Carlos Beltran, Solid Pitching Make San Francisco Giants Favorite To Repeat
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In a span of just 48 hours, the San Francisco Giants have gone from an afterthought to heavy favorites to not only recapture the National League pennant, but also to repeat as World Series champs.
Hours after pulling off the biggest move by far of the 2011 trade deadline, the Giants became the first team since the Seattle Mariners back in mid-June to win a series over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Yes, those Mariners. The same Mariners who just broke a 17-game losing streak.
Until Thursday night, the Phillies had won nine straight series en route to holding the best record in all of Major League Baseball.
On Wednesday, Giants pitcher Matt Cain went seven innings and allowed no runs. Thursday, Tim Lincecum followed suit, going six innings and giving up just three hits without a single run.
With the win, the Giants momentarily tie the Atlanta Braves for the second best record in the National League. More importantly, the Giants suddenly seem like the team to beat.
Wheeler was the sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft and considered the top prospect in the Giants farm system.
The move for Beltran allows the Giants to make up for some power lost when catcher Buster Posey was lost for the season back in May.
Among Giants hitters with at least 250 at-bats, only Nate Schierholtz is hitting over .275 (.283 respectively) while Beltran is hitting .289 on the season.
The Giants pitching staff, meanwhile, holds the best ERA in the Majors, is second in strikeouts, first in saves and first in fewest hits allowed.
In the old adage of "pitching wins championships," the Giants have proven the moniker true, and adding Beltran only makes them that much more dangerous.
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