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San Francisco Giants: 5 Creative Ways to Jump-Start the Slow Offense

Brett AppleyCorrespondent IMay 23, 2011

San Francisco Giants: 5 Creative Ways to Jump-Start the Slow Offense

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    SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 07: Barry Bonds #25 of the San Francisco Giants celebrates hitting career home run #756 against Mike Bacsik of the Washington Nationals on August 7, 2007 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California. With his 756th career home run, Bar
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    The San Francisco Giants are off to a great start in 2011 and currently own the top spot in the National League West.

    As usual, the Giants have been led by Tim Lincecum and the tremendous pitching staff. The offense, on the other hand, has been slow to say the least.

    Aubrey Huff, who led the team in home runs last season, has struggled so far, and nobody has stepped up to take his place. While the Giants can probably hang on to a playoff spot for most of the season, here are some creative ways they could jump-start their slow offense.

5. Switch Up the Lineup

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    CHICAGO, IL - MAY 13: Nate Schierholtz #12 of the San Francisco Giants misses a catch in shallow right field against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Nate Schierholtz has been one of the most productive players for the Giants this season.

    He hit a game-tying, two-run homer Sunday against Oakland and made a game-saving catch earlier in the week as well. Schierholtz has come through in the clutch so many times that he deserves as much playing time as possible.

    Starting him in the outfield over Pat Burrell and Cody Ross could provide an extra spark in the lineup that doesn't come around too often.

4. Trust the Bullpen

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 24:  Sergio Romo #54 of the San Francisco Giants in action against the Atlanta Braves at AT&T Park on April 24, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Besides the recent struggle of Jeremy Affeldt, the Giants bullpen has been impressive all year.

    Unless Tim Lincecum or Matt Cain are pitching well enough to throw deep into a ballgame, it may be a good idea to pinch hit after the fifth or sixth inning, depending on the situation.

    Bringing in an extra batter instead of allowing Jonathan Sanchez or Ryan Vogelsong to pitch deep into a game may be a good way to give the offense an extra boost. Sergio Romo, Brian Wilson, Javier Lopez and Ramon Ramirez have all been excellent, and they should be trusted to finish a game as long as they keep up their current numbers.

3. Be More Aggressive on the Basepaths

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 22: Darren Ford #34 of the San Francisco Giants rounds first base on a single against the Oakland A's in the 11th inning at AT&T Park on May 22, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Ford stole second and scored the winning run in the
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Since Andres Torres has been on disabled list, the Giants haven't attempted many steals, and Darren Ford is currently leading the team with only five.

    Now that Torres is back, the Giants should look to attempt to steal quite often, because that is a great way to build momentum and it fits right in with their style of play.

    Torres, Ford, Schierholtz and Burriss all have the capability to steal at least 10 bases in a season, and it would be a waste to see only one or two of them reach that mark.

    Not only that, but the Giants have the speed and smarts to be able to turn singles into doubles, and reach third from first on any base hit. Even though it's a bit risky, being more aggressive is a good way to jump-start any offense.

2. Make a Trade

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    HOUSTON - MAY 14:  Shortstop Jose Reyes #7 of the New York Mets smiles at his bench after he intentionally dropped a soft line drive trying to double off Brett Wallace #2 of the Houston Astros in the seventh inning at Minute Maid Park on May 14, 2011 in H
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    There have been rumors swirling around the Giants showing interest in Jose Reyes over the past few weeks.

    Miguel Tejada, who Reyes would replace in the lineup, isn't too popular among fans at the moment, so making a trade would definitely bring a lot of excitement to the Bay Area.

    Tejada is still a decent player, but Reyes is far and away a better hitter and fielder, and the Giants could use him in their lineup. We probably won't see a trade until near the deadline in July, but if it does happen, it's hard to think Reyes won't make the Giants offense significantly better.

1. Call Up Brandon Belt

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    PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 17:  Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants at bat during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 17, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Giants 6-5 in the twelft
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    We saw a glimpse of the capabilities that Brandon Belt has during his stint in the majors at the beginning of the year.

    Since the Giants sent him down to Triple-A Fresno, Belt has been absolutely on fire. He has an average of .352, with four homers and 20 RBI.

    What better way of jump-starting a slow offense then bringing up a talented hitter? We all saw how well Buster Posey affected the Giants offense after he was called up last season, so it's not impossible to think Belt could have a similar affect.

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