The defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants hope to change their recent history of winning championships in the alternate years of 2010, 2012 and 2014. At the 2015 All Star break, the Giants’ record is 46-43, trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers by just 4 games in the National League West Division. What has the Giants most concerned is the quality found in the National League Central Division. Three teams in the Central have better records at the break than the Giants. San Francisco’s only chance to make the MLB playoff this season may be to win their own division.
Starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner, the 2014 World Series Most Valuable Player, is still the ace for the Giants. A 3.33 first-half Earned Run Average doesn’t demonstrate nearly the dominance Bumgarner displayed during the 2014 postseason. Rookie Chris Heston, with a 3.39 ERA so far, has given the rotation a lift. The Giants are counting on Matt Cain and Jake Peavy, both out with injuries during most of the first half of 2015, to provide the rotation with some quality for the stretch. The Giants might be in the market for a starting pitcher as the trade deadline approaches.
Graphic via splashit.mlblogs
Starting National League All-Star catcher Buster Posey has emerged as a legitimate Most Valuable Player candidate. With the departures of Pablo Sandoval and Michael Morse in the offseason and Hunter Pence out for most of the first half with a broken arm and wrist tendonitis, the pressure has been on Posey to shoulder more of the offensive load for the Giants. Posey has responded with a .318 batting average, 14 home runs and 63 Runs Batted In so far. He’ll need to maintain that kind of production for San Francisco to hope to reach the postseason again.
Second baseman Joe Panik earned an NL All-Star selection by hitting over .300 during the first half. Shortstop Brandon Crawford’s bat has been a pleasant surprise for the Giants to go along with his fine glove. Together they form a solid double-play combination. Casey McGehee was supposed to be the replacement for Sandoval at third base. Poor performance led to his designation for assignment after just 49 games and Matt Duffy has filled in admirably.
San Francisco could be also looking for outfield help at the trading deadline. Nori Aoki had a .317 batting average out of the leadoff spot and was playing well in left field when he went on the disabled list with a fractured right fibula in late June. He’s scheduled to return in late July. Pence’s injuries also make him a serious question mark for the second half. Back troubles have plagued Angel Pagan throughout the first half of the 2015 season and have sapped his offensive production considerably. He’s yet to hit a home run this season and knocked in just 22 runs. Having all three return to health, along with continued production from the infield would provide the Giants with a formidable lineup for a strong run in the second half of the 2015 season.
Graphic via abc7news