Friday, April 9, 2010

A special win... for a special team?


Wow. That. Was. A. Doozy!

I can't remember a cooler, more extreme home opener than this one here. The Giants' 4-0 record notwithstanding, there seems to be something pretty special about this team in these early days of the 2010 season.

I know, I know. It's 4 games, and 9 times out of 10 Renteria doesn't hit that walkoff dong in the ninth inning. There are also a number of concerns that I still have about certain guys. But I can't help but feel that there's something different about this team.

They just seem more confident; more ballsy I guess.

If you look at the difference between this year's team and the guys we had last year, there really are only a few differences. Yes we brought in DeRosa and Huff, and they seem to be solid additions, but the real differences are the two guys that were already here; two guys earning like $20MM between them.

Edgar Renteria and Aaron Rowand are officially the X-Factors for this 2010 team. In the Astros series, as well as the first game of the Braves series, these two nutsacs have been the difference-- there's simply no denying it. And how ironic is it that two guys we've absolutely loathed the most were the two guys to win the game today? Little by little, they are chipping away at the hatred.

As I mentioned two posts ago, Renteria really looks like a beast among boys out there right now and appears to be the same player who had a .330 season for the Braves in '07. Lefty Malo mentioned it on twitter during the game, and I think he said it best. Something along the lines of, "Even without the HR Renteria hit, he looks like the best hitter out there. Good approach, on balance, and not pushing."

Even though Edgar's dong was his first extra base hit of the season, I'd be content if he hit .300 this season with nothing but singles. Seriously.

As for Aaron Rowand, he's still the same guy he was. Yes, he's 15 pounds lighter, but he's still reaching for balls out of the strike zone and swinging at first and second pitches far too often. The only difference seems to be that some of his balls are finding holes. Maybe the lost weight is helping him, who knows. All I know is that he is still frustrating me in half to two thirds of his at bats, and pleasantly surprises me with hits in the rest. Hey, I guess that's what a .270 hitter looks like.

I have to say, although some of you may call me nuts, that the guy who concerns me most right now is Pablo Sandoval. Part of me thinks that maybe he's starting to believe his own press clippings and is basking in the adoration and success he's had thus far.

The garbage he's swinging at and extreme lack of discipline at the plate appears to me to be worse than what he was doing last year. I don't know. Maybe I'm nuts, and I believe he'll find a groove sometime soon, but he's scaring me a little bit. He seems off balance, and has yet to really barrel up a couple line drives. He's finding holes and dropping in some bloops, but his RBI groundout today was not a good at bat.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not hating on the Panda, I'm just pointing out that pitchers are starting to figure out that he really will swing at everything, and he'll do so at the expense of his power and balance. He'll settle down a little, but right now, he's a little all over the place.

Back to the team as a whole though.

Does anyone else feel like we're well into the season? Like as if we're already heading into the home stretch? Maybe it's because this is most excited we've been about this team in years, but there's already a different feel about this team and even amongst fans.

Anyway, we've got two more against Los Bravos, and we must try to remember that we're only 4 games into a long ass season. It was a sweet win that really helps boost the swagger of the team and fires up Giants Nation. In addition, the Braves, who played a night game in the ATL on Thursday and arrived at SFO around 2:30am, are flat worn out. They were already behind on sleep, then they had to dog out a 13 inning loss. You can't tell me that doesn't already put us at a significant advantage on Saturday.

If I was a betting man, I take Wellemeyer and the Giants on Saturday to make us 5-0.

PS: Let's see if we can get Jason Heyward to upgrade his Golden Sombrero on Friday into a Platinum one on Saturday. I'm taking bets on how fast the notoriously horrendous bandwagoning Braves fans hop off his train when he inevitably struggles. I'm setting the over/under at May 20th. Any takers?+

PSS: Obviously Steve Young, Jerry Rice as well as Kirk Reuter in the stands were the extra mojo we needed to win. Obviously...

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