By Daniel Leroux
The Week That Was:
As expected given the circumstances, it was an uneven week for the Giants. After a brutal loss on Monday and a nice win on Tuesday, the team was rocked by the announcement that Melky Cabrera would not play for the team for the next 50 games. That means he will miss the rest of the regular season as well as the first full round of the playoffs should the Giants make it that far. Unsurprisingly, the team came out a little flat and could not pull out the rubber match against the Nationals.
Following a much-needed off day, the Giants ended up taking two of three against the lowly Padres in San Diego including two offensive showcases. The second disappointing start in a row by Ryan Vogelsong put a more bitter end on a .500 week and San Francisco stands a half game back of the Dodgers for the NL West crown and a full game back of Pittsburgh for the final wild card spot.
The Soapbox: Inflation by Deflation
Wednesday stood as a surreal experience for many Giants fans for good reason. As someone in the stands as a fan for that day game, KNBR had not broken the news of Cabrera’s suspension by the time I left the car so I was among the vast majority of fans who were completely unaware at what transpired approximately one hour before the game. What surprised me was how slowly word trickled in considering our world of smart phones and internet access- in my section, word did not spread around about what happened until the fifth inning though people had wondered out loud why Cabrera was not in the lineup.
After the surprise, the more important question of what the Giants do next revealed itself. In some senses, the suspension coming after the trade deadline both reduces the options and the potential for the now-standard Sabean overpay. Luckily, Sabean has had much better luck in August than July so it could yield some sort of stopgap for the team. I look more to the pitching staff than the offense for the necessary jolt to keep the team in the race, particularly Tim Lincecum. If the team can get Vogelsong on track and an improvement from either Lincecum or Zito (*cough*), they could thrive despite a less potent and consistent offense. Having Gregor Blanco’s defense on the field more often will help and I sincerely hope we see more Hector Sanchez behind the dish and Buster Posey out in the field.
I will talk more about the long-term effect of Cabrera’s disappointing decision (including the free agency ramifications) in the weeks to come.
The Week Ahead: Treading Water
There are two ways to look at a week like the Giants are facing. First, one can view it as a major opportunity to get a leg up in both races they are battling in right now. They have a point- each win counts “double” when the team is ahead of you in the standings. However, most of those teams are there for a reason and some can argue that a more reasonable goal is treading water and then winning the games you are supposed to handle against lesser opponents like the Giants did this weekend at Petco Park. For the most part, I align with the second camp when a team has other challenges like San Francisco possesses at the moment. That said, their rotation lines up nicely for them to make an impact and hopefully take at least one of this week’s series.
Marquee Game of the Week: Bright lights in the big city: Madison Bumgarner against Madison Kershaw on Monday night in LA on ESPN2. Lincecum vs. Hudson on Sunday will be major as well.
San Francisco Giants