The San Jose Giants’ record in the second half of single-A baseball’s summer season is the worst in the entire California League—but the team is still in first place.
The Giants have struggled in the second half of the season, going 5-14 after winning the Northern Division first-half title with a 45-25 record. After the first half, the team was eight games up on the Visalia Rawhide and the Modesto Nuts, who were tied for second place. That lead has been whittled down to two games.
The Giants suffered a major loss earlier this month with the promotion of Brandon Belt to the AA Flying Squirrels of Richmond, Va. Belt was the machine driving the Giants’ offense in the first half of the season—hitting .383 and driving in 62 runs in 77 games.
“Losing Brandon in the middle of the lineup threw our offense out of whack, and we’ve had to make an adjustment,” said San Jose Giants head coach Brian Harper. “It’s time for somebody to step up and seize the opportunity to be a middle-of-the-order RBI guy like Brandon.”
In Richmond, Belt joined his former teammate Craig Westcott, who was a strong arm for the Giants earlier in the season, compiling a 6-0 record in 13 starts with a 1.83 ERA. The problem Harper faces is the problem all minor league coaches face—losing their best players. His title in the organization is a player-development coach. His main goal is to develop his players and get them to the next level. Winning is important, but improvement is the real goal. “Winning is a by-product of developing good players,” he said.
Harper is pleased with the way the team has played—despite the recent poor play. “Going into the season we have had a lot of unknowns and we have done pretty well,” he said.
The Giants are home this week to take on the Stockton Ports (July 21–22) and High Desert (July 23–25). The July 21 game is an OSH Merchant Night. Free tickets can be found at participating OSH stores, which are listed at osh.com.