Talking Giants Baseball: A San Francisco Giants/Baseball Blog: Baseball’s Halfway Questions/

Friday, July 1, 2011

Baseball’s Halfway Questions/

By Max Frankel, Sean Morash

This time, I thought we would have a little fun since today is the official half-way point of the year for 15-out-of-30 teams (the Giants being one of them). Here is another Feed Crossing article from two writers who made some insightful midyear predictions.


It’s the unofficial halfway point of the MLB season.   How many of you knew that after tonight 15 of the league’s 30 teams will have played at least their 81st game, remember that 81 is half of 162?  That means its time for the typical midseason questions (surprises etc).

Most Surprising Team? 

Sean:  For me this has to be the Twins.  I know we think about surprises as generally positive things but I’m most surprised by the total ineptitude of the Twins thus far this year.  If you had told me at the beginning of the year that the Twins would be in fourth place, and have a 34-45 record at the halfway point, I would have called you an idiot.  They have to win 11 straight games just to pull within a half game of the slightly less surprising Pirates!

Max: It’s got to be the Pittsburgh Pirates. They’re a game over .500 and only three out in the NL Central. That’s pretty good for a team that hasn’t had a winning season since the Hoover Administration. Charlie Morton has 5 more wins than he did all of last season, Jeff Karstens’ ERA is below three, and Kevin Corriea has 10 wins. That’s surprising. (Honorable Mention: Seattle Mariners)

Most Surprising Player?

Sean:  Lance Berkman.  Berkman looked old, fat, and washed up at times last year when

he hit .248 with a career low 14 homers. This year? He’s been one of the best hitters in the game. On pace for 36 homers, and a .295 batting average, .404 OBP, and he’s playing a serviceable outfield.

Max: David Ortiz. I know it’s strange that we both picked resurgent veterans but I’m truly surprised by Ortiz. I honestly thought he was washed up. After the starts he’s had to the last two seasons and the the general mediocrity of last year as a whole, I though this year would be obvious evidence of a decline. Instead, Ortiz looks rejuvenated. His swing is back and pitchers just can’t get him out. He’s batting .307 with 17 HRs and even has his first stolen base since 2008.

Most Suprising Move:

Sean:  Cardinals release Opening Day closer Ryan Franklin.  Franklin played his way out of the closer’s role and then out of total usage for St Louis. He had an 8.36 ERA over his past 10 appearances (spanning 48 days) and really was bad, but to completely release a guy who was an All-Star closer in the past and has racked up some 92 saves over the past three years seems like the wrong roster move.

Max: The San Francisco Giants sending Brandon Belt Back to the minor leagues. It’s not surprising that they did it, it’s surprising that they had to. A lot of people thought Belt would be an impact player for San Francisco this season and really bolster the team. The Giants believed that so much they forced their top power hitter to change positions. Belt will be back, but early this season just wasn’t the right time for him.

Most Surprising Surprise?

Sean: The Year of the Dominant Pitcher.   We knew offense was down last year and we knew that was a trend we may see going forward, but the difference has been astounding.  Run scoring is down over a half a run per game from last year and over a run per game from 2009.

Max: I don’t know what to say. I don’t even understand the question.

Most Awesome Thing?

Sean:  Logan Morrison calling out Brian Sabean for Scott Cousins.  Part of the quote:  “It’s ignorant, it’s inappropriate and he has no idea what the hell he’s talking about.”  LoMo silenced most of the criticism and baseball nonsense that surrounded Cousins’ hard-nosed play that unfortunately ended in the Posey injury.  We had no-no’s and three home run games, but we have that every year.  Not every year do we have scandal like this.

Max: On June 20, Tim Hudson of the Atlanta Braves pitched 8 innings of shutout, two-hit baseball and whacked a two-run home run in route to a 2-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. For some reason, that reminds me of the story about Sandy Koufax waving in his outfielders and then infielders before striking a batter out to end an inning. Awesome.

Favorite Stat: 

Sean:   Cliff Lee had more RBI (2)  in June than runs allowed (1) and he had 42.0 IP.

Max: The Yankees are 2.5 games up in the AL East (Yeah!! Woooo!)

Lamest Thing

Sean:  The Phillies are in first.  Count me among those who root against the Phillies.  I make no bones about it and I was kinda hoping that the Phillies would get the Miami Heat treatment this year but they’re treated like
 everyone else and still have the best record in baseball.

Max: Josh Hamilton, Josh Johnson, Buster Posey, Albert Pujols, Shin Soo Choo, Derek Jeter, and Carl Crawford, have missed or are missing extended time this season. Those guys are so much fun to watch that baseball is slightly worse without them in it. Get well soon guys, if not, for your teams than for the fans.

Be sure to visit Off The Bench for more great baseball articles.

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