While the Arizona Diamondbacks seem to have claimed the NL West as their own, the San Francisco Giants will need to take drastic, immediate measures if they want to turn their fate around and defend the World Title.
Arizona has won nine straight games and is arguably the hottest team in baseball right now. Meanwhile, San Francisco has had one of the worst months in franchise history.
The defending champs have conceded the lead that they held for most of the season to fall a hefty six games behind the Diamondbacks.
This club has not come close to synthesizing the magic that won them the title last year.
The pitching has continued to dominate and still ranks among the best in the majors, however the Giants lack of offense has wasted quality starts more often than not.
Despite making valiant efforts to recover from the loss of key players to injury, even moves like the acquisition of Carlos Beltran in one of the biggest deadline trades has failed to be the answer to a “Giant” problem.
San Francisco’s front office appears to have taken advantage of the Sept. 1st roster expansion as one last chances to give this club the jolt it needs to make a threat in the postseason stretch.
Here’s what roster moves the expansion has entailed and what it could mean for the Giants in September.
On Aug. 31st, the Giants announced the inevitable release of two players that have been a continual disappointment in San Francisco.
When Miguel Tejada was signed in the offseason, nobody had high hopes for him to return to form of his All-Star days. However, his .234 BA and .270 OBP was not filling a void in the lineup but rather enlarging a gaping black hole of an offense for San Francisco.
Aaron Rowand has put up nearly identical numbers in 2011 and has steadily declined in his time with the club. While Rowand has contributed sporadically in pinch-hit appearances, memories of the one time All-Star in 2011 consist mostly of frustration.
Their release has made room for players that the management hopes will come together and make the contribution necessary to stay alive.
The corresponding roster moves? Pat Burrell activated from the disabled list and the contract of Brett Pill purchased.
Brett Pill hit .312 BA with 25 home runs this year for Tripe A. Drafted in 2006, he has since spent time playing first and second base for San Francisco’s minor league teams.
Pat Burrell has hit .237 with seven home runs for San Francisco in 2011.
While Burrell will likely take on a more active role in left field, both players will be used as power bats off the bench.
The Giants are desparate for any help offensively. Neither player is expected to be the game-changer for the rest of the season.
However, both will be strategically used to produce timely hits, an ability that San Francisco has historically paired with excellent pitching to be successful but has escaped them of late.
As bad as the Giants have been in August, the Diamondbacks have been that good. Arizona currently holds a six-game lead, twice the deficit that San Francisco faced at this point in the season in 2010.
San Francisco went 10-18 in August, while Arizona went 18-11.
The Giants went 18-10 last September to win the division on the last day of the season. They will have to do the same one year later to salvage their season.
It will take a tremendous turnaround, a valiant effort by all pieces and a bit of magic for them to come back in 2011.
Every member of the team will have to play their part in a collaborative effort to produce enough runs to give the pitching staff deserved margin for error. The roster moves allude that San Francisco is using the opportunity to piece together a comeback.
Giants Manager Bruce Bochy
The management has done everything in its power to reverse fate and give the Giants a shot to make a turn around in 2011.
However, San Francisco faces Arizona six more times this season, the first series beginning on Sept. 2nd.
This series will absolute make or break San Francisco’s season. It will either allow them to cut down Arizona’s lead and build some momentum for the final stretch or dig an inescapable hole.
Giants’ fans should be sitting on the edge of their seat now. They should be hoping that some added power on the bench and a sense of urgency will be the motivation that can bring back the magic of 2010.
If this last effort to shake the lineup does not work, nothing will, and 2011 will be a lost season for San Francisco.