The Giants seem to be hitting their stride one week before the All-Star Break. They have won seven of their last ten games and have taken over first place in the NL West from the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. A big factor in passing Los Angeles was the three-game sweep of the Dodgers in San Francisco in which they shut out the Dodgers in all three games for the first time in franchise history. Let's recap the Giants season thus far by position and move on the infield.
The Giants infield has struggled for a good part of this season. Injuries, poor play, and inconsistent lineups have all created uneasiness amongst Giants fans. Every first baseman has been relatively ineffective, the middle infield hasn't produced, and Pablo Sandoval missed a month due to injury.
However, led by starting catcher for the All-Star team Buster Posey, the Giants infield has definitely come around in the last month. After suffering a devastating ankle injury last season, Posey has shown that he is healthy and is raking. With a .303 average, 10 homers, and 42 RBI's, Posey has been great in the cleanup spot.
Brandon Belt has finally come around over the last month, showing the ability that made him a top prospect in all of baseball a few years ago. The Giants have finally taken the training wheels off of Belt and are letting him start nearly every day. The decision to play him consistently is paying off. Over the last 30 days, Belt leads the team with a .320 average, four homers, and 15 RBI's. Belt's contributions have been huge for an offense that has generally struggled to score runs over the past five or so years.
Ryan Theriot is another player that has finally come around, hitting like he is capable of hitting. Theriot got off to a very rough start with the Giants, even losing the starting job to Manny Burriss before and after Theriot was on the disabled list. But over the last 30 days, Theriot has hit .298 and even has 8 steals. His defense has come around as well, and Theriot's production will be huge for the Giants going forward, especially because it looks like Freddy Sanchez won't be returning this season (if at all).
Another player that has come around lately is shortstop Brandon Crawford. Named the starting shortstop out of spring training, the young Crawford initially struggled. Known for his stellar defense, Crawford led baseball in errors at one point, seemingly committing at least one error every series. But as his defense has improved, so has his offense. Over the last 30 days, Crawford is hitting .250, which in reality is all the Giants could ask for. He isn't with the Giants for his offense; he's there for his defense. So if Crawford can continue to hit .250 to .260 and play solid defense, he can be a contributor at the bottom of the lineup.
Buster Posey's All-star teammate Pablo Sandoval looks to be completely fine after having surgery to remove the hamate bone in his right wrist. Journeyman Joaquin Arias was capable in Pablo's absence, providing an average in the .270s to go with solid defense. After missing all but two games in May, Sandoval is back to doing what he does best: hitting the baseball. Sandoval has maintained a .300 average on the year, but has failed to bring the pop, hitting only one home run and delivering 10 RBI's in June. If the Giants want to make a deep run into the playoffs, they'll need their 'Kung-Fu Panda' to start bringing the hurt to the baseball.
With the offense finding some consistency and putting it together, their performance will be key in determining the success of the Giants in the second half.