The general consensus was that when the Giants called up Travis Ishikawa and Pablo Sandoval a couple weeks ago, it was the beginning of the Giants youth movement and that this team was definitely on it's way to a 100 loss season. However, that has not been the case. The Giants have actually been a winning ball club since the arrival of the rookie catcher and first basemen and both of them have been a big part of it. Sandoval, who has been raking the ball everywhere he's been since spring training this year, hasn't missed a beat since he's arrived in the major leagues. Sandoval was hitting nearly .340 in the minors this season, and although it's only been a small sample, he's looked even better since his promotion. The 21 year-old catcher/1st basemen/3rd baseman has gone 14-32 so far and has helped the Giants to a 8-4 record since he joined the team on August 13th. Ishikawa hasn't been quite as impressive as Sandoval, but has still looked good at times. He isn't hitting for the average that Sandoval is, but he does have 2 impressive home runs and 6 RBI in his first 30 at-bats. Look for Ishikawa to still get the majority of looks at first base, at least until Jon Bowker gets back from Fresno, but he's going to have to start hitting more consistently if he wants to continue getting the bulk of the pt there over the last month of the season.
The Giants starting pitching has been especially impressive over these last few weeks as well. So well in fact, that even Barry Zito netted two wins in one week. It took him more than the seasons' first two months to get 2 victories, so that just goes to show you how much better he's thrown in the second half. The rotation did take a hit earlier this week when Jonathon Sanchez was placed on the 15-day DL. Sanchez had been struggling mightily since the all-star break, so whether he really does have some sort of injury, or the Giants are giving him a few weeks rest is still a mystery. I don't have any problem with sitting Sanchez down for a few weeks if there is something going on with his shoulder but if they are just resting him to avoid having him throw too many innings, that's another story. Sanchez is at 135 innings pitched for the year which is more than he's thrown in his big league career, but the Giants should still shoot to get 160+ innings from him this year so he can be prepared for a bigger workload next year. Either way, Sanchez should be back at some point in mid-August and hopefully he can get another 3 or 4 starts in 2008.
Notes: Noah Lowry has been throwing off of a mound lately and he is still holding out hope that he'll be able to make a start or 2 at the end of this season. I'd give it about a 10% chance of happening, but it's good news to see Lowry throwing off of a mound for the first time since spring training, without any problems. If the Giants keep their staff intact, they could have the makings of a dominant rotation next season (Lincecum-Cain-Sanchez-Zito-Lowry)
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