**First of all, this is the first time I' ve had the chance to write an article in a while. An electrical fire took out the internet to my building for the past week. But the show must go on.**
In the last couple weeks, the Giants have seen an addition to the way they play baseball.
No, it wasn't Buster Posey, although he's been great since he got here. It wasn't Pat Burrell either, even if he has contributed to the party a little bit.
The new addition to San Francisco is none other than the glorious, awe-inspiring, and ever-elusive home run.
That's right. The tater. The four-bagger. The round-tripper.
And to an offense that ranked at the bottom of the home run rankings over the past couple years, that's almost revolutionary. In a 16-team league over the past three years without Barry Bonds, the Giants have ranked 15th ('09), 16th ('08), 14th ('07).
This definitely was not the case all season. Through their first 56 games of the season, they only had 43 homers. When it seemed like the Blue Jays were hitting three a game, San Francisco didn't have anyone hitting homers in double digits until June 13.
But over the past two weeks, the Giants have sent 17 souvenirs into the stands in 12 games. Aubrey Huff and Juan Uribe sandwiched homers around Buster Posey on June 4 in Pittsburgh. And then, they went back-to-back on June 13 at home against Oakland. And again, on June 16, this time against Baltimore.
They had homers in nine straight games (June 8 - June 16). They've had five multi-home run games in that span. Huff and Uribe aren't the only ones getting into it either, only accounting for half of the round-trippers (Huff - 5, Uribe - 3).
Buster Posey hit his first major-league home run in Cincinnati. Freddy Sanchez hit a rare three-run shot on Sunday. And that new guy, Pat Burrell, has hit three already, tying him with Bengie Molina (who also hit a home run during the streak).
But what does this all mean? After all, the Giants only went 7-5 during that span of games.
What it means is that when San Francisco rolls into town, its not always going to be a pitcher's duel. It means that Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum can make a few mistakes. And it means that Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez don't have to be at the top of their game every time they take the hill.
When you already have one of the top rotations in the league, it makes wins a lot easier when the offense is scoring runs. San Francisco starters are currently ranking in the top five in wins (T-2nd), ERA (2nd), complete games (2nd), strikeouts (1st), opposing batting average (1st), and WHIP (1st).
With the emergence of other offensive weapons, it also means that Pablo Sandoval can relax a little bit. He's not going to get walked and get stranded on the bases, because there are other guys in the lineup who can hit the ball out of the park.
It means that Bruce Bochy isn't forced to put Bengie Molina higher up in the lineup. It also means that Boch has an excuse to keep non-producers like Aaron Rowand and Edgar Renteria on the bench.
There are viable replacements. Ones that can hit. Which Rowand, Molina, and Renteria aren't.
Huff is having a total resurgence akin to his booming 2008 season with the Orioles. Uribe is matching all expectations from last year when he got regular playing time down the stretch. And it seems that they're having a lively competition, a la Team USA in the World Cup, of equalizing whenever one pulls ahead in the team HR rankings.
All of this has kept the Giants in contention in the West. For some reason, the Padres won't lose. The Dodgers looked like they were right up there, but they've lost four straight on a tough East Coast road trip. The Rockies just lost Troy Tulowitzki for a long while with a broken wrist.
And San Francisco also has the flexibility to test the market come trading season, something that small-budget Colorado and San Diego can't do, and that Los Angeles is having a hard time doing because of the McCourt divorce.
Everyone said that if the Giants got some offense, they'd be a team that would go far, that had the possibility to make it to the postseason. In a short series, I can guarantee there are very few rotations more intimidating than Lincecum/Zito/Cain.
Sprinkle in a couple home-run hitters in Huff Daddy and Don Juan, both on pace for over 25 homers, and San Francisco is more than just a sleeper pick in the 2010 pennant race.
And honestly, after a couple years without Barry, its nice to see a couple guys who can hit majestic, unmistakable home runs.
Aubrey Huff, you keep flipping that bat. And Juan Uribe, keep showing off those jazz hands.
After a couple years of broken promises about small-ball and gappers, its just what us fans have needed. Blast off, Giants, and let's see where we end up landing.
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