Second Half, Here We Go

To begin: a tip of the cap to the Giants’ All-Stars, all of whom did extremely well on Tuesday night. I know Buster didn’t get a hit, but he nearly hit one out and I thought his at-bat against Verlander was the straw that broke the camel’s proverbial back. Pablo would have swung at all of those pitches. Verlander was missing, but not by that much, and you can’t blame a guy in his first all-star at-bat for being aggressive. I was impressed. Obviously, Matt, Panda, and Melky had bigger moments, but each Giants was excellent.

Now then, the Giants jump back into action tomorrow coming off a horrible road trip, but only half a game out of first. Here are some thoughts on the second half…

Playoffs?

  • What I think will happen: I think the Giants will outlast the Dodgers and win the division.
  • What will actually happen: The Giants will make the playoffs one way or another, and I really do anticipate them winning the division.

Tim Lincecum

  • What I think should happen: Tim Lincecum closer? I don’t think they move him in to that role right away, but there are a few rumblings about him being sent to the bullpen. There are many starters who have made this transition and with his strikeout rates still impressive, Timmy could be the answer to the 9th inning.
  • What I think will actually happen: I think they are going to keep trotting him out there every 5th day for the rest of the season. He’s been the ace and he has a long leash based on his credentials. For better or worse, we have Lincecum in the rotation for another year and a half.

Trades

  • What I think should happen: The most interesting rumor to me so far has been Shane Victorino. Giants’ fans hate him, and for good reason, but he would be the perfect fit. Blanco could go back to being a role player extraordinaire and Shane would lead off and the Giants would lose nothing in terms of defense. He’s not a middle of the order guy, but I still think the Giants can get plenty of production there from Melky, a healthy Pablo, Posey, and a rejuvenated Belt.
  • What I think will happen: The Giants will trade for Brandon League or Jonathan Broxton. They don’t have the prospects to have a realistic shot at Victorino or a bigger name closer like Huston Street. Whoever they get might not even take over the 9th inning. But bullpen depth wouldn’t hurt.

Second Half Hero:

  • Who I want it to be: Brandon Belt. I’d love to see him go off…hit .300, mash 10 bombs, and establish himself as a threat in the middle of the order. A productive Belt answers a lot of questions for the Giants.
  • Who it will actually be: It’s going to have to be Buster Posey and the starting rotation. Much as he did in 2010, Buster’s huge second half provides the offense spark and a month of dominant starting pitching creates some distance between the Giants the Bums.

(-SB)

Week In Review (6/25-7/1)

Results:

5-2 (45-35, 1.0 game lead in NL West)

8-0 W vs. LAD; 2-0 W vs. LAD; 3-0 W vs. LAD; 5-0 W vs. Cin; 5-1 L vs. Cin; 2-1 L vs. Cin; 4-3 W vs. Cin

Well that was a pretty great week! Giants sweep the Dodgers, take over first place, and have 3 guys voted into the all-star starting lineup. Plus Matt Cain. Awesome. I think I will actually watch the all-star game this year.

The Giants still have a tough go before the break: 3 games in Washington and 3 in Pittsburg. Tough teams and hot weather. That said, the Dodgers are struggling and they are injured and it would behoove the Giants to put the boot to the neck (metaphorically) and put some distance between them and the Dodgers.

Hitter of the Week:

I got into it a bit yesterday on twitter with a Cardinals fan who is all bitter that Posey is starting the all-star game and not Yadier Molina. And he has a point…their batting stats are very similar, and Molina has the edge in WAR (due to his defense). But, watching the game yesterday, how good is Buster! His ability to hit with 2 strikes is amazing.

He hit .400 for the week, and you get the sense that with each passing day his confidence grows stronger and last year becomes a distant memory.

Pitcher of the Week:

After the first three innings of Saturdays game I gave this award to Barry Zito. Then he went and walked 6 batters, but he still managed to walk away with a pretty nice week. Keep it up.

Also, Madbum was nails against the Reds. Maybe his finest performance ever.

But, I am going to go ahead and give this to Tim Lincecum this week because we haven’t had much to highlight so far. Tim, thank you for shutting out the Dodgers…please keep it up and get it going!

Looking Ahead:

As I said, the road trip is tough: tough teams and tough weather. I’m looking for someone to spark the offense: Posey? Belt? Runs are going to be hard to come by, so someone needs to step up.

(-SB)