The Positives: The Giants are playing good solid ball. August has been a very good month (unlike last August) and it seems like every day brings someone else contributing a solid play, a key hit or (from the pitchers) getting a key out. The team is displaying good balance and Bruce Bochy is managing every game like it’s the playoffs. Of course being 4 and half games in front of the Dodgers and 8 and half games in front of the Snakes is pretty nice also. The heart of the team is Buster Posey, who has to be the MVP this year. Hunter Pence hasn’t been hitting like he should but he is nonetheless an energetic player who plays good defense (we don’t miss Nate’s arm in right field). The Panda is still in a slump but is hitting just enough. Angel Pagan has been hotter than a pistol (as I’m writing this he just hit a triple in the game against the Cubs and then scored). Marco Scutero has been hitting over .350 since he came over from the Rockies, Joaquin Arias is hitting home runs like he’s a clean-up hitter and Brandon Belt is starting to look like the hitter they always thought he could be (4 for 4 against the Astros day before yesterday). On defense Crawford is just awesome, the “flip” play between him and the Panda in the Astros series has to be one of the top defensive plays of the year. On the pitching side of things Cain, Vogelsong and Bumgarner are the heart of the rotation. Zito and Lincecum have been inconsistent but just good enough to get the game to the bullpen, which has been staunch. Romo is the heart of the bullpen but everyone seems to be contributing.
The Questions: The G-Men brought up Xaiver Nady from Fresno today. Nady was waived by the Snakes but he’s a Cal guy (GO BEARS!) and has always been a tough out. Is he the answer to the loss of Melky in left field? Maybe. There is also talk of converting Arias (whose bat is hot) to left. I like the idea of Scutero playing left myself, which would get Theriot back into the lineup. I suspect that we will see a lot of interesting line up experiments over the next two weeks.
The Negatives: The closer situation is the biggest negative. There is still no clear closer. Casilla’s blister seems to have gone away so he is pitching well again but he doesn’t seem to have the stomach for the job. This will be a problem when we get to the playoff’s unless someone else steps up. The rosters expanded today so we will see today if there is another reliever who steps up (Penny is also back off the DL and Huff has returned as a pinch hitter off the bench).
The Division: It’s between the G-Men and the Dodgers. This is what it is all about. this is September baseball at its best. Nice tidbit: if the Giants go just 16-15 to the finish, Dodgers would have to go 20-10 from today just to tie. Makes you feel good, doesn’t it?