So here are some of the things I will remember from the 88 win 2009 San Francisco Giants:
Randy Johnson getting his career 300th win in Washington on June 4th, and that diving throw he made to first base...sacrificing his 46 year old body in the process. I am pretty sure Johnson can still pitch and be somewhat effective (he was 8-6) before his injury which shut him down for almost the reminder of the year, but I think Giants could use someone else like Brad Penny or Madison Bumgardner to take over next season.
Johnathan Sanchez's no hitter on July 10th. I will admit I didn't watch all of this one, I was watching it but decided to make a hot tub run instead and missed the final of the game. I was happy and somewhat shocked that Sanchez got a no no in the first place, seeing as I thought it would be Lincecum or Cain. It was even better because the win came at home and was the first Giants no hitter since 1976. The win also showed other teams that Giants were in the hunt this year and going to the all-star break they were 10 games over .500.
Kung Fu Panda aka Pablo Sandoval. The guy was robbed of being an the all-star team and in his first season he threw up impressive numbers: a .330 batting average (2nd best in the NL), 25 HR and 90 RBI. Also Sandoval is a fan favorite and someone who plays the game with a great passion. I hope he is someone that sticks around for many years with the Giants. I also remember the way I wanted him to make the all-team really bad and all the VOTE PABLO signs up in the stands.
Lincecum and Cain. Now widely considered the top two pitchers in the game Cain and Lincecum showed that they could carry this team. Matt Cain finally showed that with some good luck he is a picther capable of winning he went 14-8 with a 2.89 era and 171K's. The all-star game starter and 08 Cy Young Tim Lincecum also put up amazing numbers this season. He was 15-7 with a 2.48 era and a league leading 261K's. These guys could team up and be the best 1-2 combo in baseball for years to come. The team lead the majors in Complete games, strikeouts and Shut outs and had the second best era in the majors!
Giants made some trades! I was pleased that the Giants didn't just stick with what they had, they owed it to the fans to try and make the postseason. While it didn't work it showed the fans that they were looking to win now. The trade for Ryan Garko seemed like it would give the Giants a better bat at first base. They also got all-star 2nd baseman Freddy Sanchez from the Pirates. Sanchez was good when he played but injures kept him from helping the team as much as he wanted too. Also the Giants made some good moves by getting in veteran pitcher in Brad Penny who was coming off a terrible stint in the AL. Penny went 4-1 with a 2.59 era in six starts for the Giants.
Surprise players. A big one comes to mind here: Juan Uribe. Giants got him for his defense, and the fact that he could play 3B, SS, and 2B but he proved to be a spark plug and helped a lot. He did fill in an many positions and batted .289 with 16hr and 55 RBI's. His walk off shot against the Dodgers on August 12th is something that I will remember.
Eugenio Velez was a late call up this year but still played in most of the games after the all-star break. Velez posted .267, 5 HR, 31 RBI and 11 SB in 84 games.
I would also list Kevin Frandsen on this list but for negative surprise. I thought he would show up and win a spot but his play was bad and he could never get it going. He is a local guy and it would be nice if he could prove his worth, I am just not sure it will happen.
There was a ton of other guys who played great this year who I will mention: Brian Wilson, Jeremy Affledt, Brandon Medders, Sergio Romo, Nate Schierholtz to name a few.
Look to the future: The NL west is proving to be a tough place to play. The Dodgers and Rockies both made the playoffs and finished with more than 90 wins each. The Giants will have to add some bats and also keeping improving on pitching and defense. Here are some of the moves I would like to see this off season:
Let go of the following players:
Rich Aurilia- It was a good run, the city loves this guy and he will always be welcomed at a Giants game. It is just time and he knows it. Thanks for the great years and nice the nice way you could pitch hit later in your career.
Randy Winn- I know he can still play with speed and can catch fire but its time to let him go. He only had 2 home runs and his average dipped to .262 and as the years pass his speed will decrease. I am sure he will catch on somewhere else.
Randy Johnson- Thanks for the 300th victory memory and playing hard but we have a younger guy who can take over now.
Merkin Valdez- He finally stayed healthy for a season but is not the same pitcher who we expected him to be. His era ballooned 5.66.
Need to get a big bat, there is talk of making a trade and getting a big name first baseman but they could try to get a Jason Bay or Matt Holliday type, but who knows if someone will want to play here in a pitcher friendly park. I am torn between resigning Molina. Posey is still a year away from being good and Molina can still manage some power (had 20 hr) but he costs many runs with his slow legs.
This was a great and memorable season and hopefully a stepping stone for more wins and a playoff appearance next year! GO GIANTS!!!