San Francisco Giants Will Take NL West Crown
Since the All-star break, Posey has become the top player in baseball. Not only is he superb behind the plate for a unique starting staff, his offense has ballooned over the last month of play. His numbers since the break are staggering: .464 batting average, 8 homeruns and 30 RBI. He is also riding an 11-game hit streak. This recent stretch has boosted his overall batting average to .328 while he leads the team with 18 homeruns (matching his career high) and 73 RBI.
Yes, the Dodgers have Matt Kemp on the opposite end, but he, nor anyone else in the MLB for that matter, is hitting like Buster currently is. He has homered in five of his last six games and if he is to continue at this pace, the Giants have absolutely nothing to worry about.
One other factor is the current absence of Pablo Sandoval in the Giants lineup as he is attempting to return this weekend from a strained hamstring. Once he returns, this lineup will be that much more potent. With Melky Cabrera leading the MLB in hits and ranking second in batting average, the Giants have the capability of getting on base unlike in years past, which will allow them to compete in any game.
The one question is the survival of the bullpen. Without closer Brian Wilson, Santiago Casilla has struggled to hold down the fort. After beginning the season as one of the top closers in baseball, he has since struggled, blowing four out of seven saves in July while posting a 6.23 ERA. The Giants have elected to go with a closer-by-committee now with Casilla resting a blister on his throwing hand. Jeremy Affeldt and Sergio Romo will handle the closing duties depending on the matchup.
Tim Lincecum has also regained some semblance of his game recently, pitching three quality starts in his last four outings. In his last three wins, he has given up only four runs over the span of 20 innings. If he returns from a forgettable first half, this team will be unstoppable as the rest of the pitching staff has held up their end all season.