Can we all agree that Brian Sabean will not make a meaningful deal at the deadline? Good. I know there's a pretty good chance that we he will make a trade that will either (a) make the team worse or (b) mortgage their future for a grizzly gamer or (c) both, but I'm choosing to bury my head in the sand and pray that he does nothing, as I'm too jaded to believe that he will make an actual good trade that helps them down the stretch and makes sense in the long run.
Also, to answer your question: yes, it's nice here in Never-never Land. With that being the case, I thought it time to take a look at how this year's team has historically performed in the second half on an individual basis.
To measure the hitters I looked at each individual's career OPS over July, August, and Sept./Oct., which I know isn't that deep. But hey, I am supposed to be working right now. Below is a breakdown of possible starters and their splits over those months along with their overall average:
Player July August Sept./Oct. Career 2010
Burrell .881 .856 .765 .836 .987
Huff .833 .929 .835 .818 .932
Renteria .805 .780 .702 .747 .827
Uribe .646 .684 .874 .734 .811
Sanchez .690 .845 .732 .752 .757
Sandoval .856 .988 .883 .877 .754
Molina .671 .770 .766 .723 .650
*Sorry Buster and Torres, SSS
As you can see from the career and 2010 stats, the Giants have some players playing way over their head. In some cases there's good reason to believe that this will continue, as is the case of Huff and Burrell (although Burrell should come back to earth somewhat), because they've put up numbers like these in the past and have also had big second halves before.
I know, I know, Burrell was on the scrap-heap and sucked for the last two years in Tampa, but have you ever been to Tampa? In Tampa, 80 is the new 25, and they have Bingo parlors instead of night-clubs; it could age anyone prematurely.
In Huff's case, there stands the chance that he could actually get, dare I say it...better. Other than Sandoval, Huff is the only Giant who has historically seen a large jump in his numbers in the second half, especially in August, where he sports a career OPS of .929 which includes some of the down years he's had in the past.
Other players like Renteria and Uribe may be able to keep this up because they've also put up numbers like this in the past, but neither has really put up great second half numbers before. However, in Renteria's case it's totally plausible that he could keep this up through a collection of hang-nails, flu-like symptoms, paper-cuts, and other various ailments that keep him on and off the DL for the rest of the season.
Unlike just about everyone else who is either up or down, Freddy Sanchez is playing exactly like...Freddy Sanchez. Given his career second half splits there's little reason to doubt that this won't continue.
Which brings us to Pablo Sandoval and Bengie Molina. Sandoval is experiencing the proverbial sophomore slump and really is yet to get it going this year. This could be due in large part to his nickname, "Kung Fu Panda," which was played by Jack Black who experienced a similar slump when he expanded past Tenacious D. Let's hope we don't have to sit trough "School of Rock" and Panda gets back on track soon. There's good evidence to support this happening as Sandoval's second half numbers were better than his first half numbers in his only full big league season.
As far as Molina goes, he will continue to suck, and while I'm sure there may be some statistical evidence to either repudiate or validate that statement, they don't matter. He's getting older and fatter by the second and looks like he's playing beer league softball with Eric Byrnes on the base paths, routinely grounding in to double plays, stretching doubles in to singles, and although I have no proof of this either, giving me heartburn and reducing my life expectancy. At this point he's such a non-athlete that he makes professional bowlers look like decathletes, but is in and of himself proof positive that Sabean and Bruce Bochy are either mildly-mentally retarded or have both contracted Alzheimer's in the same way that women who work together eventually wind up on the same "cycle." I wouldn't even want Molina as the backup catcher, even if he could do that without getting his little feelings hurt and whining to the media.
With regards to the Giants starters, there's not really much to say as they've all been pretty consistent in the second half without much deviation from the career numbers (with the exception being Jonathan Sanchez). For the sake of argument, however, here are their career FIPs by month, overall, and this year:
Player July August Sept./Oct. Career 2010
Lincecum 2.70 2.82 2.77 2.76 2.74
Sanchez 4.01 2.89 4.73 4.02 3.50
Cain 3.28 3.68 3.88 3.87 3.66
Zito 4.52 3.88 4.27 4.28 3.89
Despite all the talk about Lincecum's issues, over the first half he's pretty much been himself, and Cain has continued to improve to a small degree while continuing to receive no run support.
Barry Zito has bounced back nicely, and while I was under the impression that he typically had great second halves, the numbers don't really say that. Zito is usually better in August, but his numbers in July and Sept./Oct. aren't far off from his overall numbers.
The real wild card is Sanchez, mostly because he's still developing. He had a great second half last year and is the one pitcher who traditionally has a significant up-swing in the second half. Although he's struggled of late, Sanchez could wind up being the difference-maker if the Giants are able to advance to the playoffs.
Of course the other difference maker could be that Bill Neukom wakes up tomorrow, comes to his senses, and fires Sabean and Bochy. But even here in Never-never Land that's highly unlikely. However, there is a rumor here in Never-never Land that Eddie D. will buy the Giants and turn them in to the pre-salary cap 49ers of the 1980s, but I don't want to get my hopes up.
There you have it, for the Giants to contend in the second half they need to add another bat, which will be difficult with their GM, but could be accomplished by either trading Molina to someone dumber than Sabean or by Molina's kids finally having to break down and put him in a nursing home, with the latter being much more likely.
This would make way for a daily dose of Buster Posey behind the plate and much better defense in the outfield. Here in Never-never Land, this would cause Bowkermania to finally strike Telephone Park, with PCL pitching finally being given a reprieve from John Bowker, who has absolutely nothing left to prove in AAA.
Now go, talk amongst yourselves and/or tell me what an idiot I am and why I'm wrong.