Hottest and Coldest San Francisco Giants Players Heading into the Second Half
The Giants will play their next 10 games at AT&T Park. It is incumbent upon them to play winning baseball if they hope to get back into the race. With the trade deadline only a couple of weeks away, these next 10 games could be the determining factor in the moves the Giants make.
If the Giants can get on a roll and cut into the Diamondbacks' division lead, GM Brian Sabean might look to add some key pieces to the roster.
However, if the Giants flounder and lose more ground, Sabean may go into a rebuilding mode, which could mean the departure of some key players who will be free agents following this season. These include Tim Lincecum, Javier Lopez and Hunter Pence.
Just prior to the break, several Giants had started to perform better, while a few others struggled. Let's take a closer look at who's hot and who's not, coming out of the break.
Stats are courtesy of CBSSports.com.
Hot No. 5: Brandon Crawford
After going through a bit of a slump in the earlier part of the month, Brandon Crawford has hit the ball very well in his last few at-bats.
In his last six games, Crawford is 11-26, good for a .423 batting average. Crawford has four multi-hit games over this span.
Given the inconsistency of Brandon Belt and streaky nature of Hunter Pence, if Crawford can stay hot and drive in runs, that would be a huge plus for the Giants.
Cold No. 4: Jake Dunning
Jake Dunning did not expect to be in the major leagues this year. He was toiling away in Fresno, the Giants' Triple-A affiliate.
Injuries and ineffectiveness of the Giants' bullpen triggered the call for Dunning.
Overall, Dunning has done a very credible job in this, his first season in the majors.
However, in his last three outings, Dunning has thrown a total of three innings, allowing five hits and two walks. Over these appearances, Dunning has also allowed four earned runs.
Dunning was selected by the Giants in the 33rd round of the 2009 MLB amateur draft. The fact he's in the majors at all is a testament to his hard work and dedication.
Hot No. 4: Marco Scutaro
Marco Scutaro made the All-Star Game for the first time in his career. What made this feat even more impressive is that Scutaro is 37 years of age.
After coming to the Giants at the trade deadline in 2012, Scutaro helped lead the Giants to a world championship. Although he has not been as spectacular as he was last season, Scutaro is still putting together a very nice season.
Scutaro is currently hitting .316, but has done even better in his past seven games. Over this period, Scutaro is 11-for-30, for a batting average of .367. He has four multi-hit games over those past seven.
Cold No. 3: Andres Torres
At the beginning of the season, Giants manager Bruce Bochy planned to use Andres Torres in a platoon with Gregor Blanco in left field.
Unfortunately, the injury to Angel Pagan has necessitated that both Torres and Blanco play a lot more than was originally intended. This hinders the Giants offense, as neither player has much power or RBI punch.
In Torres' last eight games, he has only two hits in 19 at-bats, an average of .105.
Torres is a fan favorite because of his humble and positive attitude, along with his hustle. However, he is proving that he is not an everyday player and is ideally a fourth or fifth outfielder.
Hot No. 3: Madison Bumgarner
Madison Bumgarner has been the leader of the Giants' starting rotation this year. He has compiled a record of 10-5, with an ERA of 3.02 and WHIP of 0.9520.
Bumgarner was named to his first All-Star Game and at the young age of 23, there could be several more All-Star Games in his future.
Bumgarner has been a model of consistency for the Giants. In his last six starts, Bumgarner has gone seven innings every time and had quality starts in each outing.
In those 42 innings of work, Bumgarner has allowed only 21 hits and nine walks, while striking out 43. Bumgarner is rapidly developing into an ace pitcher.
Cold No. 2: Barry Zito
Barry Zito's season has had more ups and downs than a roller coaster. He is pitching decently at home, but has been woeful on the road.
In 11 home starts, Zito has an ERA of 2.45 and WHIP of 1.28. On the road, it is a completely different story. Away from AT&T Park, Zito has an ERA of 9.89 and WHIP of 2.44.
Zito's last four starts have been extremely poor. One of these was even at AT&T Park. In these four starts, Zito has thrown only 17.1 innings, allowed 28 hits and nine walks. He has allowed 14 runs over that stretch.
The Giants will owe Zito a $7 million buyout following this season. They will undoubtedly pay that, as the alternative would cost them over $20 million.
There has been speculation that the Giants could offer Zito a one- or two-year deal for a lot less money. A major part of that will depend on how Zito finishes out the 2013 season.
Hot No. 2: Buster Posey
Buster Posey has been the most consistent offensive threat on the Giants this season. He entered the All-Star break on a positive roll and the Giants need him to stay hot.
In his last seven games, Posey has 14 hits in 29 at-bats, a .483 clip. He has also driven in eight runs over that span.
Posey has done a fine job handling the pitching staff, as well. If the Giants are to get back in the race for the NL West crown, Posey will be right at the front, leading the charge.
Cold No. 1: Matt Cain
Perhaps the most unexpected surprise of the 2013 season for the Giants are the struggles of Matt Cain. He has always been a steady, consistent pitcher who would go deep into games and give his team a good chance to win.
Cain, whose nickname is "The Horse," has had several games where he has given up the big inning. His ERA is the worst among the Giants' starters at 5.06. Cain's WHIP is a decent 1.179; however, the home run has largely plagued Cain.
This past season, Cain threw a total of 249.1 innings, which was a career high. He has thrown at least 200 innings in each of the last seven seasons.
Cain is suffering from some bone chips or floating particles in his elbow. Therefore, one has to wonder if all of this work is finally catching up to him.
His troubles have been amplified in his last two starts. Against the Dodgers, he lasted only 2.1 innings, allowing six hits, four walks and eight earned runs.
Cain's last start was even more troubling as he could not get out of the first inning. Cain got two outs, but allowed two hits, three walks and three earned runs.
If the Giants are to make a run at the division, Cain needs to stay healthy and pitch well.
Hot No. 1: Tim Lincecum
No Giant can be hotter than Tim Lincecum, as he threw a no-hitter in his last outing. Lincecum was dominant, as he beat the Padres 9-0. He threw a career-high of 148 pitches to earn the victory.
In addition to his most recent start, Lincecum has been pitching better of late. In his last six starts, he has recorded four quality starts.
Lincecum has shown that he can still be effective at the major league level. In 116.1 innings of work, he has struck out 125 hitters.
He will be a free agent at the end of the season. The Giants are facing a very tough decision, as Lincecum will likely want a large multi-year deal.
If, in the next couple weeks, the Giants fall further behind in the NL West, it is quite possible that they will trade Lincecum.
Giants fans should enjoy watching Lincecum in the orange and black. It's quite possible that Lincecum's tenure in a Giants uniform is coming to an end.