San Francisco, CA (AP) - The Giants are up to their old tricks again, taking the National League West by storm, as the defending World Series champions look to make another run deep into October.
San Francisco is doing it in ways that are expected, and others that are a complete surprise. First, the expected. The pitching staff is exceptional, showing that last year was no fluke by any standard. The Giants are second in the majors in staff ERA at 3.35. They are also tops in strikeouts with 451. Matt Cain (3-2, 3.47 ERA, 58 K) and Tim Lincecum (5-3, 3.57 ERA, 64 K) are leading the way for the starters. However, the bullpen has been downright dominate. Four relievers boast ERAs under 2.00, and closer Brian Wilson has been a force at the end of games, collecting 17 saves.
The one area that's surprising is San Francisco's hitting. The team leads all of Major League Baseball with a .286 batting average. Pat Burrell has resurrected his career, batting an eye-opening .304. He also leads the team with 11 home runs. Buster Posey is also having a solid sophomore season, with a .275 average and a team high 31 runs batted in.
"We're known for our pitching. But a lot of guys have been stepping up and hitting well," said third baseman Pablo Sandoval. "We've all got our eyes on the prize, winning the World Series was great last year. Now, we want to do it again!"
If the Giants keep playing like this, they're going to be a tough team to contend with when it's playoff time.