
I’ll talk more about Posey and the state of the offense below, but for now a comment on the Arizona Diamondbacks. I picked them to finish third in the division this year and got laughed at and called a homer (partly because the pick also involved the Dodgers finishing last). They now lead the National League West a day before June (in other words a third of the way through the season). They are a good team! Good young hitters, a much improved bullpen, and a few Andres Torres type stories (see Willie Bloomquist and Ryan Roberts). I do not believe that they have the starting pitching to keep this up, and they’ve feasted on the schedule a bit during this run (sweeps of the two worst teams in baseball the Astros and Twins have helped). But do not dismiss them out of hand, they can play.
Now that the Giants and Rockies have lost major pieces (the Rox lost their pitcher Jorge De La Rosa for the season this week too) this division is pretty wide open.
Hitter of the Week:
Part of me wants to give this to no one since the offense has been stinking it up so badly. Tip of the cap to Freddy Sanchez for his 1,000 career hit. And a standing ovation to Brandon Crawford for his grand-slam-in-his-first-big-league-game (and also for drawing a walk). But this week’s hitter of honor is Buster Posey who leaves a major hole in the offense and in our lives. Grant wrote a great piece on why the Giants (and fans) will miss him aside from the obvious statistical reasoning that Eli Whiteside is no Buster.
So what happens from here? The Giants can still win with the players that they have. A couple of hopes: Aubrey Huff is historically a great second half hitter…Cody Ross is unbelievably streaky and he’ll get hot again at some point…Brandon Belt will help…Pablo Sandoval will return soon (which is great all by itself, but it may also mean the end of the Tejada experiment which makes it doubly great)…Torres can be better…the Giants might make a trade.
Baggarly put it best though, the Giants have no identity on offense right now. Maybe they get that back a bit when the Panda returns, but it’s a great question: what is their identity? Last year the pretense was small ball, but really it was about home runs. Sandoval and Burrell lead the team with 5 home runs each, but neither have played much (or at all) recently. It’s an interesting issue.
The other issue is what to do with Posey in the future. Personally, I would continue to groom Belt for the outfield, move Pablo to first and put Posey at third. There is no doubt Posey wants to catch, and that he is most valuable as a catcher. But the Giants probably need to start thinking creatively about the future and where else they might use Posey (he would still be a plus bat at third base).
Pitcher of the Week:
Timmy got the lone win of the week, but it’s worth mentioning Ryan Vogelsong again. His 1.77 ERA is the best among the starters, and his 1.06 WHIP is virtually the same as Lincecum’s (1.05). He’s also one of three Giants pitchers with an ERA+ of over 200 (joining Ramon Ramirez and Sergio Romo). Obviously he still has fewer innings than the rest of the starters, but one of the monks will weigh in on the looming Ryan vs. Barry debate. What a story this guy has been!
The Giants continue to be road warriors: four in St. Louis than home, finally, for three with the Rockies (10 total home games coming up!). Hopefully they can figure something out soon and start scoring a few runs.