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Article:SF Giants Can't Handle LA Angels

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The Giants had been on a roll coming into their recent 3-game set with the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night, riding a 9-3, 12 game stretch to start June. However, the Giants are still a flawed team, despite their play of late, and the Angels really exposed their weaknesses, and swept the NL Wild-Card leaders in their own house.

Now, in two of those games, it was really just bad outings by the starters. Barry Zito had his worst start of the season, giving up 7 runs in the fourth
Tim Lincecum
inning of Monday night's ballgame, and despite a nice offensive charge late in the ballgame, the Giants just couldn't make up the deficit. Jonathan Sanchez followed Zito's rough outing with almost an identical line, giving up 6 earned runs in less than 4 innings of work, while yielding 10 base hits. Tim Lincecum did provide a nice start in the final game of the set on Wednesday afternoon, but the Angels got to him in 8th inning, and gave the '08 NL Cy Young winner his second loss of the season. The Giants offense really didn't do much to help Lincecum's cause either. They scored only three runs, and missed out on a few different opportunities to get some insurance runs in, and just couldn't get it done. One positive sign though, was Travis Ishikawa, who homered for the second time this season as part of a 2-3 afternoon for the Giants' first basemen. Despite sporadic playing time, Ishi's quietly raised his average about 60 points in his last 10 games, from .219 on May 23rd, to .276 on June 18th. The starting pitching was really the problem in the first two games of the series though. Zito has been throwing the ball pretty well for the most part this year, so I'm not overly concerned with his start, but Sanchez is a different story. He really just can't seem to f
Pucetas, Kevin
ind any kind of groove this year whatsover. Sanchez has only had two "quality starts" this year, and none since May 20th. Things are progressively getting worse for the Giants 26 year-old lefty, and it's starting to cause some talk of possibly removing him from the rotation. Bruce Bochy said that's not going to happen quite yet, but did imply that things need to get better in a hurry for Sanchez or else there would need to be some changes made. If Sanchez has another rough start or 2, in which he can't make it through the fifth inning, the Giants may turn to another option.

A few guys who could be in line if Sanchez is moved to the Pen or down to Fresno for a while are Kevin Pucetas and Henry Sosa. Pucetas is 6-2 with a 3.40 ERA and .244 BAA in Fresno right now, but has really been nails in 4 of his last 5 starts. In that span, he went 26 innings, allowing only 1 run. Pucetas isn't really a guy who's going to blow his fastball by hitters and doesn't strike many batters out, but he's got 23 strikeouts over his last 30 innings pitched, so that are is improving as well. In 12 starts in AA Connecticut, Henry Sosa has gone 6-0 while sporting a 2.61 era and .237 BAA. He's also starting to go 6 innings with more consistency, after hovering around 4-5 innings per start in the first month of the year. I think the Giants would lean towards Pucetas, just because of his control and success at Triple-A, but Sosa could very well be second on that last. And I don't think the Giants are quite ready to bring top prospects Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson up to the Major League level quite yet, despite their success in AA.

Trevor Cole The Giants Baseball Blog- A San Francisco Giants Blog and Fan Website

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