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- The missing piece?With the acquisition of Hunter Pence, the Giants will have five players with legit power in the middle of the order once Pablo Sandoval returns from the disabled list.
Nate Schierholtz goes deep for Philly the day after being traded away, along with stud catching prospect Tommy Joseph and a rosin bag (aka minor-league pitcher Seth Rosin), for Hunter Pence.
Pence, meanwhile, goes 0-for-4 with a pair of punchouts for the G-Men.
Cue the panicked reactionary chorus: Brian Sabean got fleeced!
On the very same day, across the Bay, the A’s lost for the — gasp — second day in a row. Actually lost a SERIES!
And because it was the day after the non-waiver trade deadline, which passed without Oakland acquiring so much as a pack of dill-pickle-flavored sunflower seeds, the predictable call went out for Billy Beane’s head on a platter.
Yep, Wednesday was one of those days in Bay Area baseball. Let’s say it together: WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE! Or not.
The Dodgers lost that day, too, so the Giants arose Thursday still sitting solo atop the National League West.
The A’s, thanks to the pie-faced ferocity they unleashed on the American League during that forehead-slapper of a July, were but 4½ back of first place in the American League West and still very much in control of their wild-card fate.
So while yes, we are all going to die — that’s not morbid or reactionary but mere fact — let’s not overreact here.
The Giants are still the team to beat because 1) their rotation outclasses the rest of the NL West by a good margin, and 2) Pence gives them four middle-of-the-order hitters.
Tim Lincecum appears as though he’ll be the .500-at-least guy we all said he needed to be in the second half, and when Pablo Sandoval returns to the lineup, it’ll be awfully difficult for opposing pitchers to navigate Melky Cabrera, Buster Posey, Pablo and Pence.
Throw Hector Sanchez into the No. 7 spot now that he’s returned from injury — Posey, grab your first base mitt; Brandon Belt, grab some pine — and you’ve got five guys with danger in their sticks batting in succession.
That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.
And Guillermo Mota, fresh off his suspension and wielding a fresh power arm, rides in on a sturdy white steed late this month to save the day. Or something. Point is, the Giants are fine as long as Bruce Bochy lives up to his rep as a bullpen-management magician.
The A’s? Wow, do they look bad when they lose. Like, Don Zimmer-in-a-baby-blue-banana-hammock bad. But they look amazing when they win, don’t they?
Tough team to figure, and let’s be honest: There are a ton of concerns, most notably regarding the many young players who will be dealing with pennant-race pressure for the first time while also asking more of their bodies than ever before.
To wit: Rookie starting pitchers Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone and A.J. Griffin are closing in on career highs in innings; sluggers Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes have never been asked to carry a team through the dog days, and Reddick went hitless on the aforementioned woeful Wednesday to run his hitless streak to 0-for-21; rookie relievers Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle haven’t yet been asked to throw as frequently as late-inning arms typically get the ball down the stretch — three days in a row, five days out of six, etc.
But have we not doubted this team and been proven premature a million times already this year? Yes. So let’s hold off on the casket-and-bagpipes order for now and see how they handle the Jays, the Angels, and their first dose of adversity in quite some time. Let’s see what phenom Dan Straily, called up from Triple-A Sacramento on Thursday, brings to the party.
Good chance we’ll find ourselves surprised yet again.
SPEED ROUND: Is NFL training camp over yet? Aren’t we all ready for those exciting exhibition games to start? ... I know I am, because much like the recently eased blackout vs. sellout rule that should be abolished altogether, the teams’ insistence on closing most of their practices to the public and press leaves us with little more to feed our need for football than a few seconds of video that reveals nothing, and a few minutes of a Jim Harbaugh presser that reveals nothing more than his PBPS — Psychotic Bullying/Paranoia Syndrome. ... There is big news out of Raiders camp, though. DMC told the 95.7 FM’s “The Rise Guys” that his foot still gives him some trouble from time to time. OUCH.
Mychael Urban, a frequent co-host of The Wheelhouse (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) on 95.7 FM The Game, can be followed on Twitter @BigUrbSports. His website is UrbsUnchained.com.