Five Giants essential to postseason berth

Five Giants essential to postseason berth
August 16, 2012, 8:08 pm
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Melky Cabreras absence undoubtedly leaves a big hole in theGiants lineup, one that will be impossible to fill completely. But evenwithout their former All-Star right fielder, the Giants are still in the huntfor a postseason berth. However, San Francisco will need other players to rise to theoccasion and steady the team in the wake of the suspension of their besthitter.Buster Posey
Buster Posey is now the Giants offensive leader and it would be ludicrous toexpect him to improve on what is already turning into a career season: a .330AVG and 76 RBI for their All-Star catcher. Posey simply needs to do what he hasbeen doing all season -- keep hitting. He is not known for having an outspokenpersonality, but he leads this team by example and can galvanize the Giantsclubhouse down the stretch by virtue of his on-field performance.
Gregor Blanco
Gregor Blanco will be getting more starts in left field as Cabreras defensivereplacement. Nobody expects Blanco to even come close to the same offensivenumbers that Cabrera recorded, but Giants fans know he does need to step up hisgame at the plate. Blanco's .236 average is not good, but if he can do thelittle things like get on base more, advance runners, and limit hisstrike-outs, the speedy Blanco can contribute.
Tim Lincecum
As far as the numbers go (6-13, 5.45), this is a lost season for Tim Lincecum.Bad as his numbers may be, he has shown flashes of his former self, with theoccasional shut-down outing. Lincecum can help by not getting into troubleearly in games, putting the Giants' now-weakened offense under the gun. Thisissue has been his Achilles heel for much of this season.
Hunter Pence
Hunter Pence was brought to the Giants as the offensive weapon that would givethe team the power bat that they have always wanted. Pence disappointedinitially, and in a big way. He is still batting just .177 in the month ofAugust with the Giants, but has showed signs of life since his game-winningthree-run homer against the Rockies on Aug.12. Pence needs to live up to the organizations expectations -- which can be atall order for any player -- and add that home run power that the Giants are sosorely lacking.
Brandon Belt
Brandon Belt has been heating up. His average has been climbing steadily forthe last couple of weeks and is up to .267 after going 15-for-30 in his lastnine games. That said, Belt has a reputation for being streaky and has not hadthe full confidence of Giants brass or the fans. Now would be the perfect timefor him to prove to the team that he can be consistent. If Belt can maintainhis current average with the timely hitting that he has been showing recently,the Giants' postseason hopes will be enhanced.

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