Friday, April 13, 2012
I believe by definition, that the first 7 games of this season have been a mixed bag. We've been swept, we've been embarrassed, we've been disappointing.
But simultaneously, we've been exciting, we've been heroic, and we've been promising.
Only with the Giants could such contrasts hold so much value at the same time.
I mean, we've got Tim Lincecum on one hand-- "The Ace"-- with the worst ERA in all of baseball.
Then we've got Barry Zito, the "Useless Money Pit", with the best ERA in the league.
I can't explain any of it, and I don't believe anyone else can either, but things are looking up thanks to a suddenly viable offense and at least two of our starters settling down and nearly throwing no-hitters back to back.
Thoughts and musings:
-- It sure is nice to see Bumgarner and Cain settle down and dominate the way they should. Bum took a no-hitter into the 6th in Denver on Thursday, and Cain threw a one hit shutout in the home opener on Friday.
I wish I had a cool stat about those performances, but all I know is that Cain's one hitter was literally the best Opening Day pitching performance by a Giant ever.
-- Lincecum's struggles are serious, and they're not going away. This is reminiscent of a couple Augusts ago when he couldn't strike out his grandmother and effed up his mechanics. Krukow says his release point is off. I don't know. I'm not a pitching coach, but he is seriously off, and when he's off, he's the worst pitcher in baseball-- even worse than Zito. At least when Zito is awful and disgraceful, all he does is walk guys. Lincecum hangs balls up there like batting practice, which is much worse.
I have faith that he will find his groove again sometime this season, but it isn't just something that gets fixed overnight by finally sleeping in your own bed or lighting up a doobie.
-- This is why I'm comfortable giving Matt Cain $112.5MM and I'm becoming a little more skeptical of committing more to Lincecum.
-- Good Lord! Who are you people and what have you done with the Giants' anemic offense? As we speak, we're in the top two in the National League in runs per game. Isn't that incredible? So much of it is thanks to our new acquisition, Melky Cabrera, whom I thought wasn't very good.
Well! Thank you for proving me wrong and then making me eat dirt Melkman! You've really impressed all of us so far.
Dude. He's hitting .414.
-- The Brandon Belt thing is getting uglier. Re-enter stage right, Nate Schierholtz, who managed to hit two home runs in his only start of the season. How can you keep a guy like him buried on the bench now? How can you sit Huff, who now has a HR to go along with a .990 OPS?
Hell, how can you sit Pill (.333 avg, 2nd on team) or Hector Sanchez (.300, 3 RBI) in favor of Belt?
You can if, and only if, you are 100% committed to Belt being the 1B of the future, at the expense of current ballgames. Some argue that Bochy should be doing this, because he pretty much promised to do as much.
Well, I am of the opinion that Brandon Belt, as talented as he is, and as good a hitter as he was in Spring, needs to produce a little bit while he's in there to warrant more starts.
Every other guy I just mentioned has been as hot as Kate Upton at the plate to start the year, and Belt has looked like a newly-birthed baby giraffe. I think one day he'll be very good, and it might be this year at some point, but I cannot justify playing him over Huff, Pill, Hector Sanchez, OR Nate Schierholtz at this point.
Let's hope he gets his stroke and confidence back the next time he gets a start, because .091 with 5 strikeouts in 11 at bats is not going to cut it on a roster that is suddenly brimming with offensive ability.
-- Jeremy Affeldt is fired until further notice...
-- Speaking of terrible hitting, Angel Pagan seems to be exactly who I thought he was. Paging Gregor Blanco...
-- Let's give Zito some credit where it's due. The guy came out of the sewer to make one of the most impressive starts I've seen since Matt Cain just one upped him on Friday. How he did it? I have no idea, but he did. He showed that he's capable of goodness or perhaps really goodness, if he just has his shit together.
I won't hold my breath for a good season from him because he's teased us before in the first half of seasons, but IF he is able to string together a year with 14 wins and an ERA of 3.50, it will do wonders for our playoff chances and his own confidence... especially with Vogelsong returning on Sunday. It's possible that we could have 5 really good starters-- something we'd love to have.
-- Hector Sanchez seemed to have a lot to do with Zito's comfort level. I am absolutely thrilled by this development. It has a two-pronged effect. Sanchez can flat out rake, and is an ultra-dangerous weapon to have. Seriously? A 22 year old, switch-hitting catcher that makes Zito better? YES PLEASE!
I also like the idea of Sanchez being Zito's personal catcher. It means that there's a little more method to the starting lineup madness every week.
The season is young, and we've had our hiccups, but the ship has almost completely righted itself, and I for one am excited!
Now... let's get Timmy fixed...