Reporting Dennis O’Donnell
KPIX 5 Sports Director Dennis O’Donnell hosts “Gameday” every Sunday night at 11:30pm on KPIX 5 and offers his unique sports analysis here.
SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — With all due respect to Buster Posey, the Giants MVP of the first half is the National League Worst. By sheer virtue of the ineptitude of the rest of the teams, the Giants remain buyers, not sellers, in their quest to defend their World Championship.
So what do they need and how do they get it? End the suspense and get Cliff Lee. They might have to take someone else in the deal to make it work, but Chase Utley could do for the Giants what Scutaro did last year.
An infusion of offense is what the Giants so desperately need, regardless of how many runs were scored against the hapless Padres. How about putting Utley at third, Pablo at first, and trading Belt in the deal? Given his knee issues, I’m not a big fan of bringing in a 34-year old infielder, but if that what it takes to get her done, get her done.
The Phillies payroll is $165 million and a 48-48 record won’t sell many cheese steaks. True, they won seven of their past 10 headed into the break and, like the Giants, they are 6.5 games out. But the Phillies are chasing the Braves, not the Diamondbacks.
My hunch is they would give Lee to the Giants for the right price. Lee, who turns 35 next month, doesn’t come cheap, making $25 million this year and $50 million over the next two years. But Zito will be off the books in 2014 and it’s a no-brainer to bolster a surprisingly struggling rotation.
And that brings me to Tim Lincecum. Are Lincecum’s last two starts a sign that he’s figured out how to pitch with a 91 mile-per-hour fastball? The curveball has become an effective weapon to go along with his repertoire and the 25 strikeouts over the two starts are indicative of a pitcher who has finally figured out there’s more than one way to skin the cat.
Moreover, Lincecum has been solid for the past couple of months with 3.16 ERA over his last eight starts. In fact, I see Lincecum as a microcosm of the entire roster.
Ryan Vogelsong threw a bullpen session recently which indicated he could be headed for a few rehab starts. Bumgarner’s an all-star, enough said. Cain will be fine, unless he’s injured. If he is, disregard everything you’ve read.
It’s no startling revelation that the Giants need more offense. But their problems have been magnified because the team’s usually reliable pitching staff went south. In fact, the Giants 378 runs scored ranks 8th in the National League, around the middle of the pack. They’re not hitting home runs, but what else is new?
The Giants defense was horrible in the first half, ranking 27th in the Majors in field percentage, although the 66 errors were tied for 5th fewest with Milwaukee. But I can dance around these stats all night. In the end, it all comes back to pitching. It remains the Giants strength. And that is why Brian Sabean is on the telephone as you read this.
See you on TV.
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