With the first month of the season coming to an end, we take a look at who's hot in the batter's box or on the mound, and who needs to grab some pine.
Jose Cruz, Jr. has upped his average to .319 after hitting .400 over the past week with a double, two homers, six walks, a stolen base, and six RBIs. During that stretch, he's had an on-base percentage of .538 and struck out only three times in twenty ABs. In addition to his offensive productivity, he's also displayed outstanding defense in right field, which is especially difficult in the windy, temperamental outfield of Pacific Bell Park.
Joe Nathan has been outstanding for San Francisco, making his fourteenth appearance of the year in the Giants' twenty-fifth game. However, he has been more than just your run-of-the-mill workhorse; more than just an average inning-eater. After 16 2/3 innings of work, his ERA stands at a perfect 0.00, and he's picked up two well-deserved wins along the way. Opponents are hitting at an embarrassing .145 clip against him, and a pathetic .067 over the last seven days. To what does Nathan attribute his unprecedented success? "I'm more aggressive and able to go after the guys better now," he said. "Results are sometimes deceiving -- you're only as good as your defense. But I do feel good and my arm has definitely responded better than I thought it would."
Edgardo Alfonzo has been moved all around the lineup in an attempt to stimulate his offense, but to no avail. He is off to a feeble start,
hitting significantly beneath the Mendoza line with just three extra base hits and eight runs batted in. His OBP is a mere .284, and his slugging percentage is at .253. During his past five games, he's batting .136, well under the Giant pitching staff's cumulative batting average, which equals his season average at .172.
Rich Aurilia has hit a slump, batting only .158 during the last week and .242 overall. He has not driven in a run since April 19th in Los Angeles. As a part of the lineup juggling executed by Felipe Alou, Aurilia was moved
from the three hole to the second slot in the order for the first game of the series with the Chicago Cubs. However, results of the change have yet to be determined, as he left the game early with eye irritation from a contact lens after striking out on three consecutive pitches against Kerry Wood.
Stephanie Moy is a diehard Giants fan, born and raised in San Francisco. She loves hearing feedback - good, bad, or otherwise - so if you're so obliged, contact her at email@example.com