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San Francisco Giants: Bust-a-CAP! Posey Wins NL Rookie Of The Year

This year has been a special one for San Francisco Giant fans.

It started out on a crisp day way back in Houston, with the Giants taking all three games from the Astros to start the season.

The Giants jumped out to an early division lead in April and for the first week or so, it looked like the Giants would be flirting with a top Power Ranking spot during the season. 

As we all know, success is short-lived…or is it?

The Giants were not able to keep their division lead and at the All-Star break they were in fourth place, six games behind San Diego who was in first.

No one would have predicted that San Diego would perform like they did this season either, but it was obvious to many that the Padres success was built on a shaky foundation and required too many fine pieces to stay successful.

The team’s schedule was easy anyways, which meant even if they got to the playoffs, they would have faltered. 

The Giants season was the definition of a roller coaster, if ever there was one. San Francisco finally caught up to the Padres after they hit a dry spell and lost ten games in a row.

The Padres success may have been built on shaky ground, but the Giants lived off their incredibly strong pitching staff. This was especially evident during the Postseason. 

But without the offensive force of Buster Posey, the Giants would have been on the couch drinking beer and watching the World Series instead of pouring it over one another. 

Posey finished the year batting .305 with 18 big flies and 67 RBI’s. His stats do look appealing, but they don’t account for the leadership he showed on and off the field as well.

After Bengie Molina was traded midway through the season, Posey was thrust into the fire. He became the full-time catcher after playing mostly first base during his call-up. His personality is impossible not to like unless you are a Dodger fan, and even then it must be hard. He is always humble and puts the team over his personal achievements. 

Posey not only handled a hot bat that resulted in a 21 game hitting streak, but he also had to handle a pitching staff that was the best in the league. It’s not easy catching a freak, an erratic yet affective lefty, a 21-year-old rookie BUM, and a deep-voiced, curly haired Matt Cain who is hardened by the minimal run support he has received over the years. 

Buster Posey was only one of the many pieces that brought the city of San Francisco their first championship, but he accounted for many wins both offensively and defensively.

It feels almost as good to finally have a home-grown offensive threat as it does to be World Champions.

Doesn’t it just make you wanna rage? Like, RIGHT NOW?

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Andre(s) the Giant: Torres Wins the WIllie Mac Award for San Francisco

Andres Torres has been one of the best stories around Major League Baseball this season. He has been a journeyman for his entire career, and was virtually unknown. 

Now, his name is most likely spoken in almost every home belonging to a Giants fan. He has been one of the best clutch players on the Giants, 

Winning this award is a big deal for Giants players, and no one deserves it more than Andres Torres. He has a .270 average, to go along with 16 homers, 62 RBIs, and 25 stolen bases. But to win this award, one has to be more than a paper tiger. 

Andres Torres is a warrior, and his hard work has definitely paid off for him. After almost every game, he can be seen working out in the weight room for around 30 minutes. 

He was a track star in high school, and he caught the eyes of scouts with the way he plays defense. As we all know, his defense has made him a possible gold-glover as well. There was a point during the middle of the season when Torres appeared on the highlight reel for a sliding, diving, or wall-climbing catch every other day. 

Torres has never put up the numbers that he has this season. He has produced more in one year, than he has in his whole career. Torres is quite the character, and he definitely deserved this award. 

As the Giants inch closer to a playoff berth, we can only help the Torres has recovered from his emergency appendectomy. It sure looks like he has. He has two home runs (including one in his first game back), a triple, and a stolen base that forced him to slide on his stomach. 

Torres has been a main part of the Giants offense all year, and a great person on- and off-the-field. His hustle, hard work, and determination has influenced his teammates to vote him into winning the Willie Mac Award.

Just like a fine wine, Andres Torres has gotten better with age. 

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Freaky Mechanics: San Francisco Giants’ Tim Lincecum Fixes Himself Just in Time

He’s baaaacccckkkkkkk!!!!

Looking at Tim Lincecum‘s three starts in September, one would think he is back to Cy Young form. After a horrible 0-5 August record, Lincecum has responded by winning each of his three starts in September. His ERA in August was an abysmal 7.82, compared to 2.09 in September. 

So he’s back on track right?

Well, hold it right there. Sure his stats are back to ace-like form, but how do we know he has really changed?

It’s all in the mechanics. Tim Lincecum relies on his hips for power. The reason he is able to launch a fastball in the low- to mid-90s out of such a small frame is due to the mechanics of his extra long stride and the way his hips open up after release.

He stays balanced throughout his whole motion, which is hard to believe because of how violent of an action it is.

So even if stats don’t lie, there has to be a way where one can find out if Tim Lincecum is truly back in business and not just getting lucky.

Well, as you all know, Lincecum’s velocity has been dropped slightly this year, even though he has shown signs of getting it back up at different points. Since he gets all of his power from his hips, he probably concluded that maybe he wasn’t using them enough. This is an assumption and an attempt to explain the difference in his mechanics I will explain shortly. 

Lincecum might not have even known specifically what he was doing wrong with his mechanics, but he did know he was not getting the results he is so used to getting. 

So what was wrong with him?

He had been overturning before he released the ball. His hips opened up too soon and he did not step straight towards home plate. This caused him to pull the ball slightly and miss location very often. He tried changing numerous aspects of his delivery during his slump, including lifting his hands over his head. This only led to a dragging motion in his arm and although it led to successfully results in the short run, it was not good for his mechanics.

Also, fatigue may have been a factor, but it hasn’t looked like it in his past three starts. This leads me to believe it was mostly his mechanics and lack of confidence that led to such an awful August. 

Lincecum’s problems usually occurred when he tried to muscle the ball to the plate. This led to an unreal amount of walks that have not really been part of Tim’s game. 

How do we know for sure he fixed his problems? Watch the difference in his delivery from the time he faced the Diamondbacks in San Francisco and gave up four runs wearing his high socks, compared to his most recent start against the D-backs 10 days ago.

In his first start, it is noticeable that he is opening up and trying to sling the ball to the plate. In his second start, you can see that he is staying closed longer, and stepping more towards the plate, allowing him to drive the ball, keeping his walk rate down, and his velocity around 93.

Yes folks, Tim Lincecum has regained his form. There is no doubting it, and all signs point to yes. So unless he starts leaving balls over the plate or begins opening up early again, he should be able to lead the San Francisco Giants and their pitching staff to the playoffs. 

And NO ONE wants to face the Giants in a short series because of their rotation. It is now enjoyable to watch Lincecum pitch, and when his turn in the rotation comes around there is a good chance he will deliver a W—just like old times. 

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San Francisco Giants Closer Brian Wilson Should Change-Up His Arsenal

Brian Wilson leads the National League in saves at 39. He has been one of the most consistent closers in all of baseball. 

Consistent you ask?

Well Brian’s version of closing in consistent in a different way than you think. 

Giants fans are witnesses to this.

Almost every time he is asked to save a game, he starts off by putting men on base. Whether he walks them, or gives up a hit, he is always making Giants fans nervous. 

He has a 94 to 99 MPH fastball, along with a cutter and a slider. These pitches are effective enough for him, as his success shows. 

But what if he added another pitch? With the speed he has on his fastball, adding a simple change-up with make him a dynamic big-game pitcher. His strikeout rate would go up and he would get more ground ball double plays if men did get on base against him. 

It seems that sometimes he gets bored out there on the mound, even if it is a close game, and decides he better walk someone. Maybe this amuses him. Who knows.

What we do know is that every time Brian Wilson closes, there is going to be drama. Every Giant fan is sitting on the edge of his or her seat. Usually Brian gets it done, though, and closes out the game safely and soundly. 

But wouldn’t it be nice if Brian retired the side in order more than once in a while?

Imagine if he had a pitch that was in the back of batters’ minds when they started getting strikes on them. They might want to swing earlier in the count and this would let Wilson take full control of the game. 

Batters know that most of the pitches that Wilson throws are over 90 MPH. His slider is effective at changing speeds but it is not a major difference.

If he added a change-up that was 82 to 85 MPH, it would drive hitters crazy. Just a thought for Brian, because it would be appreciated by us Giants fans and Bruce Bochy, who can be seem pacing nervously around the dugout during many of Wilson’s appearances.

If Wilson added a change-up he would not only be more effective at getting saves, but he would also keep Giants fans from any possibility of having a heart attack. 

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MLB: The San Diego Padres Have Lost Their Firm Grip on the NL West

The Padres have been leading the NL West for virtually the whole season. Recently, a week or so ago they extended their lead to 6.5 games over the Giants. 

At this point, the team showed no signs of slowing down. Their pitching was still magnificent and their hitting was getting it done. 

The Padres also seemed to show no signs of having a major weakness, even though they didn’t have a major strong point besides their pitching staff. 

It has surprised me, as a San Francisco Giants fan, that the Padres entire pitching staff has been so successful though. 

Garland? Richard? LeBlanc? Correia? Everyone of these guys has had an average to above average year so far. But how have they continued this success throughout the whole year? Well it may be the teams that they have been playing, and their schedule having a big part of it because they were a last-place team last season.

Their ace, Mat Latos, this season is a rookie. He has been absolutely outstanding the entire season. He has the poise of a veteran out there on the mound, but you have to remember that he is still a rookie. Down the stretch he may falter a bit, but we will have to see.

So what are the reasons for this Padres losing streak? 

Well since the Padres do not have a prolific scoring attack in their arsenal, they rely almost entirely on their pitching. There are exceptions though. Since the Padres have been playing teams with mediocre or worse pitching staffs almost all season, they can still win without a perfect pitching performance.

But now that the Friars schedule has started to get harder, they are faltering a bit. They have been playing small ball all year long, and this has worked when playing weaker teams and by pitching well. How many times have you seen them score on sacrifice flies, RBI groundouts, or heads-up plays? 

Too many to count. That has been a main part of their offense, but things are changing. They can’t play small ball if their pitching fails them against the Phillies or Cardinals, and the Padres don’t have enough of a scoring threat to overcome large deficits.

Once in a while it may happen, but their home ballpark isn’t Coors Field, where all you need is a broom and a whiffle ball to hit one out. They are playing in a pitchers’ friendly ballpark where comebacks are scarce.

They can still overcome this losing streak and win the West, but there is a long road ahead of them.

They have to fend off the pesky Colorado Rockies first, who are slowly creeping up in the standings. Then the Giants come in town for a four-game series on Thursday. This will be a huge part of the season for both teams.

The Giants are now only two games back in the division, and are gradually building momentum, while the Padres have hit a brick wall. 

The Padres have to dig deep to stay in first place and reach the postseason, but with their lack of experience how will they do down the stretch? 

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