There’s been a lot of Negative Nancy’s chirping about the Giants lately, myself included.
True, it seems like nearly every road game the Giants have played against the Dodgers or Padres in the past three years has ended with the home team celebrating while a Giants pitcher shuffles off to the dugout with his tail between his legs. And sure, the Giants may not collect their first extra base hit before Mother’s Day.
But even though this season feels like it’s going to be one big Takashi Saito one-two-three ninth inning for the Giants, there are some positive things about this team to pay attention to when Ray Durham isn’t trying to play defense.
Cain was his normal self last night, looking alternately crafty or dominating. His fastball is nice, but his changeup is filthy. He pitched well last night even though his pitch count sailed into the danger zone a little too early, but his best moment came with Derek Lowe at the plate trying to bunt. Cain threw a 94 MPH tailing fastball that rode right in on Lowe, coming about three inches from breaking his hand.
Lowe was obviously pissed at Cain, but if he saw the latest Giants “Gamer” commercial he wouldn’t have been surprised. If you haven’t seen it, Cain teaches someone to throw a baseball at any guy who tries to move in on your girl. Not to hit him, just to back him off a little (or as Cain described it, “get in his kitchen”). The pitch in the commercial was exactly where Cain threw that fastball against Lowe. I’m sure the Giants wish Cain’s TV spot made sense on the radio — it would definitely be an improvement over their current radio ads.
(Side Note: I was amused to see how the Giants changed one of the radio “Gamer” spots. At the end of the original version, the narrator says of opposing players, “And they can hear you, especially from the good seats.” A week later that was changed to “And they can hear you, especially if you’re wearing a foam finger with an orange-painted chest.” Guess the Giants figured that a team charging $10 for a beer didn’t need to sound any more elitist)
While Cain had his moments, his line could have read “5 2/3 IP, 3 ER” last night if Taschner hadn’t come in and saved the day. The Giants don’t have a lot right now, but they have found a dominating lefty reliever, a guy who absolutely mowed down the Cactus League in March. Why do you think Brian Sabean was able to give up Kline, who just seems like he must have been a Sabes favorite (you know, cause he’s a crusty veteran with a weight problem)?
Get him on the field! Can he play second? Who cares? Ray Durham is a baaaaad second baseman, and Velez is pure lightning on the field. When have the Giants ever had an athlete like this, besides Willie Mays or the 1993-97 version of Barry Bonds?
There’s no way Velez ever becomes the hitter Bonds or Mays were, but he showed last night he could do what no other Giant has this year, get a hit and a RBI in the same at-bat. He hit .286 during the spring, and led the entire league in steals. Yet the Giants, featuring a lineup with almost no tools at all, is leaving their most talented player on the bench. Hopefully it won’t be for long.
Not only does he get base-hits and play a good center field, Rowand also looks very familiar. I’m from Eureka, an area that hasn’t produced a major league player in a very long time. Actually, I don’t know if the town of Eureka has ever even had a major leaguer, to be honest. But if they did, he would look just like Aaron Rowand. I might start a campaign for Rowand to grow a full mullet. He’s just flirting with it right now.
NBC 11’s Telecasts
I thought I would miss Channel 2’s theme song and permanent soft-focus cameras last night, but I didn’t at all. Hopefully it wasn’t just because it was KNTV’s first game, but last night’s telecast featured in-base cameras and several super-slow-motion replays.
Hopefully this will force Comcast Sports Net Bay Area (or whatever they’re called) to step their game up. Hey, if the Bay is going to be subjected to 90+ losses, the least we can expect is a modern telecast. So count me fully in favor or NBC 11, unless they decide to bring Tim McCarver back. Otherwise I’ll put my Negative Nancy mask back on, you can be sure of that.