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)

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Win Ugly!

A fact that gets lost in all the worthy reveling over the Giants World Series Championship is that this present team has not actually spent a lot of time together. Consider each position:

  • 1B Huff: February 2010
  • 2B Sanchez: July 2009
  • SS Tejada/Fontenot: January 2011/August 2010 (respectively)
  • 3B Sandoval: June 2008
  • LF Burrell: May/June 2010
  • CF Torres: January 2009 (didn’t become a regular until May 2010)
  • RF Ross: August/September 2010
  • C Posey: June 2010 (when he came up for good)
A couple of other factors to consider: Ross didn’t really become a regular until the end of the season/post-season last year. Fontenot was a bit player last year, much more integral this year. Sandoval, he of the great 2009, has had little time to be a part of this team due to injuries/ineffectiveness. Sanchez was hurt at the beginning of 2010 and it wasn’t really until mid 2010 that he established himself in the lineup.
     Several pitchers have been around for a while, but Bumgarner is “new” and any bullpen is always changing, but Javier Lopez, Ramon Ramirez are also newer additions.
     All of this to say: even though this team is the defending World Champions, it is not a team that has been together for a long time, and therefore in a strange way, the book is still open on just what kind of team it is.
     I still feel like there is a lot of room to grow, especially for the offense (Sandoval’s return will be super important to that). A roster/team is always a moving target and in some kind of flux, but I think it is safe to make a couple of conclusions:
  1. This roster, as currently constructed, can win. It won the World Series last year and is hanging on to first place right now after SWEEPING THE DODGERS.
  2. This roster wins ugly. In popular parlance, torture! But, I think we have seen enough to assume that the way it is going to go with this team, is ugly wins. Two of my favorite Giants teams of yore are 1993 and 2003. Those teams won cleanly and efficiently. The mid-2010 to 2011 Giants are NOT those teams.
So, Giants fans, strap in and hang on, it’s not going to be pretty but it will produce victories.
(-SB)