The All-Star festivities and merrymaking continue in Arizona, and the San Francisco Giants are well represented. Just a year after winning the World Series, the defending champs sent five players to the Midsummer Classic, and for good reason.
While only closer Brian Wilson made it through fan votes alone, all five Giants have had first halves worth celebrating.
Starting pitchers Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong lead the stellar pitching staff that has kept the Giants in first place, and nobody can deny how essential their contributions have been. The Giants pitchers as a whole have a 3.20 ERA, third-best in the National League, and lead the league in strikeouts with a whopping 775 (8.1 K/9).
Wilson, whose personality is as big as his beard, has laid down another season of ninth-inning dominance. While his 3.14 ERA falls short of his numbers last year, he is still tied for second in the league with 26 saves, and he remains a terror on the mound.
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval, the Kung Fu Panda, was a late addition to the team, replacing the injured Placido Polanco on the All-Star roster. Despite missing six weeks when he broke a bone in his hand, Sandoval has emerged as the Giants' most destructive and reliable hitter, running a 21-game hitting streak into the All-Star break.
While these All-Stars have led their team to a three-game lead going into the break, it remains to be seen at what level they'll perform for the rest of the year. Here are my projections for their second-half performances.