I waited a week to jump in here and write something intentionally, as to not overreact about such a small sample size. Seeing as though week one ended on a pretty lousy note in LA, I feel as though we've all been doused with a little bit of reality after a pretty sizzling start.
We're not going to win 110 games. Belt isn't going to break Bonds's HR record, and Pagan won't hit .450 the rest of the way. But what we do know, is that this 2014 incarnation of our beloved Giants could be-- and I emphasize could be, as good or better than the 2012 Champions.
For once, the lineup appears to be well... really good. There's a pretty nice mix of power and contact throughout the lineup, and honestly, I think the days of finishing in the bottom 5 in runs scored and HRs is over. Prior to the season, we all looked at the lineup on paper and thought, "Wow. If this goes right, and that guy stays healthy, and this guy continues getting better, we could score a lot of runs."
Well, things are beginning to fall into place, now aren't they? Every single one of our power hitters has hit a HR, and effing Brandon Belt has 4. FOUR HOME RUNS! Like... seriously?
Seriously. I saw them.
The Belt development is the single most important event to happen to this lineup since I don't know when... probably since we added Pence via trade.
Forget what he's on pace for, but instead just sit back and acknowledge that Belty has finally figured it out, and is a legitimate power hitting corner infielder. Many of us knew it was a matter of time, others thought he would never pan out and were on the Brett Pill Crazy Train to nowhere.
With what we've seen so far. Belt is not only a lock for 25 dingers and an .800+ OPS with good defense, but we're talking potential all-star selection.
I know it's only 7 games, but this metamorphosis began last year with the grip change, and you all saw how he improved. This didn't just come out of nowhere.
Someone who did kinda come out of nowhere was Brandon Hicks, or Brandon #3, or B3 for short. Is that going to catch on? No? Okay, I tried though.
A former 3rd round pick of Atlanta, Hicks was a long shot to make the team at all. Now he's making some serious noise at the plate. The guy is doubling, hitting home runs... all out of nowhere. Of course, he'll probably cool off, but just the fact that there's a guy on our team capable of replacing Scutaro that has pop? Just what the doctor ordered... as long as Bochy doesn't take too many ABs away from B3 in favor of Adrianza so that he cools off.
Another guy the doctor ordered is Mike Morse. Man, it sure is nice to have him on this team. I know he's a bit injury prone and he will strike out a good deal. But the guy can hit. He's contributed in a number of different ways at the dish, including a crazy bomb in LA that went like 450 feet. Also, he hasn't hurt us defensively yet, and the 7th inning Gregor Blanco substitution thing seems to work just fine.
Now the pitching, I'm not so sold on. Of all the idiotic things John Kruk rambled on about on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN, the one thing that I hate to agree with but do is, "I don't know if the Giants have the pitching to get done this year."
Sucks, but from what we've seen so far, it might be true. As I see it, there are two guys-- Madison Bumgarner and Tim Hudson-- that are going to be rock solid performers every 5th day. There's Matt Cain, who will be somewhere between decent and good, and then there's the Wild Cards, Lincecum and Vogelsong.
Granted, Vogelsong did very well in his first start, and I think that's a seriously encouraging sign. Let's keep our fingers crossed on him. However, we need to face the possibility that he may begin to suck and will be run out of town in a more delicate fashion than Todd Wellemeyer once was. We owe Vogey that much.
Lincecum is probably going to have another season of 4.50-4.75 ERA ball with maddening starts of equal parts brilliance and gopher balls. That's been the trend the last two seasons, and I just don't see it changing unfortunately. His propensity to give up the long ball and get bogged down in big innings will be his undoing half the time, and that's what we'll likely get. A beloved .500 pitcher-- like your smartphone a year and a half into your two year Verizon agreement. Completely maddening.
Cain to me is the most concerning. He's beginning 2014 much the way he began 2013-- by giving up HRs in bunches and bunches. Just like last year, it's concerning as hell, but there's evidence to suggest that he can avoid these things somehow. It's as if he's cruising along, and things are fine, then boom-- gone. Two batters later? Gone again. I just don't understand.
It should be of course noted that last season Cainer did improve toward the second half of the year, and cut down on the long ball. If not, I'm afraid, he'll be more in the Lincecum category than the Bumgarner one, and that's not going to win us that 3rd even year World Series in a row.
And John Kruk will be right.
We can't have that.
So everyone, take the first week for what it was-- a week, but just know that this team has the potential to be seriously good, and that it's probably going to come down to pitching-- just like every other year.
And I hate the Dodgers.