19 games left in the regular season and the playoffs start today
The G-Men are 3.5 games back of the Dodger’s and in the lead for the first wild card in the play-off’s.. These are the times that try fans souls. The remaining games are all against division rivals who would like nothing better than to knock the Giants out of the playoffs. For some reason 2004 stays fresh in the mind when Steve Finley’s ninth inning grand salami at Chavez Ravine (following a Cody Ransom – may he be damned forever – error that loaded the bases) knocked the G-Men out of the playoffs. I was at that game and that moment is seared in my mind forever - - the lesson is: take nothing for granted.
The Giants are playing very well right now. They are the hottest hitting team on MLB since the All-Star break (replicating April and May) and have fought their way back from an historic June and July meltdown. To say that this has been a roller coaster season is an understatement. This is simply the most exciting time of the year.
Who is hot and who is not
In a word – Buster Posey. Buster is carrying this team on his back. He is batting over .300 (.493 in his last 16 games), has 20 dingers and is striking fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers and managers. This is not to overlook Hunter Pence, who is right behind Posey at .295 with 19 HR’s (number one in the NL in hits and tied in runs scored). Both of them are in the mix for NL MVP this year. Pence just had a 19 game hit streak and has played every inning of every game. The man is a monster.
Second base is now settled with Joe Panik. What a smooth kid! He’s hitting .309 with glove work from a how to play second base training video. Some people say that he’s the new Marco Scutaro. I say that he’s unique, is a breath of fresh air and will only get better. Pablo at third is doing his best to have a career year (he may not be back if he wants 100 Mil) but, even though he needs to hit with more power, is consistently getting big hits. Blanco is having a great August and September. Pagan is back and hitting over .300 (but still looks fragile) and Andrew Susac is playing out of his mind (I’m thinking that next year is we lose Panda maybe Susac goes behind the plate and Posey goes to third – just saying). If we later look back at anything it will be the August call up of Panik and Susac that will be identified as the moment the team turned the corner.
All in all a very positive time for the position players.- except for Morse (oblique strain and bating .211) and Belt (due to come back sometime in the next week from concussion DL – is it too late to have an impact this year? Hard to tell – he could be a factor in the playoffs for sure).
The pitchers are relatively solid – Bum is money, Vogelsong is driven, Hudson is the consummate pro (although it looks like he is getting worn out), Peavy is awesome (that Detroit rain out where he came back after a 2 and half hour rain delay was a lesson to all of us), Petit (filling in admirably for 6 inning stints) and even Lincecum (who seems to have found his groove in the bullpen). However the bullpen seems to be shaky. Casilla and Romo both are giving up bit hits and Affeldt and Lopez both got burned (big time) on this last road trip. However I love the new call-ups (Strickland and Cordier) that throw 100 mph and may be our closers of the future.
The upcoming series
It’s the snakes and the Dodgers this week. We have tickets available for the snakes series but the Dodgers are long gone. The snakes (who just fired their GM) want to be spoilers. The Dodgers have the best record in baseball and Mattingly has once again reset his rotation to make sure that his three best pitchers (Ryu, Grienke and Kershaw) face the Giants this weekend. I say bring it on! The LA thugs will melt down in the glare of pure baseball from the Orange and Black.
It’s playoff time!
Ciao, and GO GIANTS!