No team in the National League playoff hunt is looking forward to September 1 more than the San Francisco Giants. Heading into the Colorado series, the Giants have only won six of their last 15 games.
The Giants desperately need a boost, especially in the pitching department. The team is fighting extremely hard, a credit to Bruce Bochy and the players, but the pitching looks tired.
In the past 15 games, the Giants have given up a total of 92 runs, an average of over six runs a game. For a team built on the foundation of a strong pitching staff, that's way too high The starting staff and the relief corps have both struggled during this stretch.
Who are the top players that we can expect to see the Giants call up in September?
The first and most important call up is Dan Runzler. Runzler was injured while batting on July 8th. At the time of his injury, Runzler was pitching well. He will be a welcome addition to a relief corps that has been under a lot of duress lately, as the starters have had trouble going deep into games.
Eric Hacker is the second pitcher, I believe, that will be called up. As a starter, he has thrown well at Fresno and is 16-6 on the year. Hacker can give the Giants multiple innings as a long reliever, especially if a starter gets blown out early, as has happened multiple times in the recent past.
We should also see Emmanuel Burriss as a September call up. Burriss gives Bruce Bochy some added flexibility in the infield and also as a speedy pinch runner. It's the speed Burriss possesses that will be his biggest benefit to the Giants.
The Giants top minor league hitting prospect is Brandon Belt. Belt started the season in A-ball with San Jose. He did well and was moved to AA Richmond. Belt continued to hit and was recently promoted to AAA Fresno. His cumulative totals for 2010 are a .354 batting average with 20 HR's and 103 RBI.
Belt will likely not see much action, if any, in San Francisco. However, this taste of the big leagues can ultimately be beneficial. The Giants believe that this same approach helped Buster Posey acclimate himself and will likely use this plan with Belt.
Two others that have spent time in San Francisco already this year and could be recalled are Eugenio Velez and Ryan Rohlinger. Velez has great speed and can help as a pinch runner. Utility infielder Ryan Rohlinger is also an option for the Giants.
Although not a September call up, Edgar Renteria will also be eligible to come off the disabled list in mid September. Renteria and newly acquired Mike Fontenot give the Giants experienced depth in the infield.
The other two players I would recommend as September call ups are Jesus Guzman and Steve Holm. Guzman has major league experience and is an excellent hitter, but a poor fielder. He can be valuable as a pinch hitter.
Steve Holm gives the Giants a third catcher. He is solid defensively and that will give manager Bruce Bochy a lot of flexibility.
Buster Posey has missed the past two games with a forearm strain. While this is not considered serious, if Posey misses any additional games, having only Eli Whiteside behind the dish is not enough. Whiteside is not a strong offensive threat. Steve Holm enables Bochy to pinch hit for Whiteside, when necessary.
The Giants have 31 games left and a decent shot at making the playoffs. These September additions can help them win maybe two or three extra games. That could be enough to get the Giants over the hump.