Back in 2005-2006, the NL West was widely regarded as one of the weaker divisions in the game. Then 2007 came around and 2 teams from the West made the playoffs, and all of the sudden the NL West was starting to look like the class of the National League. However, as we sit in mid-July in the 2008 season, not a single team in the division is sporting a record higher than .500. In fact, both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks are tied for first place, both at 45-46 and even though the San Francisco Giants are over 10 games below .500, they sit only 6 games back of first. In a way, it makes it exciting to watch games knowing your team is only a handful of games out of contention, but I think it could be hurting the Giants a little in this case. It would still take a small miracle for this team to work itself into a position to make the playoffs but right now, Bruce Bochy and Co. are taking that approach. I'd hate to see the Giants hold onto their veterans come the July 31st trade deadline just for the simple fact that they are still within striking distance of first place. This year is supposed to be a rebuilding season and I would much rather see Travis Denker, Jon Bowker, and Emmanuel Burris getting the bulk of the playing time over the likes of Rich Aurilia, Ray Durham, and Omar Vizquel. Not that Aurilia and Durham have been struggling, but they aren't going to be here next season, and the Giants need to be focusing on the future. So whether the Giants are 5 games back or 15 out come July 31, they should approach as sellers, and fully plan on playing the youth full time over the last 2 months of the season.

Another guy who figures into the Giants future (whether they like it or not) is Barry Zito. It looked like Zito had turned the corner with his first start in July with a 7 inning, 2 hit, 10 strikeout performance. In Thursday's start, Zito took another step back. Once again, the overpriced lefty was bitten hard with wildness and barely made it through 5 innings while walking 6 and throwing over 100 pitches. It seems like every time Zito makes a good start, one that you think he can build on, he always follows it up with a couple rough ones. He wasn't the only one to take a loss in New York though. All-Star Tim Lincecum also got lit up in his start on Tuesday as he suffered his second loss of the season. Lincecum still has as good a shot as Volquez and Webb at starting the all-star game for the NL, but this latest outing certainly won't help the matter.

The Giants Baseball Blog-

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