Walcoff: Giants not living up to first-half expectations 

Want to sum up the first half of the Giants’ season? Too much ebb and not enough flow.

Despite all the promising work of Juan Uribe, a finally healthy Freddy Sanchez plus newcomers Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell, San Francisco will be hard-pressed to match last year’s midseason record of 44-37. The biggest disappointment is Pablo Sandoval.

After winning the club’s triple crown in 2009 by batting .330 with 25 homers and 90 RBI, Panda is hitting .274 with only six homers and 30 RBI. On the road, where the Giants are for the next 11 games, Sandoval is batting just .226. Worse yet, with runners in scoring position he’s hitting an anemic .157.

Amazingly, through it all Pablo still prances into the batters box like it’s his personal sandbox and blows bubbles while smoothly fielding grounders. Sure that playful charm and unbridled enthusiasm has also brought a lack of discipline at the plate and on the base paths, but Sandoval is far too talented to keep down for long. A bigger concern is behind the plate.

Bengie Molina, who turns 36 in a few weeks, is clearly on the decline while Buster Posey, after a hot start, has only seven hits in his last 48 at bats. If Big Money continues to slide, Bruce Bochy will have no choice but to go with the rookie and the growing pains that are sure to follow. Throw in a struggling starting pitching rotation burdened with a run-challenged offense and you have all the makings of a long, trying summer for the Orange and Black.

Looking for a ring

Now showing on NBA TV: “The Bachelor,” starring LeBron James. See King James at today’s lavish New York dinner party with the Knicks, then watch him being wooed by Jay Z’s New Jersey Nets, before going on dates in Miami and Chicago. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers prepare to get jilted. Hey, LeBron gave his hometown nothing but love for seven years and what does he have to show for it? His best chances of getting a ring are with the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat. Look for LeBron to hook up in the Windy City with Chris Bosh as his best man.

Cashing in

The Celtics are in trouble. Paul Pierce, opting out of the final year of his contract at $21.5 million, wants $90 million over the next four years. Ray Allen is also a free agent. Don’t look for GM Danny Ainge to offer rich, long-term deals to Boston’s soon to be 33-year-old team captain and 35-year-old shooting guard.

Chow down

Ready or not, here it comes again. On July 4, it’s the 95th annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at Brooklyn’s Coney Island. Three time defending champ Joey Chestnut, aka “Jaws,” will be trying to break his world record of 68 dogs and buns consumed in 10 minutes.

Chestnut, 32, a construction engineering student at San Jose State, claims he is an athlete who trains for the event by fasting for three days, then stuffing his face and fasting again: Mastering the art of speed gluttony. Who said athletes aren’t role
models?

KGO (810 AM) Sports Director Rich Walcoff can be heard weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m. on the KGO morning news. He can be reached at RichWalcoff@gmail.com.

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Rich Walcoff

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