Friday, July 12, 2013

Your 2013 Giants: Not the Time to Give Up

I totally disagree with the idea that it is time to give up on the Giants season. The Giants are only 6.5 games out. They were similarly out in August in 2010, if I remember right, and we still got the rest of July and parts of August to reach that point.

The Giants have been decimated by injuries to their offense, and then the pressure of trying to make up for the losses in the lineup. For the past two months, we had been either missing or getting poor performances from three of our top five hitters, Pagan, Scutaro, Sandoval.

Blanco has been OK batting leadoff, but Sandoval has still been rehabbing from his DL, like he did in 2011 and 2012, it takes him 2-4 weeks to get his first homer after returning, then he turns up the power. He just hit a homer last night, so that could be the sign of a hot streak for him. That would help the offense greatly, Pence was carrying the offense for a while, before the pressure got to him too.   Crawford has started hitting too, after playing with his finger injury from sliding into secondbase. 

The pitching might not be as good as seasons' past but still good. Cain hasn't been the same since his Perfect Game and I'm not sure if he'll ever reach his prior standards, but he's still been good, just not in his last two games. Extended rest - and lowered pitch counts -  should help him. Lincecum has been pitching better in his last four starts, just giving up a few too many key hits. He cleared his mind last season during ASB, leading the rotation in ERA for most of the second half before his stamina left him in his last starts. I expect him to be better too with rest, but more for his mind. Gaudin has been very good so far, been a find like Vogelsong was. And Zito is Zito, he was up to start the season, been down recently, I expect him to be up again soon as well.  And Vogie sounds like he's coming back early and does not feel any difference in his pitching, which is good.

The relievers haven't been the same since Casilla went on the DL. And no wonder, most teams losing their key right-handed set-up man will suffer, as there is not always that backup who could take his place. I was hoping Kontos could rise to the occasion, but so far nobody has, even Affeldt has been off. I wonder if he's still using that brace that was helping him last season - if not, maybe he should think about it.  But Casilla is getting close to returning, and that should return the bullpen to its normal configuration in the second half.

People note how bad they have been since mid-May but neglected to note that at that point, they were 8 games over .500 after only 6 weeks of play. Once we get some key pieces back onto the roster and performing as expected, we can return to some semblance of that team.

It is easy to rip into a team when things are not going well, but it was injuries that tipped this team into this morass, then over trying to make up for the losses of personnel and performance. Key people are returning and that should help a lot, as well as getting all those home games to start the second half.

Also, I would rather not trade Lincecum or Pence, two names popping up a lot as trade targets given how the Giants might be in a selling mode with the losing.

I still hope the Giants keep Lincecum, he's actually been pretty good overall, just giving up the wrong pitch at the wrong time. He fixed it last year, and I think he can fix it during the ASB this year. And I think he can be a super-reliever for us at some point in the future, capable of pitching a long game one night then returning the next night to shut down a rally as a set-up man, with little warmup, plus close when the closer had too many games or if the closer is not doing well, and reliever the closer, but if we trade him, he'll probably do that for another team.  I want him doing it for us.

And given how up and down Sandoval has been, I hope the Giants resign Pence as well, given that he sounds like he wants to stay here, that would give our offense more stability, I think.  I think Belt and Crawford will be improved as well, so that helps, but I think the money is there for Pence and Pence has been a pretty good player overall for his career and for us, he was carrying the team for the first couple of months before his downturn.  He gives us more in the lineup, I think, though with the possibility that Belt might be our starting LF at some point in the future, and maybe Brown or Peguero might push Pagan to RF in the next year or two, the Giants might be leaning towards not retaining Pence to keep space open for top prospects.

If there is anyone I would think about trading, it would be Lopez.  Not that he hasn't been good or that he's done anything wrong, just more that we have a lot of lefty relievers now, and trading him would clear $5M off the payroll, while giving Mijares a chance to take over an important role.  Affeldt and Mijares would be a good pair of lefties, we have gone with two lefties before. 

Now is not the time to give up yet on the Giants. That time may be close, perhaps as close as the start of August, but not yet.  Plenty of season to see before we can officially give up, I believe.

1 comment:

  1. I believe.

    Big Time Timmy Jim just lit the candle.

    I bet there will be some sideways trades, maybe shuffling a lefty, but first the Greybeards will have to see what Tanaka and the Frenchman do.

    Big test right after the all-star break. D-backs, Reds X4 now, and the Cubs. They will have to make hay. Or get haymakered.

    What a night for Tim though! He looked amazing, old school, mixing his pitches and getting chases on balls that looked like strikes. Awesome.

    Baby steps...

    ReplyDelete

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