Ratto: Ranking Giants' second-half keys

July 13, 2011, 8:20 pm
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July 13, 2011


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Youre sitting there on the back edge of your couch, waiting for Carlos Beltran. Brian Wilson said you could have him, right there during the All-Star Game and you never doubt a single thing the good Swami Saveananda tells you.In short, you have issues that cant really be addressed in this small space..But on the off-chance that the Giants cant make Brandon Belt and picking up Beltrans remaining 8.5M stand up against the expected onslaughts from the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers and Phillies, lets consider instead what they have, and theyre going to need from what they have, between now and the final table.In order of importance, and set by your author, and not to encourage some sort of dialogue, because frankly, this is the correct list:
RATTO: A's stagger into season's second half

1. Matt Cain: Someone is going to have to be the bloodless stopper for this rotation, which frankly, has been running at about 70 percent efficiency, and Cain spent the All-Star Break topping off on the oil, hydraulic fluids and windshield washer for the rest of the trip. If he breaks down, the Giants break down.2. Aubrey Huff: Not much production, either with power or with simple getting-on-base-i-tude. If he has a second half of any quality in him, it should start, well, sort of now-ish.3. Sergio RomoRamon RamirezJeremy AffeldtJavier LopezSantiago CasillaGuillermo Mota: Because they have been doing yeomans work of the most extraordinary kind getting the Giants from their starters to Ulysses S. Grant, and if any of them lose their yeo between now and then, the whole enterprise could collapse.4. Tim Lincecum: His numbers are as bad as his record, but any faltering is considered the end of his career by those who think the panic button is actually the enter key. The Giants are built on the assumption that four of their five starters are going to be lights out, and Lincecums bulb, while still shining, isnt giving off all the lumens it should.5. Pablo Sandoval: More of his redemptive first half is required, so he doesnt look like a guy who needs to be constantly whipped to perform, and so that the Giants arent turning 2-1 wins into 1-0 losses.6. Cody Ross: The home runs take care of themselves.7. Rasputin: Three blown saves already, which means hes allowed three more.8. Nate Schierholtz: Hes not a regularly capable four-hitter, but he is now better than a fourth outfielder. At least hed better be if the Giants dont want to lament their inability to close the Beltran deal.9. Eli WhitesideChris Stewart: Because catchers do grow on trees, but there arent many trees out there.10. Andres Torres: There are those who think too little and those who think too much. Torres is one of the latter, but maybe if he stops thinking about going bad, hell start going good again.11. Miguel Tejada: This is his salarynew contract drive -- in case hes not motivated solely by showing he can be of greater help to this team.12. Jonathan Sanchez: At some point, hell be back. If he brings his friends Ball One, Ball Two, Ball Three and Ball Four, even Doctor Seuss will hate him.13. Madison BumgarnerRyan Vogelsong: Only one of the two really needs a dominant second half, and it doesnt really matter which one.14. Brian Sabean: Needs to have a trigger, needs to be ready to pull it.15. Belt: The most tradable non-major-league piece. He may serve going as well as coming. Although if Huff cant snap out of it, Belt might have to become the everyday first baseman again.16. The schedule: Favors Arizona down the stretch, so having a nice lead on 91 cant hurt. Of course, San Diego had a nice lead last 91 and, well, you know.17. Aaron RowandPat BurrellEmmanuel Burriss: You can win without a bench, but the 2002 Giants didnt have a bench and lost to the Angels. The 2010 Giants did, and well, you know.18. Brandon Crawford: If he catches the ball and throws the ball, nobody will mind that he hasnt yet mastered the hitting the ball thing.19. Bruce Bochy: He was smart before he got here, hes smart now, and hell be smart in September. He doesnt play, though, and in baseball, brains are defined by quantifiables like runs and outs and wins. Not ruining the bullpen is still Job 1, and he hasnt ruined a bullpen even in years when he didnt have one to ruin.20. Bob-Tie Billy Neukom: Resisting the impulse to be Jerry Jones is vital here. He has two jobs -- saying, We can afford it, or saying We cant afford it. This might be tough given that he doesnt have the distraction of sniveling about a new ballpark, and may have way too much time on his hands, but him going along for the ride worked a year ago, and theres no reason to think it wont again.21. Duane KuiperJon MillerMike KrukowDave FlemmingTito FuentesErwin Higueros: As more and more of the teams games go national, theyll have to bump up their original-insights-per-game numbers. We all know how people reflexively reel when theyre not getting their Giantsiana from The Boys, so panic may result if theyre not at the top of their laryngeal powers down the stretch. One blown double play call, and it could all go crashing down on them all.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.