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