Pitching, Trades, and Cliff Lee Rumors

I promise that next Monday we will bring back the week’s in review and hopefully establish a good rhythm again.

For now though, the Giants season has been a sort of bizarro world. The starting pitching has been poor. The hitter has been good, if not great. The comebacks have been awesome. Who saw that coming?

Good vibes aside, for the Giants to have a shot at repeating they need to get better starting pitching. No way around that.

Here is my assessment thus far:

  • Matt Cain has not been good, but the amount of home runs he has allowed do line up with his career averages. Some might argue that such an extreme fly ball pitcher is finally having the law of averages catch up with him, but I don’t see it continuing at this rate. More important, Cain’s control has been lacking. I see him righting the ship and being the ace. Level of Panic: low.
  • Madison Bumgarner has had 6 great starts and one not so great start. No worries here. Madbum doesn’t have the video game stuff to dominate every time, so there will be times when it doesn’t go well. That said not worried. Level of Panic: extremely low.
  • Tim Lincecum is the most maddening player in a Giants’ uniform since Barry Zito who is still in a Giants’ uniform. He can look so good on one pitch and so bad on another. Dominate a batter than watch the pitcher. Provide a ray of hope with a clean start and then dash it with another start ruined by the big inning. What do you do? I still hold out hope that he is smart enough, talented enough, and not injured enough to figure it out. Level of Panic: moderate.
  • Barry Zito: Barry Zito is Barry Zito. I really don’t know how else to say it. Here’s what Barry Zito does: for every 5 starts, he will give 2 great turns, 2 good turns, and 1 huge turd of a turn. And that all works out to a perfectly acceptable league average 4th starter. Barry Zito. Level of Panic: low (Giants’ fans left panic a long time ago in regards to Zito).
  • Ryan Vogelsong: Ryan Vogelsong is the baseball definition of house money. In 2011 he was around to do one thing and one thing only: provide rotation depth. He started the season in AAA and only came up because of Jonathan Sanchez (remember him). Then it was because of Barry Zito. He made the All-Star team and it was a great story, but it was never part of the plan. And then it got even better. Another good season and a post-season transformation into THE ACE. But, when does the clock strike midnight and the coach turn back into a pumpkin? It might have happened, in a way, last August. It sure seems like it is happening now. The problem is that Vogey is now part of the plan. So, where do we go from here if this is the end of the line? Level of Panic: Red Alert!

So, what happens now? The hot rumor of the week is the Giants should go after Cliff Lee should the Phillies continue their downward spiral (a spiral the Giants are not helping in this current series).

The Cliff Lee idea is not unlike an idea I proposed this offseason which you can read about here. (By the way, Anibal Sanchez is off to a GREAT start).

Do the Giants pursue this?

Here’s the case against Lee:

  • He is old. 35 in August. 
  • He has an injury history. Been on the DL at least once in each of the past four seasons.
  • He is expensive. $25 mil for the next 3 years (including 2013).

Here’s the case for Lee:

  • He is very good. He is even better in the post-season.
  • The Giants could move Lincecum or Vogelsong to the bullpen.
  • The Giants will lose some combination of Lincecum, Vogelsong, and Zito after this season. Their good young arms are probably not going to be ready for opening day 2014. They will need outside help at some point to fill out the rotation, so why not Cliff Lee.

A couple of other factors. First, would the Phillies even want to do this? Maybe, they could get financial relief and some prospects. Second, would the Giants have what it takes to pull this off? Maybe…but their thin system would essentially be depleted. Third, Cliff Lee has a limited no-trade clause. The Giants could be one of the 21 teams on that list.

If the Giants could pull this off by trading only 1 decent prospect, than I say do it. They can manage the expense (especially with Lincecum, Pence, and potentially Zito coming off the books at the end of the year).

If it requires 2-3 top prospects, I say no.

It’s a long season and we are still just getting started. While the early returns have not been great from this rotation, there is plenty of time to right the ship. As bad as it’s been, the Giants are only a half game out of first place.

So, true panic should not set in until June. Let’s hope this magical group of five, who have been so good the last several years, turn it around quickly.

(-SB)

#SFGiants Week In Review (4/15-4/21)

What a weird week. Absolutely horrible in Milwaukee (a place the Giants seem to do well, and against a bad team), and then awesome at home against the Padres. The Giants are now 8-1 in the division…since losing to LA on opening day they have not lost a division game. That’s a fantastic start…let’s hope they keep it up against the Diamondbacks and the Padres again this week.

Results:

3-3 (12-7); 2nd place, 1.5 games back in NL West

10-8 L @ MIL; 4-3 L @ MIL; 7-2 L @ MIL; 3-2 W vs SD; 2-0 W vs. SD; 5-0 W vs. SD

Hitter of the Week:

Brandon Crawford is the hitter of the week and possibly even the year, given the expectations for him heading into the season. I think we all hoped for improvement, but .250 with 10+ home runs was a goal we would have all paid top dollar for. It’s early and there will be slumps and streaks but he sure passes the eye test right now. Power to the opposite field, not trying to do too much…he just looks dangerous at the plate. And that might be the best sign of all.

Pitcher of the Week:

Tim Lincecum was the enigma of the week last week and he pitched beautifully on Saturday night. Yes, he was at home (but we all know he’s been good and bad everywhere, park doesn’t really seem to matter to Timmy), and yes it was the Padres, but he looked like vintage Lincecum. Guys swung at nasty pitches out of the zone, and most importantly, he pitched with purpose and it sure seemed like he knew what he wanted to do and put the ball where he wanted it to go. The great question of Lincecum is not “will he get his velocity back” (probably not), but rather “will his crazy mechanics allow him to become a control pitcher” (a difficult task). The jury is still out, but saturday night was a huge step forward.

Enigma of the Week:

This is the enigma of the year: the Giants’ starters have all shown flashes of brilliance. I was floored by this article. But each of them seems to be too susceptible to (a) the Long Ball, and (b) the Big Inning. Cain and Zito got it big time in Milwaukee this week. Could be flukey early season stuff, but certainly it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Looking Ahead:

6 more division games: 3 against Arizona in SF, and then 3 in San Diego. Let’s hope the team keeps rolling against the NL West!

(-SB)

Big Answers

Yesterday we posted 5 Big Questions the Giants face this offseason. Today we try to answer them.

1) What can we expect from Tim Lincecum:

  • a) He continues to suck, the Giants figure out something to do with him (bullpen?), and let him walk at the end of the year.
  • b) He bounces back fully and the Giants have a big decision to make next offseason about what to do with him.
  • c) The Giants try to sign him this offseason at a discount
  • d) The Giants trade him this offseason. His lowered value doesn’t get the same return as a few years ago, but it could a be a good return and it would resolve (a) and (b).

My opinion is that Tim Lincecum is going to bounce back in a major way next year. I think he will be in better shape, I think he will work out the kinks in his motion, and I think he will prove to be a better pitcher than ever (if not quite as dominant) in 2013.

Tim can’t just throw a 95 mph fastball at the top of the zone and come right back with an 84 mph change that drop off the table anymore. But he can be extremely effective by relearning his fastball and by getting his mechanics to a place where he has better control (if less velocity). He is too good, too competitive, and too young to be washed up as a starter.

  • What should happen: I think the Giants should try to sign Timmy this offseason and enjoy the bounce back at a discounted rate.
  • What will happen: I think the Giants will stand pat, let the season play out, and make a Lincecum decision next offseason.

2) Can the rotation back up their performance:

A huge part of the answer to this question has to do with Lincecum finding himself. The Giants had their worst ERA+ as a staff this year (95) since 2006. And this was the first year with a below average ERA+ during this run of success. A lot of that was due to Lincecum posting the worst ERA+ of any starter in the big leagues. Like I said, a Timmy bounce-back is the biggest way the whole team improves in 2013.

I also think Madison Bumgarner will have a huge year next year. I’m a huge MadBum fan, and I think the kid just ran out of gas this year. But he’s a big strong kid who will learn how to build strength as the year goes on. I think he takes another step forward which only makes the rotation that much more solid.

I’m mildly concerned about Matt Cain. He threw 250 innings this year, and while the dude is a horse I think some fatigue showed up in the post-season: too many home runs. However, there’s no reason to suggest he doesn’t do what Matt Cain always does: pitch well.

Ryan Vogelsong is also a concern. Late bloomers tend to fall and fall quickly. I expect Vogelsong to be very effective next year, but I think we will see more ups and downs.

Barry Zito is Barry Zito. He’ll have some starts that make you wish you had never turned the TV on and he’ll have some starts that make you think he could win the CY Young again. In the end he will have an ERA just north of 4.00 and win double-digit games. (One caveat here: If Zito hits 200 innings his 2014 team option vests…I would guess they manage that pretty carefully next year).

  • What should happen: the Giants staff should continue to be the strength of this team and Madison Bumgarner will be in the conversation for the CY Award at season’s end.
  • What will happen: I think the Giants will take a flier on a Vogelsong-like pitcher this offseason who will prove to be valuable because Vogelsong will miss time due to injury.

3) Can the lineup stay healthy: The real heart of this question, as I mentioned yesterday, is this…will this be the year we finally get to see Panda and Posey together, at full strength, in the middle of the lineup.

It is obviously impossible to predict health with any reasonable accuracy, but Panda and Posey will be in the 26-27 year old window the next two years, typically two of the most productive years for baseball players. If healthy I think we see a potent 1-2 combo in the middle of the lineup.

  • What should happen: Posey and Panda come to camp next year in shape and highly motivated for personal and team success.
  • What will happen: I think this is exactly what will happen with the addendum that the Giants sign Posey to a long-term deal this offseason.  

4) Will the Giants make the same mistakes from 2010: After the 2010 Championship the Giants just had to bring back Aubrey Huff and Freddy Sanchez. Oops. Aubrey felt necessary because no one knew what to expect from Pablo and there were no other legitimate middle of the order hitters in the Giants lineup. But that was a frustrating signing as it seemed to block Brandon Belt. Freddy Sanchez was blocking no one and even though we all knew of his propensity for injury it seemed like a good idea.

The Giants are in a similar situation with Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro, and Jeremy Affeldt. It is hard to imagine a Giants team in 2013 without those guys on the roster. However, they are all going to be in demand this offseason, and they are not going to be cheap. And they are not exactly young (Pagan being the youngest at 31). I’ve already heard about a Rowand (5 ys/$60 mil) type deal for Pagan, and Affeldt’s market just shot through the roof (no thanks to the Dodgers) now that Brandon League signed a 3 year/$22 mil deal.

TradeRumors has the Giants bringing back all three. I would love to see the three return, but I do wonder if the Giants will end up signing contracts that they later regret. I can’t imagine Scutaro getting more than three years (it really should be 2, with an option at most), which I think is ok, but Pagan for 5? Yikes! Affeldt at $8-10 million a year? Whoa!

Complicating matters is that the Giants have top prospects at CF and 2B. Gary Brown and Joe Panik seemed locks to make at least an appearance in 2013 (if not the opening day roster) after 2011, but they both had years that raised some questions. They cannot be expected to make an impact in 2013. But by 2014? Sure. I’d hate to see them blocked.

Affeldt is a huge weapon, but the Giants have two other lefties coming back next year (Lopez and Mijares). They also have Dan Runzler who actually could fulfill the role Affeldt plays (lefty who can get righties out too) if he can stay healthy.

All of this shapes up to be quite fascinating.

  • What should happen: The Giants should bring them all back, but at reasonable deals. I’d be ok with Scutaro on a 2-year, $18 million deal (with an option for a third), Pagan for 3 years at $36 million, and Affeldt for 2 years at $15 million.
  • What will happen: The Giants will bring them all back, but overpay severely, especially for Pagan.

5) Will the Giants make a splash in Free Agency: Assuming the above happens, the Giants will only have one significant hole and that involves Left Field. (Amazing trivia note from Baggs: did you know the Giants biggest FA signing last year was Ryan Theriot at $1.75 million. They spent a ton of money on existing guys, but that still caught me off guard).

The Giants have come up in a few Josh Hamilton rumors and there is always the possibility that another Championship could lead to (over)confident spending.

The answer to this question really lies in what happen with Scutaro, Pagan, and Affeldt, especially Pagan. If Pagan goes elsewhere the Giants might jump in on someone like Michael Bourn or BJ Upton.

The bigger question here is this: do the Giants take a flier on Melky Cabrera? Do they utilize a Blanco/Nady platoon (or some other right-handed, power hitting outfielder)? Do they have another trick up their sleeve?

  • What should happen: Assuming the “big 3” return, I think the Giants should bring back Cody Ross and use him in a platoon with Gregor Blanco in left field.
  • What will happen: This is the hardest one for me to predict and so much of it has to do with the other impending free agents. I don’t think the Giants will spend big, especially on a left fielder, so I do see them considering some kind of a platoon here, but I honestly have no idea how this one shakes out. I also wouldn’t count out a Cabrera return.

There you have it. I’m sure this will all get revised and mixed up as things progress, but that’s my very early assessment of this offseason. Good luck Sabes!

(SB)

Game 7

First: this and this. Two articles, one about Barry Zito, written a year too soon, and the other about Matt Cain. Fun for me to re-read, hopefully it is for you too.

It all makes sense now. Of course the Giants would sign Matt Cain to a big contract (the biggest to a right-handed pitcher ever. Chew on that for a minute. Then chew on this: how many dominant left-handers are still in the postseason? Not many. Interesting).

Of course Matt Cain would throw the first perfect game in Giants’ history.

Now maybe he can win the first Game 7.

Probably the craziest thing I’ve learned this post-season, and there have been many crazy things to learn, is this: the Giants have never won a Game 7. Not in New York, not in San Francisco. Not in 128 years of baseball. 0 and 5.

Two of those game sevens have come in my lifetime. The first baseball season I really remember was 1987, although I don’t have much memory of the post-season. I definitely remember the ’88 post-season. The A’s, the Dodgers. That stupid Gibson home run that I’ve had to watch highlights of all my life. But I don’t remember Game 7, 1987, against the Cardinals, at all. Probably for the best because it was tragic.

I do remember, more vividly than I would like, Game 7 against the Angels. The gut-punch of Game 6 was still fresh and you just knew, as much you hoped it wasn’t true, that there was no way they were going to win Game 7. And they never really came close.

2002 was a rough year, and that loss didn’t help. Not one bit. Total depression.

It’s 2012 and I live in a different baseball world. If the Giants lose tonight I will be bummed. This team has been so much fun to watch and I would love to see them take on the Tigers. But, I won’t be crushed if they lose.

So, here’s to Matt Cain. Back in 2006, when things had taken a turn for the worst, Matt Cain was a Giants’ fan great hope. One day, we dreamed, maybe we’d get to see Cain take the mound in a big playoff game. Our big ace. In our beautiful ballpark. It seemed too good to be true.

But now it is happening.

Game 7. The greatest show in sports.

Go Giants.

(-SB)

All Tied Up (NLCS Thoughts)

Marco, please don’t be hurt bad. Please don’t be broken.

A few weeks ago, it sure seemed like Ryan Vogelsong was the best bet to play the part of 5th starter/long man duty in the postseason. Much like what Tim Lincecum has done so far, he’d come into games here and there, helping out if a starter stumbled.

Ryan Vogelsong is the ace of this staff right now.

—–

I wrote the other day that the key to the series is Madison Bumgarner. He needed to dominate. He did not dominate. In his four innings the Cardinals scored 6 runs. Against everyone else, over 14 innings, the Cardinals have scored once, and that run was driven in by a pitcher.

Bumgarner might not start again in this postseason. What this means is this: once again, Tim Lincecum is the key. Matt Cain needs to follow-up Vogey with a strong start, but Lincecum needs to be good. Really good. The Giants, at this point, can’t count on their lefties which means the bullpen is a little less strong, which means Tim Lincecum needs to be good.

—–

Speaking of the bullpen…well done sirs. My only bone to pick with Bochy is using Sergio Romo last night. I can buy the “he needed to get a good inning under his belt” argument, but I think Romo is more effective the less a team has seen him. The Giants will need him to finish off a close game this series and Romo is awesome, but he’s not Wilson or even Casilla in terms of versatility and being able to give different looks. It’s all about the slider. The less comfortable the Cardinals can be with that pitch the better.

—–

Marco Scutaro: stud. But here’s the other reality…the Giants need to get a big game from Pablo and big game from Pence. Pence needs to hit a home run or two for the Giants to win the series. Pablo needs to quit being late on fastballs. Posey hasn’t done much yet, but I’m not too worried (although you start to wonder about fatigue at this point in the season). Again, love what Pagan, Crawford, Blanco, and, of course, Scutaro have done, but the “big boys” need to give us something.

—–

The goal: 2 out of 3 in St. Louis and then clinch at home!

(-SB)

Week In Review (8/6-8/13)

Results:

4-4 (63-53, tied for First in NL West)

We’re just going to pretend that last night never happened and instead bask in the glory that was Sunday afternoon…the come-from-behind victory…the amazing Buster Posey at bat…the long-awaited ‘moment” delivered by Hunter Pence. That was a good day. Yesterday not so much. The Nationals are good. This is a tough series. Don’t forget Sunday!

Hitter of the Week:

Buster Posey is amazing. He continues to rake…home runs, walks, great at-bats. But an interesting thing has happened this last week. The Brandon’s live! Belt is hitting .435 with four walks and only 1 strikeout. Huge. Crawford is 9 for his last 19 (.474). Both are encouraging, especially Belt. A strong finish from him, coupled with Panda’s return, will mean a very respectable lineup 1 through 7. And that might make all the difference.

Pitcher of the Week:

It was a good, not great, week for Giants starting pitching. Lincecum was good, not great. Zito got bailed out by some strong defense. Bumgarner was solid, but got stung by the longball again. Vogelsong had a great start against the Cardinals and his worst in the last 2 seasons last night. Matt Cain gets the nod for looking like a man ready for a strong end of season run. There were some rumbles and worries about Cain, but those seem to be receding given his last outing.

Looking Ahead:

Two more with the Nationals, who the Giants have not beat this year. Then back on the road for division games: 3 with San Diego (who is playing well right now) and 3 with the Dodgers.

Giants need some strong starts and consistent at-bats to begin building distance in the division.

(-SB)

Catching Up

Since June 3rd:

The Giants have gone 10-9, and remain 3 GB of the Dodgers in the NL West. Note that Arizona has come on strong recently and is only 2.5 games behind the Giants!

Summary:

After a week off and another week away from the blog, we return to summarizing the action. No awards this week, just some thoughts…

So, Matt Cain is pretty good. I got back from vacation in time to turn on the game and see innings 3-9 of the perfect game. I kept saying: I’ll just watch one more and go to bed. But the perfection continued, and I stayed up, and it was totally worth it.

I have to admit this: I love Matt Cain, but I never thought he would get this good. He always seemed like the perfect #2 starter: innings, consistency, etc. But never the ridiculous, video game, fantasy stud kind of numbers that you expect from a Justin Verlander, or a Roy Halladay, or (dare I say) Tim Lincecum. Matt Cain was always good, but I didn’t think he’d jump to great, and this year he has been GREAT.

The other major development of the last couple of weeks: Brandon Belt. Looks like he’s got some freedom to just “be” now over there at first base and it seems to be paying off. Man was the turn around quick on that one. Now, obviously, he needs to keep this up for an extended period of time, but what an encouragement to see him get it going. The power, the on-base skills, the use of all fields. I’m a huge fan, so I’m probably a bit too giddy but I do wonder what the ceiling is? Votto lite? Carlos Pena with less power and better average? I’m not sure who he comps with, but I guess I don’t really care as long as he hits.

Looking Ahead:

Giants head home for a big time week: 3 with the Dodgers and 4 with the Reds. That’s three games with a chance to close the gap in the division and then 4 against the Central division leaders. Yeah, it’s at home, but that’s still a tough go. I’m not super excited about the Dodgers getting Zito, Vogelsong, and Lincecum again (same 3 as the only other series between these teams this year). Nonetheless, hopefully they can turn it around and take 2 of 3 this time to even out the season series.

(-SB)

Week in Review (5/21-5/27)

Results:

4-3 (25-23, 7.5 GB in NL West)

4-3 W @ MIL; 6-4 W @ MIL; 8-5 L @ MIL; 14-7 W @ MIA; 7-6 L @ MIA; 5-3 L @ MIA; 3-2 W @ MIA

Giants go on a seven game road trip, and a weird one at that (Milwaukee to Miami), right at the end of playing 20 games in 20 days and win a three game series and split a four gamer. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? And yet, there is something unsatisfying about this week. Maybe it was Lincecum giving the game away on Friday or the offense, which was potent most of the week, getting shut down by Mark Buerhle, but is sure felt like this should have/could have been a 5-2, or even a 6-1 trip. Which is kind of how the whole season feels: we’re doing ok, but it really seems like we should be doing better. More on that later this week…

Hitter of the Week:

There are actually a number of great performances to highlight: Posey hit two home runs and had 8 RBI, Pagan hit .348 and drove in 7, Arias hit .345 and smashed his first home run, and, of course, Melky did it all this week batting .452, hitting 2 home runs (plus 3 doubles and 2 triples), driving in 8 runs, stealing 3 bases, and scoring 12 times (with a nice little 1.371 OPS).

But, I am giving hitter of the week to Gregor Blanco for two reasons: one, I’ve talked about Melky enough, and two Gregor’s pretty darn good! It’s like Andres Torres all over again. He gets hits, walks a ton, steals bases, and sees a lot of pitches. That’s what you ask for from your leadoff hitter. He’s made the lineup deeper and stronger by allowing Pagan to hit down in the order. Can’t wait for Pablo to get back because this team might actually have a good offense when all the pieces are together!

Pitcher of the Week:

Matt Cain went 2-0 with a 3.29 ERA this week, and is generally pretty awesome, but check out the bullpen numbers for the week. Affeldt, Casilla, Romo, Edlefson, Loux, and Hensley combined to pitch 20 innings this week. They allowed 21 baserunners (a 1.05 WHIP) and had a collective 0.00 ERA! They struck out 22 batters and walked 9. The only blemish on the bullpen all week were the 4 runs Javier Lopez gave up in the blowout win against Miami (no harm, no foul). He came back strong yesterday, striking out Logan Morrison in a big spot. Hats off to the bullpen for their dominance!

Looking Ahead:

The Giants have three at home against Arizona (Arizona again!) and then, mercifully, have a day off before starting a four game home series against the Cubs. Hopefully they can hang in there against the snakes, and beat on the Cubs…still waiting for that 5-2/6-1 week of dominance.

(-SB)

Week in Review (5/30-5/6)

Results:

2-1 L vs. Mia; 3-2 L vs. Mia; 3-2 L vs. Mia; 6-4 L vs. Mil; 5-2 W vs. Mil; 4-3 W vs. Mil

2-4 (14-14, 4.0 GB in NL West)

By all accounts it was a horrible week for the Giants: Pablo Sandoval to the DL, a sweep at the hands of Marlins, 4 loses in a row, another bad Lincecum start, a bad Zito start, more injuries, slumps…I could go on. Somehow, in the middle of all that, the Giants are .500, 4 games out of first, in second place, and facing a 3 game series against the Dodgers with a chance to cut that lead down. It’s not all roses and puppies, but it could be worse.

That said, losing 3, 1-run, games in a row to the Marlins hurts. Really not good. Painfully reminiscent of last season. Let’s not do that again.

Hitter of the Week:

As if to mock us, Pablo Sandoval had the best average (.400) and only home run of the last week. So glad I just looked that up. Outside of that Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera had great weeks (collectively hitting .345). They both leave something to be desired (Pagan never walks), but so far the two big off-season moves (trades) are paying off. Melky, in particular, has impressed. (As I write this Jonathan Sanchez just gave up another run, 7 now, to the Red Sox).

Pitcher of the Week:

All Matt Cain did this week was pitch 15 innings, strike out 14 batters, give up 14 baserunners (0.93 WHIP), and 4 earned runs (2.40 ERA). What does he have to show for it? An 0-1 record. I am not an apologist for the statistic of wins. But it really ticks me off when east coasters scratch their heads and laugh at the Giants for giving Cain the largest contract in baseball history for a right-handed pitcher. The dude’s good. Don’t look at his record. His win/loss record might be the greatest example of sports injustice known to man.

Looking Ahead:

Huge series with the Dodgers, obviously. Despite my positive spin earlier, the Giants are not set up well in this series with their two best pitchers (Cain, MadBum) being the only two guys who won’t start in LA. Instead we get Zito, Vogelsong, Lincecum. And the Dodgers have their three best guys going (Lilly, Kershaw, Billingsley). Not excited about that. Here’s to hoping they can find a way to pull 2 out of 3 out of a hat. After that, back to Arizona for three more (didn’t we already go there?).

Get it together quick boys!

(-SB)

Week in Review (4/16-4/22)

Results:

3-2 (7-7, 4.0 GB in NL West)

5-2 L vs. Phi; 4-2 W vs. Phi; 1-0 W vs. Phi; 4-3 W @ NYM; 5-4 L @ NYM

Another fascinating week in Giants land. Madbum and Cain were awesome. Late game dramatics. Late game fall aparts. Questions about the bullpen and a near miss disaster at home plate involving Buster Posey. Aubrey played second base.

My early season opinion continues: this is a team that lacks an identity (especially on offense) and the story of the season will be determined by who steps up and helps create that identity.

In the meantime, there is a double-header today…which means we could be thinking a lot more highly of this team by the end of the day (or not). On to the awards:

Hitter of the Week:

Welcome to the season Buster Posey. He went 11 for 20 (.550) and even stole a base. However, only one of those hits was for extra bases. The Giants hit one home run last week (by Angel Pagan who also hit .320 for the week), and if they are going to sustain the offense they need to hit home runs. It starts with you Buster!

Pitcher of the Week:

Ummmmmmmm: Matt Cain. Done. Great baseball game, but Matt Cain has to wonder about his luck. I know wins don’t really matter statistically, but come on Giants!

Looking Ahead:

Lots to look forward to: two today. Then on to Cincinnati. Then home for the Padres. That’s an 8 game week. Could be a huge swing in the teams fortunes if they end April on a strong note (like a 6-2 run). Timmy will pitch twice this week, so we will see if he can make some adjustments. This week should also tell us a lot more about the bullpen situation. Plenty to look for over the next 7 days!

(-SB)