Welcome to the 9th Czar’s blog of 2015 celebrating our World Champion San Francisco Giants!
It’s the post- All-Star game stretch run and the G-Men are looking awfully good
Last blog we talked about how streaky the G-Men have been. Well, the streakiness continues. At least the streak is now a winning streak (last 8 out of 10) and 5 out of 6 against the NL West (Snakes and the Padres) - - for a change.
The team is slowly getting healthy and the farm system is producing (it was notable that when Susac went down with a sprained finger Hector Sanchez came up and didn’t miss a beat – that grand slam against the Padres was a thing of beauty). Pence is back with a vengeance (he always looks like he is going to tear the ball apart with his bare hands), Posey is playing MVP caliber baseball (you think? – Buster is awesome!) and Aoki is coming off the DL tonight. The one Giant who looks like he needs a rest though is Pagan. I suspect that Bochy will start platooning Pagan more with Blanco to get some rest and save Pagan’s knees.
Matt Cain is back, and Jake Peavy is back. Both are looking good (but not great). Peavy is much more solid than expected based on the early part of the year, and Cain seems to be pitching himself back into shape. However it is the hitting and the defense that are inspiring. Panik, Duffy and Crawford seem to be competing to see who can get more hits, with Crawford opting for dingers and Panik and Duffy keeping the line moving.
Does anyone not enjoy the Panik to Crawford DP’s? This group could even pull off a triple play – they are that good.
This is all why the Giants are suddenly the best offensive team (station to station versus pure HR power) in the NL. This is a fun group to watch when they get their big inning, usually when they get into the opposing team bullpen.
Given that Aoki was the most productive Giants hitter before he fractured his leg getting him back in the line-up is like making a trade for someone who plays like Ichiro Suzuki – all out and smart. I can’t wait to see the games tonight and tomorrow
The bullpen is suddenly performing on all cylinders. Affeldt is back tonight, Casilla has been closing well, Romo has been tight and Strickland looks like he has his temper under control along with his fastball at 98 to 100 mph.
The guys are fun to watch again! That is, as long as they can do this at home. They seem to play better on the road than at home – something that doesn’t make the fans very happy.
Who goes down, and who (if anyone) gets traded – should the G-Men stand pat?
This is the major question of the day. I’m sure that Adrianza goes down when Aoki comes up, and Osich was optioned to Sacramento when Affleldt was activated today. Jean Machi was released when Peavy and Cain came back and we now have three number three (Cain?) and number four (Peavy and Hudson?) starters. Bum is clearly a number one and Heston is making a bid to be a number two. Hudson might be the odd man out. Is suspect that he is going to have another muscle strain. J
Timmy will stay on the DL for the foreseeable future with (rumor has it) degenerative hip issues related to his pitching style. Tim is a free agent next year and the Giants owe him a lot of consideration – he will be given time to heal.
Rumor has it that the G-men are in the market for another outfielder off the bench. That does not bode well for Maxwell, a decent defender and occasional power bat, but not a consistent hitter.
Other deals? If there is a pitcher available the Giants would be hard-pressed to figure out who to waive or option to do the deal. Keep your eyes glued to the waiver wire as the end of the month trade deadline approaches. Lots of movement in the NL but I really don’t expect the Giants to be players unless they can get someone like Chapman from the Reds for a package like Heston and Peavy (a deal that might make sense).
Stay tuned for the trade news this weekend and next week.
The Upcoming Series against the A’s and Brewer’s – if the G-men are for real they step up now
While the A’s are in last place in the AL West (and are trading off their good players), they always play the Giants hard at AT&T (you think it’s a regional rivalry thing?). We do want Ben Zobriest, but then again so does everyone else. Let’s see if he plays during this series. But the fact is that Billy Bean would sooner get a root canal without medication than trade with Brian Sabean. Not sure why but that is the way it is.
Look for fireworks at AT&T over the weekend. The G-Men are three games behind the Dodgers (who are currently playing the Mets in NY, after which they come home and lay the A‘s) and could start closing fast. It’s that time of year. Think about the A’s getting the Giants and the Dodgers back to back. The A’s could be a factor in the NL West.
The Brew Crew come into AT&T on Monday. Always one of the most fun teams to see but currently in last place in the very tough NL Central. The guys to watch are Braun (because he’s always good) and Parra, who is rumored to be on the trading block and could be one of the Giants targets. The problem is that Parra doesn’t want to be a bench guy but would rather be a starter so I suspect he would veto any deal.
It’s only too bad we don’t have sausage races at AT&T. That would be perfect!
It’s time for baseball!
Ciao, and GO GIANTS!