SF Giants All-Star Offensive Explosion: Grounds for Excitement, or Just a Tease?
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Fans of the San Francisco Giants were filled with pride watching Pablo Sandoval and Melky Cabrera pounding out hits and treating Kansas City’s Kaufman Stadium like their own personal playground in the All Star Game last Tuesday night.
But after the initial thrill subsided, fans also had to be wondering: Where was all of this clutch hitting during the first half of the season?
Situational hitting has been a major problem for the Giants this year.
At the break, the Giants are sitting second to last in all of MLB in average with runners in scoring position at .225, and they’re third-worst in the league in runners left on base. The Giants are next to last in MLB in extra base hits with 215, ahead of only the Dodgers.
It gets worse: The Giants are tied with the Dodgers for the fewest number of home runs in the majors with a paltry 51. Furthermore, the Giants are hitting home runs at a pace of one every 57.3 at-bats, which is dead last in all of MLB. To put this ineptitude in perspective, the three last-place teams in the National League, Philadelphia, Houston and Colorado, are hitting a homer every 36, 38 and 28.3 at-bats respectively. Ouch.
Given these dismal stats, it’s somewhat miraculous that the Giants are in second place at 46-40, one-half game back in the NL West.
Of course, it’s pitching that has kept the Giants in the thick of the NL playoff hunt, even with the bizarre and inexplicable struggles of ace Tim Lincecum. Madison Bumgarner has been solid, tossing his first career shutout and giving the Giants a chance to win almost every time out. Ryan Vogelsong continues to demonstrate that last year wasn’t a fluke.
Matt Cain? What else needs to be said after the best first half of his career, which included tossing the 22nd perfect game in league history? His brisk two scoreless innings in the All-Star Game reflected the dominance he’s been showing all season.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
No, pitching isn’t a problem this year.
Once again, Giants fans are left wondering where this team would be with just a little bit of clutch hitting—and a big bat in the middle of the lineup.
What’s surprising this year is that GM Brian Sabean went out and significantly improved the Giants offense by adding Cabrera and Angel Pagan. Cabrera is also having a career year, spraying hits around nearly every stadium he has played in and earning his own fan club at AT&T Park, The Melkmen, which even has its own Twitter feed.
The rest of the Giants lineup, however, will need to show more consistency.
Brandon Belt and Gregor Blanco have shown flashes, but their struggles and those of shortstop Brandon Crawford are not surprising, given their youth. If just one of these three steps up offensively in the second half, the rest of the National League could be reaching for the Tylenol.
At the All-Star Game, Cabrera, Sandoval and Cain gave Giants fans one of their biggest surges of excitement since the team’s magical 2010 playoff run. All three players look poised to continue building on their first half momentum.
But baseball is, of course, a team game, which means the Giants are going to need some big-time two-out hits from other players and more extra base hits in general—if they are going to be able to go deep in this year’s postseason.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?