Does Aubrey Huff Hold the Key That Unlocks San Francisco's Offense?
Whatever the San Francisco Giants have done to try and jump-start their frigid offense so far in 2011, even the latest move to acquire rent-a-slugger Carlos Beltran from the New York Mets, has not sparked the lifeless bats of the defending world champs.
Even despite more offensive output in the form of hits and base-runners, the Giants have ensured that their paltry run total for the year continues to qualify them for last in the National League, with their abysmal batting average with runners in scoring position.
But what transpired on Tuesday night by the shores of McCovey Cove may hold the answer to San Francisco's seemingly solution-proof offensive woes.
To the chagrin of many Giants fans, first baseman Aubrey Huff has continued to start despite his inability to produce at the plate, and manager Bruce Bochy has stood by his veteran, opting with Brian Sabean to demote Brandon Belt for the time being rather than sit Huff on the bench.
After Huff's 3-for-4 performance Tuesday, including a screaming, low-liner double into the left-center field gap, and a line drive home run to the back of the right field arcade, the question now becomes, could an Aubrey Huff resurgence be the missing link for the Giants, connecting the possible with reality for this offense?
True or False: As goes Aubrey Huff, so goes the Giants offense.
Huff is hitting .249, but considering that on June 1 he was hitting .219, and that in the month of August he's hitting .367 with a .424 on-base percentage and a .600 slugging percentage, the veteran is showing he's still got something left in the tank.
While Huff began his recent offensive awakening with singles, Tuesday's performance was centered in extra-base hits, finally giving fans a glimpse of what Huff was in 2010.
Could this be the key that unlocks this offense?
After all else has thus far failed, it might be.
That's because Aubrey Huff is vital to a successful Giants offensive attack. Apparently Bruce Bochy knew and remembered that when all of us were calling for his head on a platter next to Huff's.
Last year's team leader in home runs and RBI's, Huff was a cornerstone of an offense that produced enough to support the elite pitching that led San Francisco to the title.
The significance of what Huff produced in 2010 is not lost on his teammates, and even when Jeff Keppinger, Pablo Sandoval, and Carlos Beltran are hitting, there's still something missing.
The man that Brian Sabean ensured would remain a Giant after the World Series victory last November, the man earning $10 million, is important to this franchise, and when he's not producing, he gets the benefit of the doubt.
That much has become clear, and now it looks like the patience may be starting to pay off.
If Aubrey Huff continues this resurgence into September, a Giants offense that has been so ineffective that it couldn't support one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, could begin to look more competent, driving in runs when they're out there for the taking.
If that happens, San Francisco could once again be a team on a hot streak heading into October.
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