Welcome to the 6th Czar’s blog of 2015 celebrating our World Champion San Francisco Giants!
It’s June and so far, so good?
We are now a week into June and the Giants are 4 and 4, after getting swept by the Pirates at home to start off the month (they did not look good in that series, in fact they looked pretty bad, making errors and bonehead plays and failing to hold leads), and then taking two out of three from the Phillies and two out of three (so far, if they win tomorrow it will be a sweep in NY) from the Mets. At worst that is a 4 and 2 road trip (and maybe 5 and 1) which is a great start to the road trips this month; anything a team can split on the road it is doing well.
However the rest of June (after the Mariners leave next week) is a steady diet of the NL west - the Dodgers in LA and the Rockies and the Padres at home.
The Giants team we are seeing at the moment is a hitting machine on the road; especially against mediocre opposition (which defines the Phillies and the current version of the Mets) in hitter friendly ballparks. Aoki and Panik are battling for the team lead in BA (both well over .300), home runs are coming in bunches on the road from Crawford, Belt, Panik, Duffy and Maxwell - - and Buster Posey is just nails all the time in all aspects of the game (someday you will tell your Grandchildren that you saw Buster play). Buster leads the All-Star voting for a damn good reason – he’s the best player in baseball, wunderkinds Mike Trout and Bryce Harper notwithstanding. The team leads the NL with scoring (and BA) on the road and the scoring reflects the RBI’s being put up by Posey, Crawford and Belt, the new power hitters and the G-Men version of Murderer’s row.
However, the inconsistency between the road games and the home games (in the last series anyway) is troubling. The Giants thrive on the basics, hitting for average and station to station, keeping the line moving, piling up just enough runs to win close games and playing solid defense behind very capable starting pitchers and lights out relievers (except Casilla, sometimes – he did cough it up against the Pirates). So, when small errors pop up it seems like the team falls apart (yes, the Ferrari metaphor again). Sometimes the G-Men seem so finely tuned that they actually look fragile. That worries me, and leads to the question of who has owies.
Are the injuries piling up and what is Bochy going to do for the All-Star game?
Blanco is on the DL with a concussion from a thrown ball in practice (shades of Belt last year). Isn’t it possible for professionals to watch out for balls being thrown in their directions? That field has been awfully dangerous. Gregor has been playing very well so that is a loss and with Pence likely to go on the 15 day DL with a bad wrist (retroactive to last week I expect) the load will fall on Maxwell and whatever outfielder is available from the River Cats. Like I said, fragile.
On the All-Star side of things no one can say that Heston didn’t look like an All-Star pitching a no-no as a rookie last night. Thankfully I recorded the game because it competed with the Warriors being taken down by LeBron James and the Cleveland wrecking crew. I wonder how many of us had a similar experience? It was almost surrealistic and it will be repeated tomorrow afternoon when Game 4 of the NBA Finals is up against the last game of the road trip (Timmy is pitching).
In terms of call-up’s McGehee is back up from Sacramento after hitting something like .372 there and is now a bat off the bench and an occasional starter. However what has transpired with him and Duffy is incredibly inspiring. Duffy earned the starting job, no question there, but the class and respect with which Duffy treated McGehee, who is now mentoring Duffy, is an example of all that is the best in sports, and in life.
Maybe Duffy isn’t ready for the All-Star game yet but he’s already there in my book.
A word about pitching. Strickland is up and is looking awesome. If Casilla screws up at all the innings responsibility is going to shift I expect. The rest of the bullpen staff is so dependable that we are shocked when someone (you listening to me Affeldt?) gives up runs.
Soon there will some real controversy with the starters. Heston came up for Cain. Well, Cain is now doing re-hab starts. Do you send Heston down? Who do you demote? And Peavy is finally putting together some good innings in his re-hab starts. Who goes down or to the bull-pen then? I suspect that the Cain and Peavy situation will keep them on the DL for at least another month regardless of how healthy they really are.
That’s what we have to look forward to in June!
The Upcoming Series against the Snakes and the Mariners
Arizona, even though it’s last in the NL West, 6.5 games back of the Giants, wants nothing more than to do to the G-men what the Pirates did to the Giants in the last series. The Snakes have three big hitters in Goldschmidt (.338 BA), Inciarte (.294) and Pollock (.320) but their pitchers (they of the high ERA’s) love pitching in AT&T. This is not the time for the G-Men to lighten up one bit
Seattle, even though with about the same record as Arizona (and 4th in the AL West) has an incredible combination of hitters (Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano especially) and a stable of starting pitchers with ERA’s under 2. Do not overlook the Mariners. They will be trouble. I’m just glad that Ichiro has gone to the Yankees or the game would really be a zoo with Japanese reporters all over the place because of the “will Aoki go to the All-Star game as a Bochy pick” controversy.
More about that in the next blog post when the All-Star rosters start becoming clear.
It’s time for baseball!
Ciao, and GO GIANTS!