With the first half of the season officially over and the Giants getting ready to battle for a playoff spot in the second half, I think it is a good idea to look over some of the highs, lows, and everything in between of the Giants' surprising 49-39 first half.
In addition, with season six of Entourage premiering last Sunday, I thought it would be a good idea to give these awards an Entourage-esque spin.
If you like Entourage, I hope you enjoy these awards.
If you don't like it, tough luck. These awards may frustrate you to no end with the references I make to the show.
If you have never seen Entourage, well...get off your butt and get HBO already, or go out and buy the seasons on DVD! You're missing one heck of a show!
Here are the awards...
Big things were expected out of Lewis, who was coming off a solid campaign in 2008. Last season he batted .281 with a .351 OBP and accumulated nine home runs, 40 RBI, and 21 stolen bases in 133 games as the starting left fielder.
This year has been excruciating, however—not only for him, but the fans watching him as well. Despite starting the year off well (he batted .299 with a .420 OBP in April in 67 at-bats), a "June Swoon" heavily contributed to him losing his everyday position to Nate Schierholtz, as he batted .167 with a .186 OBP and 11 strikeouts in the month of June.
For the season, Lewis is batting .250 with four home runs and 12 RBI. While he has continued to manage a decent on-base percentage (.332), his lackluster .387 slugging and high strikeout numbers (63 strikeouts in 212 at-bats) have made Lewis an expendable commodity on this Giants team.
The "Wow, did Martin Scorsese really just offer Vinnie Chase the lead part in a Great Gatsby film adaptation?" Surprise of the Year Award: Pablo Sandoval, 3B
There have been a lot of surprises in the first half for this Giants team. Matt Cain is 10-2 with a 2.38 ERA, which earned him a spot on the All-Star team. The Giants are 10 games over .500, a feat many experts thought to be unfathomable during season preview time in March.
However, in terms of exploding onto the stage, nothing has beaten the "Kung Fu Panda" Pablo Sandoval.
Sandoval has built on that amazing August stretch he had last season and has become the main bat in a Giants lineup that desperately needed a hitter to step up.
This year, Sandoval is batting .333 with a .385 OBP and has mashed 15 home runs and 55 RBI.
Yet it's not even Sandoval's stats that are the most intriguing aspects of his meteoric rise.
The "Panda" has become a fixture with Giants fans, as evidenced by the incredible "Vote for Pablo" campaign and the numerous "Kung Fu Panda" T-shirts, masks, and even mascots.
It's safe to say "Pandamonium" has taken the Bay Area by storm, and I don't think any Giants fans could have predicted that kind of commotion back in March, when the jury was still out on how Sandoval would fare in a full Major League season.
Sandoval has certainly answered his critics.
The "Johnny Drama, Getting a Part in Five Towns and doing a 'Victory!'" Historic Moment of the Year Award: Randy Johnson's 300th win.
Johnson may be the last one in a while to achieve this feat, especially in an age of heavy reliance on relievers and strict pitch counts.
However, those two factors, and the fact that he got his win against the Nationals, shouldn't put a damper on this great moment.
As Giants fans, we're no strangers to history-making (Barry Bonds certainly gave us plenty of moments). Yet considering the fact that there was no controversy surrounding this event, and that Johnson is actually raised around the Bay Area, this moment really felt kind of special.
It was a great sight to see Johnson and his son celebrating once the Giants shut the door on the Nationals in the ninth. Despite all the victories Johnson had garnered over the Giants as a Diamondback, his most memorable one may be as a Giant, and that really is something to behold as a fan of the black and orange.
Lastly, let's just say it was probably the most-watched day game on television in the history of the Washington Nationals (even if the crowd for the game was kind of pathetic).
The "Ari Gold, so ticked off that he will throw a rental computer monitor out the window in disgust while dropping unheard of expletives" Frustration of the Year Award: The Los Angeles Dodgers being the best team in baseball.
If you would have told me in the beginning of the year that the Giants at the All-Star break would be 10 games over .500, Sandoval would have 15 home runs and 55 RBI, Lincecum would be the All-Star game starter and a favorite to win the Cy Young for a second straight year, Matt Cain would have 10 wins, and Manny Ramirez would be suspended for 50 games, I would have responded accordingly:
"How many games are the Giants up in the division?"
Unfortunately, the Giants are seven games behind the rival Dodgers.
Look, I hate the Dodgers with every bone in my body. However, I can admit they have been the best team in baseball this first half.
Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp have been a deadly pair out in the outfield along with Manny. Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw are a combo that can rival Lincecum and Cain. Closer Jonathan Broxton has made our closer, Brian Wilson, look silly by comparison.
I'll give the Dodgers their credit when credit is due. They have been a better team than the Giants this first half of the season.
However, if the 2007 Mets, 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers, and Yogi Berra taught me anything, "It ain't over 'til it's over."
The "Turtle messing things up with Jamie Lynn Sigler, but making up for it, and now is having a great relationship with her" Redemption of the Year Award: Jonathan Sanchez's No-Hitter against the Padres
As far as tearjerkers are concerned, nothing beats the moment Sanchez accomplished on July 10.
This was a guy that many Giants fans thought was done in a Giants uniform. This was a player that was constantly thought of as expendable and would be packaged in a trade for certain by the July 31 deadline.
Some people, including myself, thought that the only place Sanchez had on this team was in the bullpen as a setup man or possibly as an occasional closer.
Boy, did Sanchez prove us all wrong.
He was absolutely masterful in his no-hitter, which in all honesty should have been a perfect game had it not been for a Juan Uribe error.
Furthermore, the fact that his team seemed to come through for him when it counted made this even more redeeming.
Aaron Rowand's catch said it all.
In some ways, his catch showed that the Giants hadn't given up on Sanchez, there was still a place for him on this team, and they weren't going to part with him in a trade just yet.
Sanchez's story on July 10 was incredible, and as a Giants fan, after what I experienced, I would absolutely hate to see Sanchez go.
The "Is Eric and Sloan going to get back together or have they moved on?" Question of the Year Award: Is GM Brian Sabean going to make a trade by the July 31 Deadline?
A month ago I was all on board for a trade.
The lineup was weak, the pitching was sweating out victories, and a spark was needed to get something going on the offensive end.
Now, I don't feel that way anymore.
While it is debatable whether or not Rowand should be in the leadoff spot, for the most part, this lineup has produced in the last month.
First baseman Travis Ishikawa has come into his own at the plate, showing surprising power.
Sandoval has been "The Man" in the three-hole during the first half.
Schierholtz has shown some pop with his bat that we weren't getting with Lewis starting in May and June.
Do we need hitting?
Sure, any team could use more hitting.
However, is there any guy out there on the market that is worth getting?
Jermaine Dye looks to be off the market with the White Sox suddenly competitive in the AL Central.
Nick Johnson has slowed down from a hot start and looks to be no better an option than Ishikawa at this point.
Freddy Sanchez would an interesting pickup.
However, with Uribe playing as well as he is at second base, is the Pirates second baseman really worth acquiring if we have to give up a guy like Sanchez or one of our prized minor league arms such as Madison Bumgarner?
There's no doubt about it—Sabean likes to make trades. Every year, he seems to make a deal at the deadline, sometimes simply for the heck of it, even if the team is not in the race in any shape or form.
However, with the team playing as well as it is, the best solution for Sabean and the Giants come deadline would be to do nothing at all.
Let's see if Sabean can resist from his usual July 31 impulses.
This is the last year of his contract, remember. Hopefully he understands that.
So those are the awards. Best of luck to "The Freak" as he starts the All-Star game tonight, and let's hope this Giants team can build upon the great start they had in the first half of the season.