Giants vs. Marlins Series Preview with Julian LevineBy
Never mind all the current tabloids and news stations that talk about the world’s most intriguing and top news stories, we have a Giants/Marlins series on our hands! Should be exciting, don’t you think? To help preview this series, we called upon Julian Levine of Giants Nirvana to answer some questions, and here they are.
Q: Let’s just get this one out of the way: How much of a distraction will this series be for the players following the incident that occured the last time these two teams faced?
A: I don’t imagine it’ll be a huge distraction for them. They’re in the midst of a pennant race, and I think the Posey incident has pretty much blown over by now. Hopefully they can stay focused and just try to win baseball games without letting any of that drama get in the way.
Q: Should we expect any “flares for the dramatics”, considering the Giants are still semi-disgruntled about what Cousins did, albeit unintentional?
A: To be honest, I don’t know what to expect. The team’s had their frustrations of late — they just finished a 3-7 homestand — and as you probably remember, they had a bench-clearing brawl just the other night. Maybe there will be dramatics, though I don’t know that it should be expected.
Q: The Giants haven’t been doing that well over the last two weeks or so. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks have. What can the Giants do, or not do to stay afloat?
A: They can try to hit. Bottomline: this team is very bad at scoring runs, and that will be their downfall. Huff’s starting to get it together, which helps, and once Carlos Beltran returns from his wrist strain (he just received a cortisone injection), perhaps Sandoval/Beltran/Huff will make for a formidable middle-of-the-lineup.
Q: Can you talk about Aubrey Huff‘s primary struggles and why he seems to be good one season and then terrible the next?
A: I think it’s BABIP-related, partially. And partially just randomness. For example, I don’t expect him to have an excellent season in 2012. But who knows? Huff’s had a bad year, and I can’t put an exact finger on what the causes of his struggles are. He’s grounded out a lot to second base though…Anyway, as I mentioned, he’s starting to turn things around, so hopefully he can sustain decent production over the rest of the season.
Q: Amidst their struggles, the Giants pitching has remained top notch sans the return performance of Jonathan Sanchez. Should the Giants win the West, will it be a result of the pitching and nothing else?
A: Exactly. Their hitting is so awful, that their pitching staff is the only thing keeping them contending. It’s a fantastic staff — elite rotation and bullpen — and that’s why they’re a competitive team.
Q: Who is the biggest X-Factor of this upcoming series?
A: Dare I mention Aubrey Huff again? With Beltran potentially missing a couple games in this series, it could be huge for the Giants if Huff has a good series batting in the middle of the order.
Q: Can you give us a series prediction?
A: With Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, and Ryan Vogelsong starting in this series, I expect the Giants can win two of three. If their offense wasn’t so awful, I’d maybe feel confident saying they can sweep…but I’ll go with two of three.
A big thank you to Julian Levine for taking the time to answer some of my questions. You can find more of him over at Giants Nirvana. You can find even more of him on Twitter. And, of course, you can find me answering his questions about this Giants/Marlins series right around here.