San Francisco Giants: 5 Giants Who Need to Step Up for Playoff Push

Kasey ScottAnalyst IAugust 4, 2011

San Francisco Giants: 5 Giants Who Need to Step Up for Playoff Push

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    With only 51 games remaining on the Giants schedule, the Giants are only leading the Arizona Diamondbacks by a game. 

    The Giants still have some major questions going down the stretch. 

    The pieces are starting to come together as the Giants scored eight runs yesterday, the first time they have eclipsed six runs at home all year. 

    These five Giants will need to make their presence felt if the Giants want to make another deep postseason run. 

5) Eli Whiteside

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    Eli Whiteside has now seen his average drop below Chris Stewarts' at .209. The reason that Whiteside will continue to get starts at catcher over Stewart is his power. 

    In 81 AB for Stewart, he has no home runs and only four RBI. Stewart does not bring a whole lot to the plate. 

    In 141 AB for Whiteside, he has three home runs and 13 RBI. 

    Neither catcher tears the cover off the ball or hits for a high average. Whiteside will need to step it up or find himself riding the bench more often. 

4) Nate Schierholtz

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    Nate Schierholtz has really struggled since the Carlos Beltran trade, going 3-22 during that span. 

    Schierholtz has not hit a home run since July 8th as well. Is it time to worry for Nate Schierholtz? Not really. 

    Nate has been moved to left field because of the trade and now finds himself in unfamiliar territory. He has never played in left field before, and this is a new experience for him. 

    Schierholtz will get comfortable in left and find his swing once again. Prior to the Beltran trade Schierholtz was a staple in the Giants lineup, and I can see that happening again once he gets rolling. If not Nate will surely lose playing time more often.

3) Cody Ross

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    Cody Ross was essentially a forgotten man once the Carlos Beltran trade occurred. He was left to sit the bench, but the struggles of Andres Torres has really opened up a door for Ross. 

    Ross is a great candidate to take over for Torres in center based on his speed and power. The Giants lineup is better off with Ross than with Torres. 

    Ross has eight home runs and 34 RBI on the season, to go with 18 2B. 

    Cody Ross now has a great opportunity to get back some starting time. He struggled in July only hitting .193, but had a .304 OBP. 

    Torres OBP sits at .320 while Ross OBP sits at .344. Andres Torres was a great story last season, but his playing time should drop in favor of Cody Ross. 

2) Jonathan Sanchez

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    With the struggles of Barry Zito, everyone was crying for Jonathan Sanchez to return. This doesn't mean that Sanchez can come back and walk four or five a game. 

    Prior to the Sanchez "biceps tendinitis" injury, he was 4-5 with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. 

    Sanchez missed a handful of starts and still leads the Giants with 59 walks. Sanchez can strikeout a lot of batters—while walking a bunch as well. 

    Barry Zito won't be threatening Jonathan Sanchez unless he completely falls apart. I really don't see Sanchez blowing this opportunity to return to the starting rotation. Expect Sanchez to get back on track and look like a number three starter. 

1) Aubrey Huff

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    As if this one weren't obvious. Huff is having a down year in terms of average, but his power numbers are decent. 

    Huff is hitting .243 with 10 home runs and 49 RBI. Brandon Belt is breathing down Aubrey Huff's neck, although Huff should continue to start. 

    Huff has 51 games to get things going, and he should now that he is not the focal point of the Giants lineup. He now has Carlos Beltran and Pablo Sandoval hitting in front of him, meaning he will get plenty of opportunities to get it going. 

    If Huff can get it going, the Giants offense will have a great 3-4-5 punch.