samuel ljackson

Arizona D’Backs Bushwack the Faltering Giants

Samuel L. Jackson said it best in his 2006 film “Snakes on a Plane”: “Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherf–ing Snakes in this motherf–ing Western Division!”

I’m having teeshirts and formal wear printed with these amazingly prophetic words because it appears the Arizona Diamondbacks have officially challenged the San Francisco Giants in the fight for the 2011 National League West title. And for some reason they’re in no rush to fade back into 4th place where they belong.

In 2010 Arizona went 65-97– finishing in last place in the NL West with third worst record in the Majors after Seattle (61-101) and Pittsburgh (57-105). The D’Backs were 25-56 on the road last year.

Jump to 2011 and Arizona is now 61-49 and tied with San Francisco for first place in the West. The Snakes’ 2011 road record is 32-26, tied with Tampa Bay for fourth highest road wins in the game.

And did I forget to mention that the D’Backs lead all National League teams with 127 home runs? Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t; but enough about the high flying motherf–ing Snakes.

The San Francisco Giants are on a five game losing streak. After winning 2 of 3 at Philadelphia last week they got slapped around for three games in Cincinnati then crawled home and proceeded to lose the first two games of a three game set against the surging Diamondbacks. What’s going wrong right now for the Giants?

1. The Carlos Beltran trade will eventually provide a surge in offense for the run-starved Giants, but going into today’s day game with the D’Backs, Beltran is hitting .200 (5 for 25) since joining the team six days ago. The front office and the fans would have liked a more explosive start to Beltran’s career as a Giant, but everyone needs to be patient.

2. After showing a slight improvement in team runs scored the Giants have slipped back to 29th of 30 MLB teams with 385 runs scored. The Red Sox lead the Majors with 595 runs and the National League average is 453. Pablo Sandoval can’t do it all by himself.

3. As a group, the outfielders continue to a struggle at the plate. After a short run of success in early July, Nate Schierholtz is 4-34 (.118) in his last 9 games with 2 RBI. His excellent defense is still a joy to watch but a corner outfielder has to be a run producer no matter how good his glove work is.

Andres Torres continues his year long slide at the plate hitting .233 with a .319 OBP. As of now, Torres has lost his center field/lead-off job to Cody Ross. Aaron Rowand is batting .248 with a .295 OBP.

Question: how long can the Giants outstanding starting and bullpen pitching hold the line and take the pressure of limiting opponents to 3 runs or less per game?

Answer: the pitchers may not have to wait much longer because there’s positive news. The everyday batting line-up is starting to look formidable. The trio of Jeff Keppinger, Pablo Sandoval, and Carlos Beltran are a legitimate and potent heart of the batting order and their success will soon make the rest of the line-up better.

Most importantly, this is a Championship team with a group of players who seem to thrive living on the edge of 2-1 and 3-2 games the past two years. They are fearless and not prone to panic or cave into the pressure. No matter how many Snakes are on the plane.

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