> After a sweet four game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers on the road, and finishing the first half by taking two of three from the Nationals, the Giants look up and see themselves still in 4th place in the NL West, four games behind the San Diego Padres.
While the Giants were going 7-3 in the last ten games, the surging Colorado Rockies went 8-2, and in the process are now second in the National League in runs scored (430 to Cincinnati’s 437). The Giants are 20th out of 30 MLB teams in runs scored with 391.
> After finally being brought up from the minors, Buster Posey has put up commanding numbers in his first 38 games this year:
— an eye-catching slash line of .350AVG/.389OBP/.958OPS;
— hitting .383 with runners on, and .367 with runners in scoring position;
— 7 home runs, 5 doubles, 2 triples and 25 RBIs.
Posey is also demonstrating that his plate discipline is very solid; specifically, he will work a pitcher and is not concerned about taking bases on balls, which pays off each game as Posey gets a progressively better look at what the opposition pitcher has on his tool belt that day.
Posey has been slotted at various locations in the Giants’ batting order, but looks just like that picture in the dictionary under “classic #3 hitter”. Of his 137 at bats this season, the Giants spent 97 of those at bats hitting Posey 6th or 7th in the line-up.
Posey PS: While Giants fans gush on local sports talk radio about Posey, and GM Brian Sabean insists the team brought Posey up at just the right time, let’s remember something: Giants ownership did not want to bring Posey up before he would qualify under the “Super Two Rule” to be arbitration eligible in three years.
To stop him from qualifying, the team needed to limit Posey to less than 86 Major League days of service this year, which would have meant a mid-July call up. But because the Bengie Molina situation was disintegrating so fast on the field and in the clubhouse, and because the team’s lack of run production looked to produce a sixth consecutive year of finishing third to last place in the NL West, the Giants were essentially forced to bring Posey up.
> Twenty-year-old Madison Bumgarner won his first Major League game, beating the Brewers on Tuesday July 6th (8 innings, 3 hits allowed, no runs, 3 walks, 5 strike-outs). The next night, Tim Lincecum was facing Milwaukee, and during the telecast a brief shot of the Giants dugout happened to catch a significant moment: at the dugout railing, in a tight group, were Lincecum, Posey and Bumgarner animatedly talking and laughing together. They were confident, at ease and very much at home.
All of a sudden, it seemed the tired parade of over the hill veterans the Giants front office has generously overpaid to sleepwalk in and out of games the past six years might finally be over. This is now their team— Lincecum, Posey, and Bumgarner’s team. When Pablo Sandoval gets his hitting act together he’ll join them, and there are a half dozen other players in the minors who should be at that railing in the next year. The prospect is absolutely exhilarating.
> Mid-season trade talks heated up during the series between the Giants and Milwaukee, with typical Brian Sabean old school front office posturing. It’s fascinating to listen to Sabean’s circa-1970s GM speak, and his transparent dodging and silly attempts at misdirection and hiding his intentions. Close your eyes, and it’s like a hearing a statement issued fifty years ago by the Russians in the middle of the Cold War.
The Brewers should be, and likely will be, dealing hitting soon. The Giants would love to get superstar Ryan Braun, but the Milwaukee front office would have to be extremely over medicated to even consider that. Corey Hart was apparently seriously discussed, with Jonathan Sanchez as part of the package the Brewers wanted. But, once again, the Giants hold on to their pitching like a security blanket, snarling and hissing at the real world, too paralyzed to let go.
Sanchez is 7-6 with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP; which projects out to 13-11 for the 2010 season. Sanchez has a career win/loss of 28-36 with a 4.54 ERA.
Corey Hart is tied for the National League lead in RBIs with 65; he’s tied in second place with 21 home runs; his All Star break stats project out to 124 RBIs, 40 home runs, and a .918 OPS.
> Do the Giants have a chance to get to the 2010 playoffs? Absolutely. Four games out of first with 47 wins at the All Star break puts them right in the mix. The obvious downside here is being in 4th place, which means the Giants can’t simply play well, three other teams have to start having problems and not play so well.
The Giants need San Diego to finally show signs of fading (I mean, who are those guys…?). They need the Dodgers to not get better via a trade for pitching or a blockbuster return by Manny Ramirez, and they need Colorado to simply stop scoring so much. A tall order all around, but it should make for a fascinating second half to the 2010 season.