Whenever the San Francisco Giants come to town, I always ask my parents if I can get tickets. I do this for these three reasons:
- Tim Lincecum
- Tim Lincecum
- Oh yeah, did I mention Tim Lincecum?
As you may have assumed, Lincecum is my favorite pitcher. He has the nastiest stuff in the majors by far. Plus watching his funky motion come from that small body is something that every baseball fan should do before they die.
But, contrary to popular belief, the Giants do have some other notable players. Pablo Sandoval and Aaron Rowand are always fun to watch. Rowand can take quite a few runs away with his kamikaze defense, and Sandoval is a colorful character who puts on great displays of prowess at the plate.
This ought to be a good series filled with pitching. The Giants have one of the best, if not the best, pitching staffs in the majors. Jonathan Sanchez, noted for throwing his no-hitter last season, is a very respectable 3-4 with a 2.90 ERA. Sanchez will start against Zach Duke tomorrow night. Both pitchers have had little run support in their past few outings, the main cause to their losing records.
On Saturday, journeyman Todd Wellemeyer will start for the Giants against the Pirates' potent lefty, Paul Maholm. Wellemeyer has had little success in PNC Park, going 0-2 with a 6.95 ERA in eight career outings at the Bucco's ballpark. Maholm has also been a victim of low run support, but he has been effective in his past few starts. Against the Braves on Sunday, Maholm gave up just two earned runs on a scattered 10 hits and walked away with a no decision.
Sunday, the game I am looking forward to the most, has Giants ace Lincecum on the hill. Ross Ohlendorf is starting for the Pirates. Lincecum has struggled as of late, and his ERA has ballooned to an un-Lincecum like 3.14. He hasn't been Lincecum-esque dominant on the mound lately, and he hasn't had a double-digit strikeout game since the beginning of May. Ohlendorf hasn't lived up to his potential this season, but he pitched a good game against the Cubs on Memorial Day. Slowly but surely, Ohlendorf is making progress, and he should get better with each start he makes.
The Giants have finally started to come around at the plate, after Lincecum won the NL Cy Young with only 15 wins last season due to a big lacking of run support. The Giants are fifth in the NL in hitting this season, but they haven't dominated games with the long ball. The Giants have only 40 dingers, just two more than the light-hitting Pirates. The Giants have some power potential with Sandoval, Rowand, Juan Uribe, Aubrey Huff, and prized prospect Buster Posey. Posey has done a fine job since being called up to play first base for the Giants this season, hitting .474 in 19 at bats.
The Pirates offense has been sad to say the least.
They are 15th in hitting, and nobody has really given the Pirates much hope besides prospect Neil Walker, power-hitter Garrett Jones, catcher Ryan Doumit, and local icon Andrew McCutchen. When the bulk of your offensive production comes from four guys, it's going to be hard to win ball games. The Pirates have learned that the hard way, as they are currently in 5th place in the NL Central Division.
Prediction for the series: Giants take 2 of 3 from Pirates