Thanks to Marty Lurie of KNBR, I got the idea to write just how good the Giants are and how well certain players are performing compared to previous seasons.
As August begins, the Giants begin a difficult two months to catch the first place Padres. Starting off the second half going 8-1 in the division and 13-4 overall, they're the hottest team in baseball. Giants' players are peaking at the right time and this team is having fun again as they fight for a post-season berth.
It's been an incredible year so far, and fans have a lot to look forward to in the coming months. Although we all hope to see the Giants keep winning and overtake San Diego, the Giants can also fall back. Up to this point, this team has far exceeded expectations.
Giants fans and manager has finally found aging Rowand's replacement. Andres Torres. He took advantage of his starts early, and he's become a Giants regular. He brings energy to a desperately needed lead-off position, and speeds around the bases.
He's been on fire, but overlooked a little by another new Giant outfielder, Aubrey Huff. Huff has spent most of his time in the outfield and he has been brilliant on defense as well as with the bat. Huff has quietly played himself into MVP talks playing for a contending team.
Both these guys have surprised fans and a big reason why they're 1 1/2 games out.
Pat Burrell has also been a surprise mostly coming off the bench. With limited playing time, he's shown he still has power. Aaron Rowand hasn't played well, but he seems to be hitting again as of late. And Nate Schierholtz has been excellent as a pinch hitter and filling in on defense with his cannon of an arm.
Don't expect Torres and Huff to continue hitting like it's July, but I think Huff will finish above .300 with 30 bombs and Torres just below at .290.
Pablo has had a disappointing season thus far to his standards. Whether that is because of learning to take pitches or personal problems, the bottom line is he's been okay. The good part is that none of that has taken away from his defensive prowess at third. Sure he's not hitting .300, but he doesn't need to with others stepping up.
One other stepping up is Juan Uribe. He got his chance when Renteria went down, and he was on a tear. He and Huff teamed up and went off trying to hold the team lead in HR's. Plus, Giants fans have loved seeing him play SS because of his rocket arm and it seems, he hasn't aged the same as Renteria.
With both players' hack hitting style, don't expect Uribe to match Huff for the rest of the year, but you can expect 25 HRs, and it looks like Pablo is starting to hit again, and he needs to if this team is to take the Padres down.
Like the last slide, Uribe's been a Giant surprise filling in for Renteria. But Edgar didn't look so bad until he went to the disabled list. After that, Renteria's .330 average dipped down below .300 and he has now taken a back seat to Uribe.
If Renteria can stay healthy and Uribe comes back soon after an early departure against the Dodgers, then expect the Giants to get solid production at SS. Despite my desire to see the Huff-Uribe tandem more, I think we'll see both splitting time and that will bring out the best of them.
After he came back from the DL, Sanchez has been a lock in the #2 spot in the order and has played pretty well. He tries to move Torres over every time he gets on base, takes pitches, and plays stellar defense.
However, for the Giants to play well into October, they need Sanchez to start hitting Torres in to score after his doubles and hit for his sake, not the team. Sanchez needs to find that hot bat the team has been using in July, and maybe he can on this road trip like he did on trip through Pittsburgh.
As stated before, Huff Daddy is a gamer and Pablo could start hitting more. Buster Posey is the talk of all Giants fans and when he first got called up his position was at first. He played so well there and hit so well that I didn't know if he was going to play catcher at all
More on Posey later, which brings me to Ishikawa. He was primarily a pinch hitter/defensive replacement, and he led the league in pinch hitting. As of late, he has earned a couple starts per week, and brings an added excitement to the crowd more than an Aaron Rowand.
With Huff playing OF and Buster behind the dish, expect to see more of this guy and he can turn into a wild card for this team down the stretch.
Bengie Molina was signed for a few months until Posey was ready, and many thought to get Posey in there faster than he did. All in all, Posey came and he was golden.
And Sabean brilliantly sent Molina to the Texas Rangers for Chris Ray. Molina was a good clubhouse presence, but not much more than that. He didn't have his spark in his bat and he helped the Giants lead in ground ball double plays. Then Buster Posey had a shot.
Buster Posey is a STUD. We've all seen him, and his pure hitting stroke may result in more 20+ hitting streaks. His ability as a catcher is magnificent, as Giants pitchers rarely shake him off. He is the spark this team needed, and they got him at the perfect time.
I don't expect Posey to keep hitting .380, although I think it's possible. Realistically, I expect Buster to stay above .345 and battle for ROY.
Many, myself included, have constantly criticized Bochy for his seemingly idiotic decisions. Despite playing slumping veterans or calling in relief pitchers to come in and not find the strike zone, this team is winning.
However strange you may think of him, Bochy has led this team to 60 wins and hopefully a playoff berth. He has found the oddities of this team to make winning not a want, but a priority.
The line-up may not have the typical power and speed of playoff-caliber teams, but like the deranged Bochy, this strange team is hitting, and scoring enough to win. With how well the pitchers go out, the offense gives the bullpen enough to hold the lead. And Bruce Bochy may need some thanks. With how hot this team has been and how the combination of batting and pitching has found the perfect match, it's no wonder the Giants should be where they are.
With some areas to improve and some where it may have hit a high, the Giants are surging and waiting for the Padres to crumble.
The Giants may, but can't possibly end the season like July so I don't expect a huge August and September, but I do expect the Padres to fall at some point. The young Padres will burn out, at least a little, and just enough for the Giants to take advantage.
Bochy is bringing out the best of his players at the right time. Huff, Torres, Uribe, and Posey are all hitting beyond expectations. Be proud of how they've played thus far.