Red Sox’ Rolling Offense to Face Giants’ Stacked Rotation in San Francisco

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Red Sox' Rolling Offense to Face Giants' Stacked Rotation in San Francisco Despite recent losses against the Rockies in Colorado, the Red Sox boast the best offense in baseball.

On Friday, they?ll start their second three-game series on the West Coast, facing one of the best pitching rotations in the game, led by "The Freak" Tim Lincecum.

For some expert insight into the series, Trevor Cole of The Giants Baseball Blog shares his thoughts on the San Francisco squad.

NESN.com: The Red Sox' offense currently ranks first overall while, on the other side of the ball, the Giants? pitching ranks third. How do you think they?ll match up?

Trevor Cole: Well, they'll be in San Francisco, so the Red Sox won't get to use a DH. The Giants' rotation lines up so that Jonathan Sanchez, Joe Martinez and Tim Lincecum will start the three games. With the way Lincecum (3-0 with 1.67 ERA and 24 K's in his last 3 starts) and Sanchez (2.90 ERA, .206 BAA) have been throwing, it's tough to bet against them, no matter who they're facing. I say the Giants take two of three.

NESN.com: The Giants are currently 2 1/2 games behind the division-leading San Diego Padres in the NL West. What has been the key to this team?s success so far?

T.C.: It's been their pitching, both starting rotation and bullpen, as well as getting some solid offensive outputs from a couple of veterans. Aubrey Huff (.311, 12 HR, 37 RBI) has been huge offensively, as well as bringing a ton of versatility defensively. Juan Uribe and Andres Torres have also been huge this year. A few guys the Giants just recently added to their roster, Pat Burrell, Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez, have all been terrific since their arrival. Still though, it's been all about Barry Zito, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Tim Lincecum, sporting a combined ERA of 2.78, who have set to tone for the 39-30 Giants.

NESN.com: Outfielder Pat Burrell is the Giants? most recent addition, acquired on June 4 and batting fifth in the lineup. What has his contribution meant to the team?s offense?

T.C.: He's been huge, both offensively and in the clubhouse. I think he's given the Giants' offense an apparent confidence boost. Remember, he's just 2 years removed from a 30 homer, 90 RBI campaign with the Phillies and is only 33 years old, so I think he still has plenty left in the tank. With news surfacing Wednesday that Mark DeRosa will be out for the year, the addition of Burrell will really be paying off now.

NESN.com: The Giants have a lot of young players, who's the leader in the clubhouse?

T.C.: There really isn't one guy in particular who's the so called "leader" in the clubhouse, but they have a few guys who really take charge and set the tone for the youngsters. The three that come to mind immediately are Bengie Molina, Aaron Rowand and Barry Zito. Aubrey Huff is a newcomer, but he's also got the ear of the younger players.

NESN.com: Giants ace Tim Lincecum picked up another win on Tuesday, and is now 8-2 with a 2.86 ERA going into his scheduled start on Sunday against the Red Sox. What will Boston have to do to slow him down?

T.C.: Like all great pitchers, Lincecum gets better as the game wears on, so Boston's best chance they'll have versus Timmy will be getting to him early. Like I said, Lincecum has been lights out in his last 3 starts, so he's in his groove. The Red Sox need to make him throw pitches, be patient with him and try and get him out of the game early, because if he sticks around for seven or eight innings, he doesn't lose to often.

NESN.com: Barry Bonds is now three years into his retirement. How do fans in San Francisco feel about him now that he?s been removed from the game for quite some time? Do you see him ever returning to baseball, like fellow slugger and PED headliner Mark McGwire did with the Cardinals this season?

T.C.: Barry Bonds is still very popular in San Francisco — you can tell by the roaring applause that rumbles AT&T Park anytime Bonds shows up for events. Barry Bonds was a good baseball player regardless of the PED use, and I have little doubt that he could actually help out an AL team right now if someone would give him a shot. I do think we'll eventually see Bonds return to baseball in some capacity though, whether it?s as a batting coach like McGwire or some kind of ownership or front office job like Dave Stewart or Nolan Ryan have.

A big thanks to Trevor Cole for his expert insight from San Fran. Be sure to check out The Giants Baseball Blog.

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