EXTRA BAGGS: Giants' modest trade deadline goals

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EXTRA BAGGS: Giants' modest trade deadline goals

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WASHINGTON The Giants could use a right-handed hittingoutfielder or right-handed power at any position, really.

Theyll always troll the waters for right-handed reliefpitching.

But a major addition at the July 31 non-waiver tradedeadline? Another Carlos Beltran?

Dont bet on it.

Yes, the annual Get a bat! cries are about to begin anewfrom Giants faithful after a second consecutive drubbing at Nationals Park. TheGiants are simply not built to win slugfests, and their pitchers are gettingthem tangled in more and more of them away from AT&T Park.

RECAP: Nationals 9, Giants 4

But from what sources tell me, the Giants are not hopeful offinding an everyday player that would supplant one of their current starters.

You never know. A Flyin Hawaiian might fall in their lap.As much as Giants fans are conditioned to hate the Phillies Shane Victorino,hed be a help atop the lineup and in the outfield.

Sources tell me the Phillies havent put him on the marketyet, though. And besides, the Giants dont have another Zack Wheeler tosacrifice, as they did to get Beltran from the New York Mets a year ago. Theirsecond-tier talent isnt that impressive, either.

Even if they did have prospects to trade, it probably wouldbe a prohibitive expense for Giants GM Brian Sabean. Last year was different inthat the Giants were trying to defend a title. If there was any time to go forbroke, it was last year.

This year, the NL West is soft enough and the Giantspitching staff is good enough for them to win it, or at least gain entry withan extra wild card in play. Anything short of that will be a majordisappointment, to be sure.

But you cant afford to shed a Wheeler from your systemevery year. Thats just a dangerous way to operate. (Witness how Wheeler is dominating at Double-A for the Mets this season. He'll start against the Giants' affiliate at Richmond on Thursday, by the way.)

So with a thin system and no real trade chips other thanmaybe Nate Schierholtz, the Giants likely will focus on incremental upgrades.They definitely need more power threats for the bench. And you can never haveenough relief pitching. If they have to eat a contract to get a player, theycan do it. To a certain degree, anyway.

I'm told the Giants aren't going to prioritize an upgrade over Brandon Crawford at shortstop, either. They learned their lesson after doing that last year by acquiring ancient Orlando Cabrera, who was abysmal with the bat and nowhere near as good with the glove. Defense will remain a huge consideration in any move as the Giants move forward. (Besides, Crawford's average is creeping up in recent days.)

What about starting depth? Will they seek a replacement for Tim Lincecum inthe rotation, as Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi suggested? Anything is possible, depending on how Lincecum pitches from this point. But the Giants arent anywhere near thatsituation yet. As Bruce Bochy often says, either your core guys are good enoughor they arent. Lincecum, for all his woes, still remains at the heart of thefranchise.

So dream about those big bats as we cast off into July. Buttemper those expectations.

With Bumgarner sidelined, Blach 'taking full advantage' of opportunity

With Bumgarner sidelined, Blach 'taking full advantage' of opportunity

SAN FRANCISCO -- At some point over the next four days, Madison Bumgarner will pick up a baseball, stand a few feet across from a member of the training staff, and simply play catch. It'll be a huge step in Bumgarner's rehab, and should it go well, a boost to the psyche of a struggling team.

In the meantime, another lefty is making sure the Giants don't suffer too much without their ace, as improbable as that first seemed.

Ty Blach took a shutout into the eighth Saturday night and in true Bumgarner fashion, he added a pair of hits and an RBI. The Giants beat the Braves 6-3. They've won Blach's past three starts, and even with a 10-run outing in Cincinnati mixed in, he has a 3.71 ERA since taking the spot left open by a dirt bike accident.

"Because of what happened he's in the rotation," manager Bruce Bochy said, "And he's taking full advantage."

Blach has shown that long term, he might be a big part of this rotation. It's been years since the Giants locked a young, cost-controlled starter in, and Blach has backed up his big cameo last year. It's possible -- likely even -- that at some point the Giants will need to trade a veteran, perhaps Johnny Cueto, for young bats. Blach provides needed insurance. 

Short term, he's providing a huge boost to a team that doesn't have much going right. Blach has thrown at least seven innings in his past four starts. He has allowed just eight earned runs in four starts since the one in Cincinnati, throwing 28 2/3 innings. 

"I feel good," Blach said. "I've always been a starter, so it's been a pretty easy transition to make. I feel comfortable."

The Giants are comfortable behind him, as evidenced by a half-dozen strong defensive plays Saturday. 

"He's been consistent and he works quickly," first baseman Brandon Belt said. "He's just a great guy to play behind."

Blach even joined in at the plate. He had an RBI single in his first at-bat -- his first big league hit off Not Clayton Kershaw -- and later roped another single. Blach even showed off his wheels, busting it from first to third on Denard Span's ball to the corner before Phil Nevin held him up. 

"I worked into some good counts and I was able to get fastballs," Blach said of his night at the plate. "It's definitely a big confidence booster when your spot comes up and you're able to drive in runs."

The night was straight out of Bumgarner's playbook, and it was needed. The Giants had dropped five of six, but Blach was backed by homers from Nick Hundley and Brandon Belt. It got a little hairy late, but the bullpen held on, clinching Blach's third win of the season. He looks poised for many more, and Bochy is happy to keep running him out there.

"I'm not surprised by what he's doing," the manager said.

 

Instant Analysis: Blach does it all vs Braves, Giants snap skid

Instant Analysis: Blach does it all vs Braves, Giants snap skid

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SAN FRANCISCO — This spot in the rotation is the one reserved for the stopper, the pitcher who takes a game by the throat when his team really needs it. 

Ty Blach took the mound Saturday for a team that had lost five of six, and just as Madison Bumgarner often has, Blach ended the skid. The young lefty was dominant into the eighth and the bats finally provided enough support. The Giants won 6-3, tying this weekend series with the Braves.

Here are five things to know from a night we were reminded that Emilio Bonifacio is in the big leagues … 

--- Blach pitched 7 2/3 innings. He has thrown at least seven innings in his last four starts, and five of seven starts overall. Jeff Samardzija (6) is the only Giants starter who has gone that deep more often. Blach is tied with Johnny Cueto for second-most seven-inning starts on staff, and Cueto has made three additional starts. 

--- Blach’s RBI single in the fourth was -- at the time -- the fourth hit of his career, and the first against a pitcher not named Clayton Kershaw. The ball had an exit velocity of 101 mph. Blach tried to score from first on Denard Span’s double, but Phil Nevin held him. Still, the way he was moving, it makes you wonder if Samardzija really is Bruce Bochy’s best pitcher-pinch-running option. In the seventh, Blach picked up a second single. 

--- Blach’s only bad start has been the one he made in Cincinnati, where the Giants played like a Double-A team. If you take that one out, Blach has a 2.21 ERA since taking over Bumgarner’s rotation spot. 

--- Even though he gave up just two earned in 7 2/3, Blach’s home ERA actually went up. It’s 1.75, which ranks seventh in the National League. The sellout crowd gave Blach a standing ovation when he was pulled in the eighth. 

--- Blach had a season-high five strikeouts. When he got Nick Markakis to end the first, Blach ended a streak of 37 left-handers faced without a strikeout. He later struck out another lefty, Matt Adams. The new Braves first baseman came up as the tying run in the eighth but Derek Law got him to ground out to first. 

--- Bonus sixth “thing to know” ... on Blach of course: His first name is Tyson, not Tyler. It’s Tyson Michael Blach.