The San Francisco Giants have concluded their first month of the season with a record of 17-11 and currently lead the NL West by 1.5 games. Their roster has collectively done just enough to garner the best record in the division, but there is still a long way to go.
Beginning with their starting pitching, the Giants rotation has seen better days. The starting staff’s 3.96 ERA ranks 15th in the entire majors while their .273 batting average against ranks just 23rd. The trio of Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong have been both inconsistent and unreliable. Bruce Bochy never quite knows he is going to get out of them.
Luckily for the Giants, their bullpen ranks among the top in the league. With just a 2.06 ERA, they rank second in all of baseball. Their .203 batting average against is also just second, their walks allowed leads the Majors at just 22, and their impressive 87.1 innings pitched put them at ninth. Because of the starters many early exits, the bullpen has seen much more work than they had hoped over the first month. At some point their rotation will need to start getting deeper into ballgames or else the bullpen is going to become taxed and worn out.
Offensively, the Giants are hit or miss – literally. Their 117 runs scored ranks among the top of the league, but their team batting average of .237 has them in the depths. Surprisingly, the Giants are hitting a lot of home runs. For a team that ranked second to last in all of baseball with only 107 home runs a season ago, this year they rank third with 33. It has been quite a turnaround. And for that the Giants can thank the trio of Brandon Belt, Buster Posey and Michael Morse, who is looking like one of the steals of the offseason. They have combined for 19 blasts on the season.
Looking ahead in the season offensively, it will be vital for Pablo Sandoval to make any sort of impact whatsoever. In a contract year, he has clearly been pressing both at the plate and defensively. He is hitting just .177 with two home runs and six RBI’s. Not a very good look for someone who is asking for a $100 plus million contract. It will be interesting to see how the whole situation plays out. Knowing the Giants, they won’t give into his demands and will look to ship him off by the deadline – especially if he remains in his atrocious hitting slump.
Top Pitcher for April
Sorry Tim Hudson, but the entire Giants bullpen wins this award. If it wasn’t for them, the Giants might be at the bottom of the division searching for answers. Instead, they are at the top of the division searching for them. Their numbers speak for themselves and it is not any one individual that has shined, but rather the collective makeup of every aspect of the bullpen. Whether it is Jean Machi’s four wins (tying only Tim Hudson, who has quickly become the Giants best starter) and 0.66 ERA in middle relief, Yusmeiro Petit’s gutsy spot starts and long relief heroics, or Sergio Romo coming in to close the door in the ninth, the Giants bullpen has picked the team up all season.
Top Player for April
This one has to go to Angel Pagan, who is both the spark and the engine that gets this team going. After missing a majority of last season with a hamstring injury, it was clear just how important he is to the Giants. This season he is healthy and dominating both offensively and defensively the way did during their 2012 World Series campaign. His .340 batting average is the 10th highest in baseball. He also leads the team in on base percentage at .380. But what is most important is the fact that he can hit for power and produce RBI’s from the lead off spot. He has two homers and 14 RBI’s on the season. That ranks third and second respectively among National League leadoff hitters.
Commentary by Rich Peters
Guardian Liberty Voice Writer for the San Francisco Giants