SF Giants Series Preview: They added a Belt and kept their pants from falling down

Cracked bats Series: Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Last time we saw the Giants they were 14 - 14 when the series started, and left 15 - 16. The Dodgers took two of the three games, increasing the Dodger first place lead to five games on May 9th. Since that time the Giants have a record of 25 - 17 and have gained two games on the Dodgers.

We did a preview on May 6th, but a few things have changed. Other then Brandon Belt and Buster Posey the Giants are going through their own offensive swoon in June.

  • Brandon Belt is no longer being dicked around and is the starting first baseman. He had an 11 game hitting streak snapped on Sunday, but has easily been the Giants best hitter in June with a ridiculous 1.105 OPS in June. Dodger fans should be legitimately worried about Belt for the next five years. Along with Posey / Panda they now have as good a trio of hitters as they have had this century.
  • Ryan Theriot is still the everyday 2nd baseman, but this version of Theriot is actually hitting and so far in June has been the Giants third best offensive performer with a .729 OPS so far. Yes, that OPS is not impressive, but it shows how bad the Giants bats have been this June.
  • Pablo Sandoval is back to play 3rd base but his power is still AWOL. His slugging percentage in June is a Gordonish .294, as he has collected ONE double in 56 plate appearances.His power will return, lets just hope it is next year before he totally recovers.
  • On the surface it would appear that Melky Cabrera has not stopped hitting with his seasonal .900 OPS. Dig deeper and you find he is also struggling in June with a TSL of .293 / .310 / .415 which is quite a bit off of his seasonal numbers of .351 / 388 / .512.
  • Gregor Blanco somehow became the starting right fielder. It is one thing to have the skills that Dee Gordon has, and go with that everyday as a SS, but I'm not sure that is the wisest thing to do with a right fielder. How did this happen? Blanco was in full blown PBM (Pierre Beast Mode) in May putting up an .884 OPS and appears to still be living off of that fairy dust May. In June the dust was blown away, and his TSL is a measly .207 / .266 / 356. As always Nate Schierholtz waits for his chance and when he gets it, he's quite adequate.
  • Angel Pagan is another Giant who had a terrific May and is struggling in June. He looks like a carbon copy of Gregor Blanco, complete with a May OPS of .884 and a June OPS of .597.

Rotational MatchUp:

Strangely we get the same three we got the last time we went toe to toe with the Giants with the only difference being that Nathan Eovaldi gets to take on Barry Zito instead of Ted Lilly.

  • On June 3rd Barry Zito threw eight innings of shut out ball. His next three starts he has given up 4 / 5 / 8 earned runs giving him a total of 17 earned runs in 14 innings. You would think the Dodgers might be able to score some runs in game one except.... Nathan Eovaldi is pitching for us and we simply do not score runs for Nathan. Not like the Dodgers are scoring runs for anyone lately.
  • Ryan Vogelsong is still an amazing story but if you believe in pitching peripherals take note that Ryan's ERA is 2.73, his FIP is 3.73, and his xFIP is 4.53. Quite a diff between his ERA and xFIP.
  • Tim Lincecum is the opposite of Vogelsong. Tim has a crazy ERA of 6.07, a FIP of 3.78, and an xFIP of 3.77. They say the velocity is down but the K rate remains strong at 9.87 per nine innings.

Nice that we miss Matt Cain and Bumgarner.

Bullpen:

Five different pitchers have gotten saves for the Giants in June. Santiago Casilla (6), Sergio Romo (3), Jeremy Affeldt (1), Javier Lopez (1), and Clay Hensley (1). Affeldt and Lopez are both lefties and without doing some serious digging I'm going to assume they got a left handed hitter out for the final out of the game. For the most part Casilla is the guy, but he's coming off a game in which he gave up a three run walk off bomb to Derrick Norris, and the greatest part is that was Norris's first major league home run. Talk about making it count. Casilla has pitched in three straight game, and given up runs in each of them. We won't see him Monday, expect to see Romo if the Giants are in a save situation. To bad, I'd much rather see Casilla.

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