Grindin’ With The Champs: Winning the West
The Giants like playing West division teams—they’ve won 16 of 25 against the Dodgers, Rockies, Padres and Diamondbacks. Add a three-game sweep in the Bay Bridge Series against the American League West Oakland Athletics and that’s 19 of the team’s 27 wins. The Giants like it at home, too, winning 13 of 18 at AT&T Park, including the last nine in a row. Seven of the 13 wins are walk-offs, and eleven are of the one-run variety. The Giants obviously like a little drama, too.
Buster Posey has a hit in 11 straight games. Andres Torres and Cody Ross are coming back to life after stints on the DL. Nate Scheirholtz and Mike Fontenot have made huge contributions off the bench, and rookie speedsters Darren Ford and Emmanuel Burriss have brought some much-needed energy. Freddy Sanchez has hit a little below par, but his glove work at second base has been exceptional. Miguel Tejada and Aubrey Huff have yet to get on track, both are hitting well below their career norms. Pablo Sandoval is still out, although manager Bruce Bochy said he might be able to return in two weeks. The Giants are last in the National League in runs scored and are eager to get the Panda back in the lineup. Veteran Mark DeRosa re-injured his surgically repaired wrist and may likely be done for the season.
When you don’t score many runs, you have to pitch well, and the Giants have allowed 160 runs, second only to Philadelphia’s 142. Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain lead the way, of course, but solid work from Jonathan Sanchez, Madison Bumgarner, and Ryan Vogelsong make for a formidable rotation. Bullpen stalwarts Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez don’t get the press like closer Brian Wilson, but they’ve been nearly as valuable.
The Florida Marlins come to San Francisco for three games, and then it’s on the road again for three in Milwaukee and four in St. Louis. Those two clubs are a combined 30-15 in their home parks and will be stern tests for a weak-hitting team. The Giants have played 28 (winning 14) of their 46 games on the road. After the road trip, the schedule gods finally relent and the team gets a ten-game homestand through the first two weekends in June.