Welcome to the 8th Czar’s blog of 2015 celebrating our World Champion San Francisco Giants!
Welcome to General Hospital – the injuries keep piling up
Let’s start today’s blog with the injury list: Affeldt (left Shoulder strain), Aoki (right fibula fracture), Pence (left wrist tendinitis), Hudson (right shoulder strain – an injury that was foreseen by the Oracle of Delphi in the last blog); Lincecum (right forearm contusion – ditto on the Oracle), Casilla (not on the DL but “tired arm”).
Looking at this group Aoki, Pence, Affeldt and Casilla are the big issues; we need a starting outfield and closers. The outfield is very thin. Blanco is having an excellent year but Maxwell is not cutting it (he is a decent defender and he can hit the occasional long ball, but he already has 73 K’s), and Pagan is showing his fragile side. The brain trust cut Ishikawa (he was picked up by the Pirates) because he wasn’t a very good left fielder, and called up a minor leaguer journeymen to shore up the outfield (I think that the new 28 year outfielder is named Crash Davis Lawless) and he has gone 0-4 so far.
The last home stand was 4 and 2 (very good) but on the current road trip the G-Men have lost five straight, and looked tired and out of sorts. Yesterday’s loss to the Nationals was exceptionally worrisome. Belt spaces out and gets caught off base, Pagan doesn’t pay attention to the play and gets tagged out for wandering off the bag. Bum gives up three runs in the first three batters including a big fly to Harper (tell me, why can’t I get on the Bryce Harper bandwagon? Maybe because he reminds me of the jock bully in that 1980’s teen flick – Mean Girls?), and the bullpen looks tired.
Right now it seems like the Giants are playing out the string in hopes of getting to the All-Star break in second place (currently 2 games over .500 at 42 and 40) 4 games behind the Dodgers and getting healthy for the stretch run. Getting Aoki and Pence back will be a major shot in the arm. The G-Men are a different team with those two in the line-up.
It’s hard to be too up or too down. Right now hanging in there is the goal.
As an aside, the All-Star team will be announced today and there is an excellent chance that Posey, Bumgarner, Crawford and Panik will be All-Stars. Keep in mind that the Giants still have the best road BA of any team in the NL, and even through he’s been a little bit cold, Duffy is still on track for rookie of the year. On that note is there anyone out there that thinks that Posey isn’t having a MVP year? The man is awesome: .304/57 RBI’s/44 runs/14 HR’s. He is carrying the offense.
Is pitching really the Giants strength or is Bochy doing it with mirrors?
As prognosticated, the G-Men have brought up Peavy (who actually looked really good) and Cain, and DL’ed Lincecum and Hudson. My issue with Bochy (and who am I to have an issue with Bochy?) is that he’s been leaving in starters for one batter too much. Just get six innings out the starters and turn it over to the bullpen. Kontos and Strickland have both been good, Sergio is Sergio with the unhittable slider. Casilla is a mess and Lopez is nails against lefthanders. But doesn’t it seem (other than the awful Casilla meltdown) that the bullpen ERA is rising steadily?
Right now it’s up to Cain and Peavy show that they have the stuff that they are being paid to have. Bum and Heston are good, and Vogelsong is like a terminator robot – focused and strong, until he isn’t. He would be the poster boy for a batter too many. He pitches today so let’s see what happens.
The Upcoming Series against the Mets and the Phillies, or limping into the All-Star break
These last six games before the break are really important to stay the course. The Mets (2nd in the NL East at 41 and 41), and the Phillies (last place at 28 and 56 and looking to have an historically bad year – they fired their manager) are not good road teams (Mets- 12 and 27, Phillies - 10-31) so the Giants have a shot at picking up ground on the Dodgers (who are playing the Brewers and the Phillies, and are losing in NY to the Mets right now).
The G-Men have their backs against the wall. They need to fight back and not be so streaky (lose 5, win 6, lose 4, win 5, and on and on). Show up at AT&T and lend your energy.
It’s time for baseball!
Ciao, and GO GIANTS!