Inbox: Are Giants equipped for playoff run?

Inbox: Are Giants equipped for playoff run?

I don't see the Giants contending without Pablo Sandoval getting it back together. His trouble seems to be his huge impatience at the plate.
-- Dave C., Fresno, Calif.

Can the Giants thrive with Sandoval hitting .280, his current batting average? Yes, if others are generating decent offense. Can they outlast the Dodgers, Padres and Rockies while he's homering once every 43.5 at-bats and averaging nine at-bats per RBI, as he is now? I tend to doubt it. A more productive Sandoval obviously would simplify life, not to mention the National League West race, for the Giants. But pitchers have adjusted to him more quickly than he has to them. He sometimes looks extremely bad while swinging and missing, reflecting overeagerness, bad habits or both. Positive signs exist, though. Sandoval's still swinging at more than 40 percent of the first pitches he sees, but he also has walked seven times in his last eight games. That home run he hit last Tuesday against Baltimore might have been the hardest ball he hit all year. Sandoval still has plenty of time to find himself.

Are the Giants truly potential postseason contenders? If so, what is the key to getting there for this team? Based on what they have to work with, should they make any moves before the Trade Deadline?
-- Zack V., Santa Rosa, Calif.

With their superb starting pitching, solid veterans in the lineup and Buster Posey providing a fresh dose of energy, the Giants indeed bear the stamp of legitimacy. Conventional wisdom suggests that they need another bat to insure that they'll qualify for the postseason, but I think bullpen depth is a more pressing need, even if Jeremy Affeldt regains his 2009 form and Sergio Romo becomes near-automatic. The Giants are 27-7 when they score first, yet they're 11-13 in one-run games. The bullpen isn't entirely responsible for this contrast, but upgrading it couldn't hurt. It's no coincidence that two of San Francisco's National League West rivals, San Diego and Los Angeles, have formidable bullpens.

With the Giants lacking "big pop," would they consider trading for Lance Berkman, who could provide what our team is lacking? I believe he still has enough strength left in his legs to roam the outfield once again.
-- Justin B., Sunnyvale, Calif.

I'd endorse acquiring Berkman much more heartily if it were not for his age (34), injury history and his .237 batting average, each of which is an oversized red flag.

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Chris HaftE-mail your query to Giants beat reporter Chris Haft for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
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I see that Eric Byrnes is playing softball nowadays. Any chance the Giants will grab him? I don't believe that the guy went from superstar to zero so quickly. He's got to have some pop left in his bat, right?
-- James P., Visalia, Calif.

Full disclosure is required here: James sent this e-mail before the Giants obtained Pat Burrell. With Burrell aboard, the Giants have no need for Byrnes. But I figured I should address this issue before more people ask about it. Also, as admirable as Byrnes' accomplishments were, I believe he'd be the first to tell you that he was never a "superstar."

I think the Giants should adopt the song "Save me, San Francisco" by Train to be played after all home wins. The song isn't baseball-related, but it's a great, upbeat song that I can see the crowd getting into after each win.
-- Alex G., Cooper City, Fla.

Nice idea, though I'm guessing that Tony Bennett's here to stay for a while. But a precedent does exist, in a sense. During the 2004 season, the Angels frequently used Train's "Calling All Angels" to accompany its pregame video.

Chris Haft is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.