Week in Review (7/18-7/24)

Results:

4-2 (59-43, 4 game lead in NL West)

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

Overall a very good week for the Giants. From my perspective I feel like the Giants have won the first two games of a lot of 3 game series and then failed to sweep in the last game. Anecdotal, for sure, and also a trend that you feel bad complaining about. I mean, they still won the series right, it feels kind of greedy to want a sweep all the time. But, excellent work (as always) by Baggs confirming that the Giants are now 18-4 in 3 game series (meaning they’ve won at least 2 of 3 in 18 of the 22 3 games series they’ve played). That is impressive and exactly what you want from a club, so I’m going to stop complaining about not being able to finish off sweeps (hopefully).

One more story then on the players of the week. My wife and I attended the Red Sox game yesterday and my parents were at AT&T yesterday as well. The results perfectly captured the essence of each team’s seasons. Tim Wakefield started for the Sox (because of injuries to their rotation) gave up 7 runs in 6 innings and still got the win and a standing ovation as he left the mound. The Red Sox pounded the Mariners in a 12-8 victory. The Giants came from behind to win 2-1 thanks to great pitching. Perfect games for describing how the season has gone for both of these teams.

Hitter of the Week:

This is my shameless plug for Brandon Belt. 4 for 12 (.333) with a home run and 3 RBI in his return. Also two games on the bench. This guy has to play! I don’t care who they trade for, how much they are paying Aubrey Huff, etc, the offense will get better by having him in the lineup! Somebody make that happen!!!

Pitcher of the Week:

Last week I gave this honor to Madison Bumgarner and I’m doing it again. I said last Monday the Giants need Bumgarner to step up and solidify himself at the #3 starter…well, he may actually be making a case to be #2 or even 1A at this rate. Here’s his line for the week: 2 starts, 2 wins, 15 and 2/3 IP, 15 K, 2.30 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, and 0 BB. In fact, you have to go back to July 6th to find his last walk issued. Baggs has some good stuff on the unprecedented nature of a 21-year-old with such great control and so does McCovey Chronicles, so I won’t elaborate much more but to say that this kid is impressive. Very impressive.

On to the White House, then the Phillies…can’t wait for this series to start…going to be an interesting week to say the least!

(-SB)

Week in Review (7/11-7/17)

Results:

6-2 W @ SD; 6-1 W @ SD; 11-3 L @ SD; 4-3 W @ SD

Short week due to the All-Star Break…four games against the Padres turned out to not be so bad (even with Zito laying an egg on Saturday). Couple of games that could have ended in typical Padre disaster turned out ok, thanks to Aubrey Huff and a suicide squeeze. This team comes out of the gate, post-break proving that walking the razor’s edge is just how it’s going to be in 2011.

Hitter of the Week:

Once again, props to Panda and Nate the Great for being lights in the midst of so much darkness. Hitter of the short week honors, though, go to Andres Torres who is showing signs of coming around. Over the last two weeks he is hitting .333 with 7 runs scored and 4 stolen bases. I’ve said this before, but the Giants can make any number of huge trades but an offensive resurgence has to begin with some players they already have getting it together and none of those players is more important as Torres. If he keeps this up the Giants have a pretty decent outfield (defensively as well as offensively) with Cody Ross, Nate, and Andres. It would also mean focusing on the middle infield in the trade market. Stay hot Andres!

Pitcher of the Week:

Madison Bumgarner. His line on Thursday wasn’t dominant (6 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 4 K), but it was really good and a big second half from MadBum will go a long way to not only helping the Giants win this division but solidify the rotation for the postseason as well. It’s pretty clear that now is the time for Madison to establish himself as the no-doubt #3 in the Giants rotation.

Looking Ahead:

The Giants enter an interesting stretch. 3 with the Dodgers (where they catch Billingsly and Kershaw, never an easy task), then lots of contenders: Brewers, Phillies, Reds, D-Backs, Phillies again, and the Pirates. All but six of those games are at home, which is extremely helpful. Nonetheless, this is an important time of the season. The Giants have the potential to put some distance between them and the rest of the division and it would be great to see them do it, although it would be entirely out of character with how they do everything else. For the time being, though, BEAT LA!

(-SB)

Forecasting the Future (or something like that)

The All-Star game helped to highlight the one truth that we know from 2011. The National League has some good pitchers. Sure, the AL had 4-5 great arms unavailable for various reasons, but so did the NL. Pitching has been the story of the season all around, but I am still amazed at how deep the NL is with pitchers. Soon I’ll have a post up regarding how my pitching ideas factor in the pennant races, but for now here is my gut level feel about the rest of the season:

AL EAST

I’ve been touting the Rays all year and by all appearances they are done but shouldn’t have what it takes to finish in the top 2 in a strong division. Disagree. Still think the Rays have a better shot than the Yankees over the full schedule. Red Sox and Rays as division winner and wild carder, respectively.

AL CENTRAL

So, I picked the Twins at the beginning of the season, then the White Sox, and it makes a ton of sense to choose the Tigers at this point (all the while the Indians remain very much in the hunt and they are the team I’d love to see win it, but I still don’t believe). I might be back in on the Twins, though. 6.5 out. The next two weeks are super important for them. If they tank, they’ll trade some guys and regroup for next year. If they get close to .500 look out, it may be another Minnesota Miracle. I’m going to go out on a very precarious limb and say I’m on the Twins bandwagon. They just might get healthy and hot and take this thing after all.

AL WEST

A minor subplot here is a bet I’ve had since opening day with my friend Kevin. If the Angels win more games than the A’s he gets to write a guest post telling the world what an idiot I am. Right now he’s got to be feeling pretty comfortable. He might even be on his third or fourth draft. The Angels aren’t terrible and I need to look at the pitching numbers to confirm some suspicions I have that they may end up winning this division. Today, though, I’m predicting a slide by Weaver and Haren and the Rangers hold on to win the west again.

NL EAST

Told you the Braves were pretty good right! A lot has gone wrong with the offense and a ton has gone right with the pitching. (This might be blasphemy on a Giants blog, but pitcher for pitcher is there a better staff top to bottom than the Braves? The Phillies have a slight advantage in a couple of statistical areas but that’s a top-heavy staff…I think it’s a good debate: Giants vs. Braves for deepest/strongest staff in all of baseball). Nice work by the Mets and Nationals to be at .500 and the Marlins are coming back a bit after being punished for the sins of Scott Cousins. Best division in baseball? Yes. Phillies win, Braves take the Wild Card easily and have the second best record in the NL.

NL CENTRAL

Here’s a good one. The fourth place Reds are only 4 games out. Anything can happen here and this is the division that might be the most affected by a trade. (Nice job by the Brewers getting K-Rod. He’s a nut job but I think he’ll behave himself, prove he can be a good citizen, and pitch great as a set up man in order to get a big contract this offseason). I don’t think the Brew Crew can pull off much more in the trade market, so we’ll have to see what the other teams do in response. None of these teams have three starters like Grienke, Marcum, and Gallardo and so I still believe Milwaukee is the team to beat in this four horse race. 

NL WEST

Giants win the west, simple as that. More importantly, despite all the rumoring and posturing over the last few days, I don’t think the Giants get Beltran and if they do make a move it will be a minor move (or moves). Even if I’m wrong and they do get Beltran, the fact remains: the Giants need improved production up and down the lineup, especially out of the leadoff spot and at SS, 2B, and C. Carlos Beltran solves none of those problems, so ultimately, big trade or not, the G-men must look internally to get some kind of sustainable offense going.

More to come in the near future as I examine which teams fit the pitching model for a run at the World Series.

(-SB)

Week in Review (7/4-7/10)

Results:

4-3 (52-40, 3 game lead in NL West)

5-3 L vs. SD; 5-3 L vs. SD; 6-5 W vs. SD; 2-1 W vs. SD; 5-2 L vs. NYM; 3-1 W vs. NYM; 4-2 W vs. NYM

Hey, it’s the All-Star break and the Giants are in first place. No big deal, right? I mean it’s been a pretty smooth, rather uneventful first half of the season. FALSE. The monks will spend a few days this week recapping the first half and looking ahead the stretch run. If nothing else, this has been one compelling team to follow this year.

Hitter of the Week:

Tip of the cap to Pablo for keeping the streak alive (21 games now) and for sneaking on to the All-Star roster. I hope he hits a walk off home run against Jose Valverde. But, the hitter of the week has to be Nate Schierholtz who is resembling a real life, everyday major league player more and more. He has now raised his season slash line to: .293/.343/.464 which is pretty darn good. I really, really, really hope he can keep this up!

Pitcher of the Week:

The Barry Zito comeback tour is gaining some serious momentum. His outing against San Diego was easily the best performance by a starter this past week (8 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 7 K) and maybe the best start of his Giants’ career. However (and this is more of a midseason award than a weekly thing), while Brian Wilson does his bit for the All Star team Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, and Jeremy Affeldt might be the best core of set up men in all of baseball right now. Romo had an amazing week, Lopez is just a joy to watch, and Affeldt is looking more and more like his 2009 self. If Casilla can get back to where he was at the end of last year and Mota and Ramirez keep on holding down their end, I think this is the best bullpen I have ever seen. Period.

Stay tuned, a lot more to come this week!

(-SB)

Week in Review (6/27-7/3)

Results:

4-3 (48-38, 2 game lead in NL West)

13-7 W @ CHC; 6-3 W @ CHC; 2-1 L @ CHC; 5-2 L @ CHC; 4-3 W @ Det; 15-3 W @ Det; 6-3 L @ Det

What a strange week. Do we rejoice in the offense breaking out a couple of times for laughers? Do we agonize over what might have been in some of those loses? It’s hard to argue against a 4-3 road trip being successful, but these Giants always manage to do something to make you feel like they could have done more. What a strange week.

Hitter of the Week:

Impossible not to name the Panda who seems to be back to where he was at the beginning of the season. We need someone to hit with authority and he’s the one right now. Brandon Crawford might never be an All-Star with the bat but his line this week was nice: .333, a home run, 7 RBI, a double, and 5 walks! Well done kid: hitter of the week.

Pitcher of the Week:

Barry Zito gets the nod but before I get to him consider this:

  • Lincecum vs. Chicago: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 1 ER, 7 K…No Decision (Giants lose 2-1)
  • Cain vs Chicago: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 0 ER, 6 K…No decision (Giants lose 5-2 in 13)
  • Bumgarner vs Detroit: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 1 ER, 9 K…No Decision (Giants win 4-3 despite bullpen implosion)
  • The Giants cannot afford to have the big 3 pitch that well and barely come away with one victory. That’s all I’m saying.
Zito though gets the nod for being a gamer and a winner. He obviously knows something about winning games that those other three guys don’t get. That’s why he went 2-0. All kidding aside, Zito is the pitcher of the week for the intangible benefit provided by: (a) pitching on 3 days rest, (b) continuing to pitch after a two and a half hour rain delay, and (c) pitching well while doing a and b. That was the most determined effort I’ve ever seen him make…a good Zito is good for everyone so let’s hope he keeps it up.
Giants got off to a rough start this week against the Pads…three more, then the Mets, then the break. I love Matt Cain.
(-SB)

Week in Review (6-20/6-26)

Results:

5-1 (44-34, 1.5 game lead in NL West)

9-2 L vs. Min; 5-1 W vs. Min; 2-1 W vs. Min; 4-3 W vs. Cle; 1-0 W vs. Cle; 3-1 W vs. Cle.

I went to the Giants game on Tuesday. It was the first time I’d been to AT&T since 2008 right before I moved to Boston. First time post-World Championship. It was great to spend the day in SF, to stroll around the ballpark, see the new plaques in the walk along right field, see the World Championship flag flying, watch the guys take BP. The weather was incredible. I’ve never been so warm at a night game in San Francisco.

Then the first inning happened. 8 runs. The Giants were coming off a sweep at the hands of the A’s. A 4 game losing streak was turning into 5. The Giants were falling out of first place. Fans booed MadBum. The Giants proceeded to “win” the rest of the game 2-1 and then burn off a five game winning streak of their own (scoring 15 runs in the process…yes, that is 3 runs per victory).

So what does all of this mean? The Giants are the worst offensive (or is that most offensive) team in the National League and yet are winning their division. It seems like there is no way they can keep that up. And yet, here they are. Best bullpen in the game right now, maybe one of the best ever. A group of starters that can shut any lineup down at any time. The Giants will hit the half-way mark in Chicago later this week…it’s been a great first half given all the adversity this team has had to face and yet you can’t help but wonder what it would be like to watch this team at full strength. There will be a trade, so be prepared…let’s hope it’s a smart one.

Hitter of the Week:

Let’s give it up for the catchers. Eli Whiteside tweaked his leg but over the last two weeks is hitting .286 with a home run and 5 RBI. When you adjust for Team that puts his WAR in Jose Bautista territory. Chris Stewart has not been as good, but when taken together they are at .256 with 3 runs, 1 HR, and 7 RBI over the last 14 days. Stewart has thrown out 6 of 10 basestealers and the pitchers seem to really love throwing to him (Timmy’s 12 k game, Cain gem on Saturday, and Bumgarner’s bounce back game last night). I’ll be honest, it’s super depressing that this has to be what we talk about in the hitter of the week section, and these guys are not going to make us miss Buster Posey any less, but I think we can admit that the catchers are not the most pressing issue in the lineup currently.

Pitcher of the Week:

Huge props to the Big Three (Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner) for turning in maybe their best starts of the year this week. Props as well to Ryan Vogelsong for continuing to do his thing. Brian Wilson also had a week of delicious awesomeness. But let’s tip our caps to two guys who can get lost in the shuffle: Guillermo Mota and Jeremy Affeldt. Mota hung 4 and 2/3 scoreless on the Twins in the wake of Bum’s day to forget and saved many arms. It’s arguable that the rest of the week does not go as well if he gets shelled too. Not a big believer in momentum, but I was not surprised to see the team bounce back so nicely in the rest of the series after that debacle…thank you Guillermo.

Affeldt was probably the best non-closer reliever in MLB in 2008-2009 with the Reds and Giants and then ran into injury and control issues last year. He lost his standing in the BP thanks to Romo and Lopez, but he seems to be regaining his form. If he gets back to the 08-09 level of dominance (and it sure looked like he was there last night: 2 innings and 5 ks for the save, and it looked like the Indians had no chance against him) then look out world: no team will have 5 relievers as good as Wilson/Romo/Lopez/Casilla/Affeldt. All are capable of getting strikeouts and ground balls in the right situation. Pure nasty.

Coming up: Day off Monday, double-header with the Cubs on Tuesday (including the return of Zito), 2 more in Chicago, and then on to Detroit for what should be another low scoring inter league match up. Go Giants!

(-SB)

Week in Review (5/30-6/5)

Results:

5-2 (33-26, 0.5 game lead in NL West)

7-3 W @ STL; 4-3 L @ STL; 7-5 W @ STL; 12-7 W @ STL; 3-1 W vs. Col; 2-1 L vs. Col; 2-1 W vs. Col

Fun fact of the week: the 2010 Giants won 22 games by 5 or more runs. The 2011 Giants have only one 2 such games so far! Nonetheless, the offense broke out in St. Louis but the games were still close, then it was back to typical in the return to AT&T.

Hitter of the Week:

I posted a couple of days ago about Aubrey Huff and his four home runs this week surely are an awesome sign. But Cody Ross is my pick here because when he gets hot he is as good as anyone and can carry an offense (see the 2010 playoffs) and he is pretty hot right now. .407 average, 2 HR, 6 RBI and a stolen base this past week. Stay hot Cody Ross!

Pitcher of the Week:

No doubter here: Ryan Vogelsong has not only established himself in the rotation creating a full on Zito crisis, but he is also starting to raise the question of if he deserves an All-Star spot (remember Bochy gets the final say this year) and , dare I say, about who has been the Giants best pitcher this year. Here’s the Ryan vs Timmy line:

  • Vogelsong: 4-1, 8 starts, 53.2 IP, 42 K, 1.68 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 2.34 BB/9, 7.04 K/9, 211 ERA+ (before yesterday’s start)
  • Lincecum: 5-4, 12 starts, 83.1 IP, 88 K, 2.59 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 2.59 BB/9, 9.50 K/9, 144 ERA+ (before tonight’s start)
Interesting…obviously Timmy is still the ace, but Vogelsong has been no slouch…a truly incredible story if he can keep this up in any way.
Coming up: how about 7 home games! Feels good to have the team home for so long. After the home stand, three in Arizona, which means the next 10 games will give a lot of shape to the division outlook. Also, the return of Pablo is right around the corner!
(-SB)

 

 

Prediction Reboot: The (correct) Stover Addition

Steve has issued some re-picks as we enter June and I thought I would set him straight on a few…

AL East

Steve is half right here. The Red Sox are back and they are going to win this division. I differ with his assessment of the Rays though. I don’t think you can succeed in that division without more hitting. Yes, they are a very similar team to the Giants, but they don’t play in the NL West (thankfully) and I can’t see them beating the Yankees and the Red Sox. They rank 21st in hitting and I’m not sure that will cut it in that division. In addition, the Yankees actually are ranked higher in pitching stats and I don’t think they are going to lose 1st place to anyone but the Sox.  I’m taking the Red Sox to win it, and the Yankees to win the wild card. One side note, I think Joe Maddon is one of, if not THE best manager in all of baseball. I would want to play for him.

AL Central

Ok so this one is super confusing….still.  Even more confusing is the White Sox. They have turned around, or at least slowed, their awful start. Steve, I like that you aren’t just picking chalk here, but I don’t see a division win in their future. I don’t see it in Cleveland’s either. At some point, Cleveland is going to start playing up, or should I say down to their potential. I’m taking the Tigers in this one.

AL West

This division still lines up clearly for me. The Rangers are winning it. Billy Bean came out today and said he didn’t want his catcher getting run over at the plate so he told him to avoid any home plate collisions. That should keep the A’s from having a repeat of the Buster Posey incident. However, Suzuki isn’t Posey, and the A’s aren’t as good as the Rangers. I’ll still take them to repeat as AL west champs.

NL East

Steve and I are in complete agreement here. Even though Hanley Ramirez is stinkin’ this year, the Marlins are finding a way to win. Pitching is the key to their success, but Josh Johnson is on the DL and they don’t have a lot of proven winners on the staff or in the bullpen. They should come back down soon. The scary part for that division is even when the Marlins are playing great, the Phillies still lead by 2 games. Philly will win this one easily and I am changing my wild card pick to Atlanta. That has more to do with Cincy stinking than with my faith in Atlanta.

NL Central

So I have publicly ripped the Brewers in previous posts and it looks like they listened. They are playing great right now and only 2.5 games out. It looks like they may make my pre season pick correct after all. Here’s a fun fact: they are amazing at home and AWFUL on the road. 21-7 vs 9-19. I don’t know what to do with the Cards. They are surprising, especially noting the slump that Pujols is in. My bold prediction is that he is going to stay in that slump all year. I know he didn’t want to negotiate his contract during the year, but maybe he should reevaluate that stance. Something is bothering him and he says he isn’t injured. I will choose to believe him and say it must be mental. Sign a contract for 26 mil a year for the next 7 years and he’ll be fine.  I’ll keep the Brewers winning the central but knock Cincy off of my previous wild card choice.

NL West

Nobody panic. Arizona isn’t winning the west. Every team gets hot at some point, they just put a couple of hot streaks together. I also don’t believe that Colorado is out of it. I look for the Rockies to be in it until September. I am still concerned about the Giants. I watched the game last night and even though we got 16 hits, I just have no faith in where our offense is coming from. Especially when Huff is up, I have no faith. I am the eternal pessimist when my team is up but I’m still not a believer yet. Trade options are a discussion for a separate post but we need to strengthen our lineup. We have 5 outfielders that Bochy has to try to time their hot streaks (ie Ross and Nate right now) and that isn’t a recipe for success.

Ok so Steve and I agree on a lot of picks.  That is a natural occurrence because we are both very smart males.  I’m really looking forward to this summer.  I broke down and got the MLB package so now I can watch the Giants more.  Blasted east coast time is killing me though.  Enjoy the games!!!

(-JS)

Week in Review (5/23-5/29)

Results:

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.

(-SB)

Week in Review (5/16-5/22)

Results:

5-2 (27-19, 3.5 game lead in NL West)

7-4 L @Col; 5-3 L @Col; 8-5 W @ LAD; 3-1 W @ LAD; 2-1 W vs. Oak; 3-0 W vs. Oak; 5-4 W vs. Oak

Just for fun here are the scores the Giants’ victories in May: 7-6, 2-0, 4-3, 3-2, 3-0, 1-0, 4-3, 3-2, 3-0, 8-5, 3-1, 2-1, 3-0, 5-4. There are only three wins in there with more than 5 runs, and no margin of victory larger than 3. This is getting crazy! Dad says “clean” baseball is for sissys. For those keeping track: 7 walk off wins, 11 1-run wins at home. Also, 9 in a row at AT&T. Unbelievable.

It’s also amazing how much can change in the course of a week. Tuesday night after losing both in Colorado, the Giants were in second place and I was getting smack talk posted on my facebook wall by Rockies fans. Today, the Giants have a 3.5 game lead over those same Rockies. How do you like them apples Colorado friends!

Hitter of the Week:

Freddy Sanchez had a nice week (.417 avg), but it is time to talk about Nate Schierholtz. Nate of course had the big home run in Sundays epic comeback/walk-off/one-run victory. Some folks are clamoring for his being included in the starting lineup everyday. I once had a dream, pre-Andres Torres, that the Giants turn Nate in to the everyday center fielder. I still think that was a legitimate idea, but I also think the Giants are using him perfectly right now. Use him in spot starts, for late inning defense, and keep starting Ross and Burrell as the everyday corner outfielders. Im happy for Nate…he’s finally healthy and contributing for a good stretch, but I don’t think he’s an everyday guy. He’s the perfect fourth outfielder and there’s nothing wrong with that. Nonetheless, he is the hitter of the week for his two bombs, huge catch, and perfect 5 O’clock shadow beard.

Pitcher of the Week:

Two good efforts from Jonathan Sanchez, a Timmy shutout, a near complete game shutout from Madison Bumgarner, another solid effort from Matt Cain, and more surprising dominance from Ryan Vogelsong. Any of these guys could get the nod. However, lets honor Sergio Romo not only for his performance yesterday but for his ridiculous strikeout ability all season. He is averaging 14.3 Ks per 9 innings! He will occasionally hang that wicked slider and give up a home run, but the dude is a strikeout machine and that is a very, very nice thing to have. Well done Serg!

The Giants have won 5 in a row (9 in a row at home) and enter an interesting stretch. Day off today then 3 at home against the quality Marlins, before hitting the road for a midwest tour against the Brewers and Cardinals. This will be the most consecutive games against teams with .500 or better records. Should be a good test!

(-SB)