As the sun was busy setting over the Pacific Ocean beyond the golden shores of San Diego in the early evening of Sunday July 17th, the San Francisco Giants were winging north in preparation for a six game homestand with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Giants had just put the Padres down in three of four games at the Pound to start their 2011 post-All Star campaign.
In those games the Giants did two things they almost never do: score runs and steal bases. Los Gigantes plated 19 runs over the four game set to drive their ranking in MLB runs scored from 27th to 26th (351) overall. It is a testament to the Giants that they also found time to steal 10 bases, six during Sunday’s 11 inning grudge match in the puppy patch.
For the record, the finals were Thursday: 6-2 Giants; Friday: 6-1 Giants; Saturday: 11-3 Pads; Sunday: 4-3 Giants.
The Baseball Hall of Fame may not have called to get their bats or the second base bag from the San Diego series, but for the San Francisco Giants this was an historic start to the final push to the 2011 playoffs. Through July 17, 2011 they are 55-41, which projects to 93 wins, one more than last year. Only Atlanta (56-39) and Philadelphia (59-35) have a better record in the National League.
With 66 games to go, there is little chance San Francisco’s pitching-centric attack will stumble; but there is a strong possibility they will increase production in two critical categories: extra base hits and run scoring. But how? you ask.
Giants fans should not fret over the impending July 31st trade deadline. To get slugger Carlos Beltran the New York Mets apparently want more from a trading partner than the ability to Joey Chestnut large amounts of salary. The NY Post estimates Beltran is owed about $6 million for the rest of 2011 and the Giants could easily wolf that down with little lower intestinal financial distress.
Problem is the Mets are trying to get younger and cheaper. So prospects mean more to the Metropolitans than money at this point– they expect bodies in return for Beltran and will happily offset a little cash to make it feel right.
While the Giants have money, they don’t have the prospects. The idea of dealing any of the team’s few A or B-grade minor leaguers for Beltran would be a poor decision wrapped in a very bad idea. The feeling in the Giants’ front office is that Brandon Belt has a chance to deliver runs and significantly improve the outfield defense, so why consider coughing up even one promising prospect to rent Beltran for two months and the playoffs. It’s the smart play.
For now, the San Francisco Giants are en route to October with the cards they have been dealt. The road to the 2011 World Series winds through Atlanta, Georgia on the home field of a Braves team very unlike the damaged group the Giants faced in the 2010 playoffs. The stop after that is located in a city along the Delaware River, and apparently the Phillies can’t wait to see the San Francisco Giants again.