Record: 19-19; Second place in the Pacific South Division (4 1/2 games behind Sacramento)
Fresno lost a lot in the past seven days. However, most of what Fresno lost is the San Francisco Giants' gain.
The future arrived in San Francisco last Sunday evening and all hailed Tim Lincecum -- that is, all those who put the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball broadcast on mute to escape the everlasting blather about anything but the kid's debut. After a much-improved performance in Colorado Friday night, when Lincecum earned his first Major League win, the slim right-hander looks primed to stay with the Giants.
Fred Lewis made some noise in the Colorado series as well, going 5-for-6 Sunday and hitting for the cycle. He is the first rookie to achieve the feat since Houston's Luke Scott did it on July 28, 2006, against Arizona. Randy Winn hit the last cycle in Giants' history in late 2005.
Fresno's outfield thinned considerably when Dan Ortmeier was called up along with Lewis Thursday. With Giants centerfielder Dave Roberts on the disabled list following elbow surgery and Todd Linden placed on waivers, outfielders were suddenly at a premium for the big club.
Ortmeier followed the lead from Lincecum and Lewis and performed well against the Rockies this weekend. He had four hits in the three games with three runs scored and two runs batted in.
Kevin Frandsen has been with the Giants since his May 3rd call-up and hasn't had much time to play. The young guys are in the starting lineup more and more these days to give the Bondses and Durhams time off, something the team will need as the season wears on and fewer team off days are available. Frandsen joined the party Sunday with a four-hit game
With these pivotal Fresno players departed, where does it leave the Grizzlies? Another regular outfielder was lost for a few days when Nate Schierholtz hurt himself pursuing a fly ball. Schierholtz got one at-bat in Tuesday's game before the injury and got another at-bat on May 11, but did not return to full-time play until Saturday. With five hits in the last two games including a huge 4-for-5 game Sunday one of the Grizzlies' best hitters looks to be back on track.
In Schierholtz's absence and the shadow of two other departed outfielders, an amalgamation of players was penciled into the starting lineup. Corner infielders Justin Leone and Chad Santos made starts in the outfield, including both starting in the outfield in the May 10 game.
One of the few positives in all this loss is Clay Timpner getting more time to play. Of the regular Fresno outfielders, Timpner has the fewest at-bats. Prior to the promotion purge, the usual alignment has been Schierholtz in left field, Lewis in center field, and Ortmeier in right field.
With those three carrying the bulk of the offensive production, it's been hard for Timpner to get starts. Timpner has started in center field every game since the big roster shakeup and has three hits in those four games.
Robert's surgery means an extended stay with the Giants for Lewis and possibly Ortmeier. Fresno should consider Lincecum a distant memory now. When Russ Ortiz comes off the DL, the worst the Giants can do is demote Lincecum from the rotation to the bullpen. Frandsen is likely to hang around to spell Omar Vizquel -- who is still a champion on defense but is slowing with the bat -- and Ray Durham in the infield. The Grizzlies will need to adjust in the coming days to keep the lost from becoming more losses.
Player of the Week:
The outfield situation is bordering on dire, but losing Lincecum leaves a huge gap to fill. Travis Blackley stepped up to solidify the rotation. The left-hander has pitched four good games in a row dating back to April 27 against Colorado Springs, and has won three of his last four decisions. He won Saturday's game in Omaha, going seven innings with three runs and nine hits allowed.
Stat of the Week: 2-5
Fresno's losses extend from personnel changes and into the standings. They lost five games this week, dropping a four-game series to the Iowa Cubs. The Grizzlies scored 18 runs in the sweep but couldn't keep the opposing offense down.
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