Congratulations, Giants fans, you got it right. In our poll last month, 66% of you voted for a middling 11-20 wins in May, overwhelming the 11 readers who anticipated 21-29 wins and 9 pessimists who predicted 0-10 wins. Of the 29 games played at AT&T Park, Dodger Stadium, Chase Field, Miller Park, and Lisa Frank Wonderland (er, Marlins Park), the Giants only took 15 wins.
Of course, that means they also finished with 14 losses; not too bad, if your goal is just to keep your head above water. With news of Matt Kemp‘s 4-week vacation to the disabled list, it looks like San Francisco will finally have a shot at overtaking L.A. for the division lead. In May, they clung to second place at a respectful 5.5 game distance, splitting their record 8-8 at home and 7-6 on the road.
Despite putting up a 4-game losing streak at the beginning of the month, the Giants managed to boost their run support from 90 to 114 runs, with an extra 39 walks, 10 stolen bases, and 20 RBI. This was due in large part to the breakout of Melky Cabrera, who shattered Willie May’s 49-hit record in the month of May with 51 hits, tying Randy Winn for the most hits collected by a San Francisco Giant in a single month. Following an April where he produced a .300/.366/.422 batting line, Melky hit .429/.457/.647 with 16 extra bases and 17 RBI.
Even with the padded offense of Cabrera, Angel Pagan, and Gregor Blanco, the team has felt the loss of Pablo Sandoval. Sandoval landed on the DL just two games into May with yet another hamate bone surgery, leaving Manny Burriss, Conor Gillaspie, and Charlie Culberson to cover the corners. By the middle of the month, the Giants’ front office was reportedly so desperate for a viable third baseman that they initiated talks with Melvin Mora. But, that’s a subject for another day.
On the other side of the infield, Brandon Belt saw 7 more starts in May than April, given Aubrey Huff‘s mental health days and a split with Brett Pill and Buster Posey. Unfortunately, even with a soaring 14 walks in 80 PA, his batting line dipped from .278/.366/.389 to .203/.338/.313 with just 13 hits and 5 extra bases. He is also one of three position players on the team without a home run this season (Theriot and Burriss make up the rest of the list, if you can believe it).
As always, what the Giants lack in offensive power they make up for in pitching. Here are the numbers at a glance:
Tim Lincecum: 1.57 WHIP, 4.07 FIP, 1.67 K/BB
Madison Bumgarner: 1.12 WHIP, 3.32 FIP, 5.00 K/BB
Matt Cain: 1.16 WHIP, 2.51 FIP, 5.00 K/BB
Barry Zito: 1.68 WHIP, 5.03 FIP, 1.00 K/BB
Ryan Vogelsong: 1.25 WHIP, 3.84 FIP, 1.37 K/BB
Lincecum is still struggling to return to 2011 form. On Wednesday, one of his better days, he went 7 innings for 4 hits, 2 runs, 5 walks, and 6 strikeouts. Should your faith waver in him, however, just take a look at Matt Cain’s numbers. He ranks 10th in MLB with his 2.51 FIP—other than that, what else is there to say but MATT CAIN?
Ryan Vogelsong has maintained fairly solid performances over this month as well, earning the team’s fourth shutout of the year against the A’s, a 2-1 win over Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers, and a 14-8 performance in Miami. In the bullpen, Santiago Casilla is still receiving the bulk of save opportunities, with 10 saves in 14 appearances this month and 14 of 24 overall. Sergio Romo sat out for two games with a subluxed patella (an unstable kneecap, to quote CSN’s Rael Enteen), but is expected to return on Friday against the Cubs.
As we move from May to June, the Giants face the return of Pablo Sandoval, the all-but-guaranteed All Star nomination of Melky Cabrera, and a very likely run at first place. What are you expecting from the team in the weeks to come?