The San Francisco Giants were never expected to tear the cover off the ball coming into the 2009 season. There were reasons to be optimistic, but they were never expected to be a team that would improve a little bit.
Well, that hasn't really happened.
The Giants are currently the lowest-scoring team in Major League Baseball by a pretty good amount. Even a trip to Coors Field saw the Giants struggle to score runs on two of three occasions.
Big Money has been money
It's not exactly a good thing when you say Bengie Molina is your cleanup hitter, especially when you consider the man who previous inhabited that place. But when he is one of the top five National League run producers, you seem to forget about all of the other shortcomings in the Giants lineup.
To go along with his 27 RBI, Molina has also hit seven home runs with a .291 average and is showing that his 2008 career year was no fluke. His success at the plate is vital to the Giants winning. In those games, he had six home runs, 23 RBI and a .418 average.
What are his numbers in the Giants' 14 losses? A .164 average, one homer, and four RBI.
The outfield full of head scratching
A quick comparison for you:
Molina: .291, seven home runs, 27 RBI
Fred Lewis, Aaron Rowand, Randy Winn combined: .253, four home runs, 26 RBI
I think it's safe to say the production the Giants have, or haven't gotten, from their outfield his been one of the biggest disappointments of the season thus far.
You have to think Winn will come around just because of his track record. He's the Giants' version of Mr. Consistency and could very well be hitting close to .300 in just a matter of weeks.
Rowand, after getting off to the best start on the team the first week of the season, has been in a tailspin ever since.
The reason for his sudden struggles? He's recorded all of four hits in 28 May at-bats. He's driven only three runs since the start of the month. April showers haven't brought May flowers for the Giants' center fielder.
Lewis has to be the most frustrating to watch out there simply because he's probably the best pure talent the Giants have as far as position players go. He has struck out an incredible 36 times in 100 at-bats and while he has an on-base percentage just below .400, he looks completely lost at the plate a good portion of the time.
His last home run came Aug. 14. That's insane to even think about.
The trials and tribulations that is the right side of the infield
Two of the biggest questions coming out of the spring was whether Emmanuel Burriss and Travis Ishikawa could keep their positive momentum at the plate going.
Up until a little more than a week ago, you would have thought both of them had never played a game in the majors. Both could barely get their average above .200 and people were questioning whether they could really hang.
Well, at least one of them has changed that opinion.
The 24-year-old Burriss is one of the hottest players at the plate in all of baseball. He has raised his average from .176 on May 1 to its current mark of .287. Over that span he has recorded seven multi-hit games
Despite hitting in the eighth spot, he has also brought something to the Giants lineup that hasn't been seen in quite some time: the stolen base. He is just one of the National League pace set by Jose Reyes with nine stolen bases, and when you consider how much he struggled the first month of the season before his hot streak, it's hard to believe he is up so high in the rankings.
The same can't be said about Ishikawa.
I had my doubts about the Giants naming him the starting first baseman despite his fantastic spring. He is the only Giants regular hitting below .200 and is in serious jeopardy of losing his job or even being sent down to Triple-A Fresno.
Don't forget about the left side of the infield
He started out slow, got incredibly hot, and is now struggling again. Is this what we're going to see the whole year from Pablo Sandoval?
While he's vastly improved his defense at the hot corner, we're concentrating on hitting and what we've seen from Sandoval is a lot to like, but his streaky ways is something that can either carry the team or quite possibly hurt them.
He will never tally a lot of walks, but his pitch selection has improved. He will always have his "Sandovalian" times at the plate as San Jose Mercury News Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly likes to say and it seems as though that's just what people are going to have to get used to seeing.
Edgar Renteria has done better after an even slower start than his counterparts on the right side of the infield. He responded a little faster than the youngsters but his average is still at .260, something that will never blow anybody's mind.
Much like Molina, when he hits, the Giants win. Coincidence that the No. 2 and No. 4 hitters help the Giants win? Not really.
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