Even though they failed to pull off the sweep on Wednesday, the Giants beat the Marlins two out of three times this week en route to pulling off yet another series victory.

The big bright spot in the series for the Giants was Barry Zito's magnificent start on Tuesday night. The Giants 18 million dollar fifth starter put forth one of his best
efforts since dawning a Giants uniform in 2007, going 8 1/3 scoreless in his victory over Florida. This start was a huge one for a few different reasons. With Randy Johnson recently hitting the disabled list, the Giants are going to be without their #2 starter for the next couple of weeks, and while The Unit is out, the Giants need their starters to step it up a bit. The two guys in particular who will have the spotlight on them are Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez, who's taking Johnson's spot just about 10 days after he lost his own spot in the starting rotation. Although he won three games in the month, Barry Zito did not have a particularly strong June, as he 5.81 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP in the month. The Giants are going to need him to be more like the Zito from May, in which he sported a 3.53 era spanned out over 40 innings of work. Sanchez has really struggled in the rotation all season long, but he had a few nice outings out of the bullpen, and maybe this time off will get him focused again. If the Zito and Sanchez do not pull their weight, the Giants rotation isn't going to be the strength that they have been throughout the season.

While they did do just enough to give the Giants the series victory, the team's offense didn't necessarily have their best offensive series vs. the Marlins. They mustered only 8 runs, as they were shutout in the final game on Wednesday, and part of the reason for that was due to Aaron Rowand's struggles at the plate recently. The Giants leadoff hitter could do no wrong for the first few weeks he was moved to the top spot in the batting order, but over the last four games, Rowand has sort of disappeared offensively. He went 0-11 with 3 K's and just one walk in the three-game set with Florida, and because of it, his batting average has dipped below .290 for the first time since late-May. Not that I'm panicking whatsoever about Rowand's mini-slump, just pointing out why the offense has been somewhat stagnant over the last couple of days.

Vote For Panda: Also, remember tonight is the last night to vote for Pablo Sandoval to get the
final National League All-Star team roster spot. It's basically coming down to Pablo Sandoval or Shane Victorino from Philadelphia, and I believe Sandoval still has the slight edge in total votes right now, but a lot can change over the next 12-24 hours. Sandoval's numbers trump Victorino's in every single category besides stolen bases and runs scored, not too mention Sandoval has the versatility to play three positions and play them all pretty well. If Sandy doesn't get the nod, I would rather it go to Matt Kemp or Mark Reynolds, as those two have been much more deserving than Victorino in my opinion... Anyway, get to the online polls and vote for Pablo Sandoval, as he definitely deserves it!

Trevor Cole The Giants Baseball Blog

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