San Francisco Giants Are Contenders in Weak NL West

D WizzleSenior Analyst IJune 10, 2008

I have been the  biggest critic of the 2008 Giants. Most of my articles have been negative towards the team, and rightfully so.

They got rid of my favorite player, Barry Bonds, and the management pretends he never existed or played for the team. They didn't sign Japanese stars Kosuke Fukudome or Hiroki Kuroda. I even hate the "gamer" commercials.

I called for this team to lose over 100 games this year. Expectations for this team were very low coming into the season.

This team is now 29-35 and won't lose 100 games. In fact, they are contenders in their division.

After sweeping the lowly Nationals last night, they are now only five games back of first-place Arizona. No team in the NL West seems to be able to ever take control of the division. The division race is tight every year, and it comes down to the final days of the season.

The Padres, who were left for dead a few weeks ago, are now only 6.5 games back of first place.

The Padres and Dodgers start a series today, while the struggling Diamondbacks have to face the Mets in New York.

The Giants face the Rockies in Colorado, and they have a very good chance to gain more ground in the division.

Although the Giants are not the most talented team, they play very hard and never quit. Their youth has contributed to their never-give-up attitude. Players such as John Bowker, Fred Lewis, and Travis Denker all have had key hits in the last two weeks.

Their bullpen has been a strength, and Keiichi Yabu has been a revelation. His ERA is now at 2.00 after getting a key double play in the seventh inning last night to preserve the win. The one weakness in the bullpen is Tyler Walker. Bruce Bochy insists on having Walker has the set-up man in the eight inning. Walker does not instill any confidence among Giants fans, as he is prone to giving up key hits and runs at the wrong time.

Jonathan Sanchez has matured of late and is a good middle-of-the rotation starter for this team. Tim Lincecum is going to the All-Star game and Matt Cain is better than his 3-4 record. Even Barry Zito has pitched better in his last three outings.

The offense comes and goes, which can be expected of a team without a power hitter or a legitimate offensive star. The youngsters are still learning, and the veterans sometimes just don't have it on certain days.

I would love to see this team contend throughout the summer. It would definitely make things interesting out here in the Bay area.

The Giants have proven that they are not as bad as most people thought they would be. They are not going to lose 100 games, as teams who lose that many games do not go on extended winning streaks. They are still under .500, but no team is going to run away with the division in the NL West.