For the first time in 2 months, the San Francisco Giants won a series at home vs. the Washington Nationals, and like always, it was the pitching that led the way. Barry Zito made his first start of the second half and it was a success. I know I shouldn't be saying that when your so called ace scrapes out a quality start, you shouldn't be praising him, but that's become the case with Zito. Matt Cain did a little more of good ol' fashion dominating in his start yesterday. Cain's seesaw year continues as he seems to keep following up sub-par starts with dominant ones. As a matter of fact, over his last 5 games, Cain has gone shutout, loss, shutout, loss and shutout again, in that order. If only he could start stinging together some of these dominant starts like Tim Lincecum did in the first half of the year, he'd really start coming into his own. Cain's ERA is falling though and he's almost back to .500, a place he hasn't seen much of over the last 2 seasons.
However, Cain and Zito weren't the only ones to come through on the mound this week though. The young bullpen that seems to get younger each week put together a nice series vs. the Nats. Alex Hinshaw has been nails since he arrived back in May and the Giants may have found a right-handed counterpart to him Sergio Romo has been very good since his promotion as well. He has 9 K's and has only allowed 6 hits and 2 earned runs though 9 2/3 innings pitched. He's not striking out quite as many as Hinshaw, but he's proving equally hard to hit and score off of.
Another trade rumor surfaced in recent days as we inch closer and closer to the July 31st trade deadline. According to CNNSI.com, the Giants have expressed interest in Texas Rangers' third basemen Hank Blalock. The 27 year-old would fit the Giants mold of trying to get younger, and would give them a pretty legit power bat at third base for the first time since Matt Williams, but Blalock comes with some red flags as well. He hasn't put together a healthy, full season in a couple of years and he hasn't been really productive or been a high impact player ever since he hit that home run in the All-Star game in Chicago in 2005. Another cog in any potential Blalock deal would be the return the Rangers would want. Texas knows that the market for 3rd basemen is going to be small this winter and Blalock will be a commodity. I have a hard time believing they'd part with him for anything short of a few sure thing starting pitchers. One name that comes to mind immediately is Noah Lowry, whom the Rangers have expressed interest in during the past. Lowry is still recovering from elbow surgery and probably won't pitch in the bigs this year, but that doesn't mean his name won't be discussed in trade rumors. I'd think a package of maybe Schierholtz and Lowry could get Blalock, but that's too much to part with on the Giants half. The Rangers and Giants just don't match up well for trading and I highly doubt that Blalock goes anywhere before the deadline, just had to throw it out there.
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