The Miami Marlins did not end their first half of the season on the note on the right note. They got swept by the New York Mets going into the All-Star break and are hoping to turn things around after a nice little breather. The Marlins will have the San Francisco Giants in for a 3-game series to start the second half of their season.
To help preview the series we reached out to friend of Marlin Maniac, Melissa Felkins for a quick chat on what to expect in the series. Melissa is the editor of the Fansided Giants site, Around the Foghorn. AtF does a phenomenal job of covering the Giants, from perennial MVP candidate Buster Posey to the long hair of Tim Lincecum.
Here is the conversation I had with Melissa:
Marlin Maniac: On June 1st, the Giants had a 7.5 game lead on the Dodgers for the NL West. They now trail the Dodgers by a game coming out of the All-Star break. What happened for the Giants to collapse like they did?
Melissa Felkins: Injuries and just timing. I mean, losing Brandon Belt for all those weeks hurt, and once again, having Pagan out of the lineup and out of the leadoff spot makes a world of difference. Overall though, I just think tired (and old bodies) all just decided to slump at the same time. It’s baffling for Giants fans really, but we’re still in a good position to reset after the break. They’re slowing coming out of it, I think.
MM: By his standards, Buster Posey is having a bad season. What has the issue been for him and what can he do to turn things around?
MF: My personal belief is that he’s just having a slump that most players go through. We’re seeing his human side, his side that makes errors. I mean, he’s had such an amazing first four seasons that fans expect a lot of from. I think he’ll figure it out before the season ends. I think he’s getting to the age where the body does different things, too. He’s also got twin 3-year olds running around at home, so I think balancing injuries, tiredness, toddlers, and holding up your entire team has probably just worn him down. I never really worry about Buster though.
MM: The MLB draft was over a month ago. Do you feel the Giants drafted well and how are their draftees doing in pro-ball so far? Any names that could make a huge impact down the road?
MF: I’m very anxious to see Tyler Beede, their first round pick who is a RHP. He just won a College World Series with Vanderbilt and I liked the way he looked. They just finished signing him. He’s 6’4 and 215 lbs, so he’s about the size of Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, with a little less weight. If he adds on some good muscle weight, and shows he has some endurance like those guys, he could have a bright future with San Francisco.
MM: The July trade deadline is fast approaching and with the Giants in contention for another World Series ring, what kind of moves are they looking to make?
MF: 2B is obviously a big hole for us. We just DFA’d Brandon Hicks who was the everyday second baseman until recently. Marco Scutaro is back, but he’s never going to be an everyday player again and there isn’t anyone on the bench who can do that just yet. They may look for a short-term guy to fill the everyday role for a season or two until Joe Panik is fully ready to fill it.
Otherwise, the Giants need a true leadoff hitter/center fielder and have been looking at starting pitching. Aside from Matt Cain, I’m perfectly fine with our rotation right now since Lincecum and Vogelsong have been pitching better than expected.
MM: Can you give us a quick scouting report on the pitchers the Marlins will face this series?
MF: Well, you’ll get two 2014 All Stars and a two-time Cy Young Award winner in Bumgarner, Hudson, and Lincecum.
Bumgarner has faced some struggles this season, but he’s still the best pitcher on our staff and he’s hard to beat if he gets any run support. He’s also pretty deadly with the bat at times coming off his second grand slam this season.
Tim Hudson has exceeded expectations fans had from him coming in this season. At some points this season, he has been our best pitcher and still comes in with a 2.87 ERA. He has a low walk rate, but the season has wore on him at times. Overall though, one of best offseason pickup Sabean has made in a long time.
Tim Lincecum is dealing right now. He’s not the same Lincecum that won two Cy Young Awards, but he’s sporting a 2.83 ERA in his last 10 games since late May, including another No-Hitter against San Diego. He’s not going to blow a ball past you very often anymore, but the Giants have won his last 4 starts, so he’s figuring something out.
MM: Any bold predictions for the series? Can the Giants take back first place from the Dodgers during their trip to Miami?
MF: I think they’ll come back rested and we’ll see a few more home runs than we have lately from them, especially away from AT&T Park. I think the Giants will take the series 2-1, and since the Dodgers are playing the tough Cardinals, they have a good chance of regaining the lead or a tie. But I don’t think it will matter much. I fully expect the Giants and Dodgers to go back and forth the rest of the season, barring something horrible happening to either team.
There you have it. We want to thank Melissa for giving us such great insight into the Giants, and remember to check out Around the Foghorn for all the latest Giants’ news and notes. Hopefully the Marlins can start the second half of the season on the right note.