Assuming the Giants go 1-1 in their next two games in Arizona (and with Tim Lincecum and Randy Johnson pitching, that doesn’t seem too far-fetched), they’ll be 7-9 through the first 10% of the season. That means they’re on pace to win around 70 games this season, a year after going 72-90.
So have the Giants really just as bad as they were last year? Is it too early to start worrying, or are the Giants on another long, long road to what baseball writers used to call the “second-division,” back when Major League Baseball had one-third the divisions they do today?
The Good News
–While the Giants haven’t had the best of starts to their season, they aren’t in last place. At least as I type this, anyway.
–It looks like this may be the season Matt Cain puts it all together. Not only has he been the team’s best pitcher, the Giants have actually scored a few runs this year for him (19 runs over his three starts). 2-0 and a 2.37 ERA are good enough to distract you from 6 walks in 19 innings. It’s also funny that Cain-for-Prince Fielder trade rumors have been bandied about for roughly eight years now, because Cain has shown this year that you can lose weight and improve your performance while still eating meat. Fielder, after becoming a vegetarian, has become a shadow of the player he was in 2007. And yeah, there’s some fantasy bitterness going on here, as Fielder’s my starting 1B and so far he’s given me .196 and 1 homer. C’mon Prince, you play in Milwaukee — eat a damn burger, or a bratwurst, or something!!!
–Freddy Lewis is getting on base. A lot.
–Even Lincecum’s dad had to admit he was at least getting a little nervous about the reigning NL Cy Young after two shaky starts, then he went and pitched 8 shutout innings against the Diamondbacks with 13 K’s on Saturday. Best of all, Timmeh allowed only 5 hits and 0 walks, after giving up 14 hits and 6 BB’s in his first 8.1 innings of the year. Saying Arizona’s offense has sucked this season would be like saying that beer at Mays Field is a little pricey, but Lincecum looks ready to start mowing through the NL again like the righty Johan Santana we all know he is.
–Jonathan Sanchez has a great strikeout rate (8.74/9 IP).
–The Unit’s WHIP is 1.21, and he stole the show in Tim Lincecum’s MLB 2K9 commercial.
–Pablo Sandoval has 1 walk. Baby steps.
–Bengie Molina leads the team in hits, runs, rbi’s, homers (tied with Aaron Rowand) and walks.
–Besides Alex Hinshaw (who apparently can’t throw strikes unless his hat is tilted to the side), the bullpen has been solid. Watching Jeremy Affeldt and Bob Howry after suffering through setup men like Jack Taschner and Tyler Walker has been very calming for the soul.
–Brian Wilson has been nearly perfect so far, and his mull-hawk hasn’t caught on…yet.
–The Giants have the fourth-best home record in the National League!
–Nate Schierholtz has really fresh legs right now.
–The Giants brass enjoyed a PR windfall from their wildly successful Filipino Heritage Night, and now Craigslist is enjoying a barage of posts selling Manny Pacquiao bobbleheads.
(As you can see, it’s a stretch to find good news after a while. Alright, let’s just get on with it…)
The Bad News
–After the Giants hit a combined 94 home runs last season, they’ve hit only 7 home runs this season after hitting 3 on Opening Day. Do the Giants even have a weightroom in their organization now that the BALCO pipeline has been severed?
–Youth has been served. No, really, every Giants position player under 30 besides Lewis is getting SERVED right now (and even Freddy only has 1 rbi). You know that movie You Got Served? That’s what’s happening to Travis Ishikawa, Emmanuel Burriss, Sandoval and Eugenio Velez, just substitute dancers with pitchers and “hot moves” with “the strike zone.” At least I think so, anyway. I’ve only seen the end of You Got Served because my sister’s ex-boyfriend used to watch it about once per week, so it was the scene where everyone in the club yells “Served! Served! Served! Served!” as the credits roll. For some good Warriors-related “Served” humor check this out, courtesy of Golden State of Mind’s Tony.psd.
–The Giants rank last in the NL in runs, homers, rbi’s, total bases, walks, OPS and pitches seen.
–Barry Zito and Brian Wilson not only lived and trained together during the off-season, they’re also both on Twitter. Their relationship is getting a little too close to “Lance Armstrong and Matthew McConaughey” levels for my taste. What’s next, a picture of the two of them riding through the Marin Headlands wearing matching Capo Forma kits in US Weekly? If the word “bromance” ever gets thrown around by Andy Baggarly or Henry Schulman during an off-day feature on the pair, I’m going to seriously think about boycotting the Giants for at least a week.
–Zito can’t face the Padres every start.
–Bruce Bochy is managing a team that pretty much has no chance to compete this year, but will manage the team Don Nelson-style, meaning he’ll try to wring every win possible to keep his job. That means we’ll only see more of Juan Uribe and Rich Aurilia, not less.
–Besides his one-game explosion (a grand slam and 5 rbi’s), Edgar Renteria has been not just dreadful but lethargic. Way too reminiscent of the Edgardo Alfonzo signing for anybody’s taste. I can’t wait till next Spring for those feature stories about Renteria “losing 10 pounds” and coming in to Spring Training “in the best shape of his life.”
–Wednesday’s crowd of 26,593 (sure, and my college GPA was 3.97) was the lowest in Mays Field history, and that record is sure to be broken several times this season.
–Schierholtz only has 6 at-bats, he’s only on the team because he’s out of options and he’s a lefty with questionable power in the park with the toughest right field in baseball, both defensively and in terms of hitting the ball over the fence. He may have grown up in Danville and rooted for the Giants his whole life, but he’s got to be praying for a trade.
–The Dodgers have their best lineup since the days of Ron Cey and Steve Garvey, along with a group of pitchers that, while untested, all look like Mike Scott in 1987 against the Giants. If they all don’t kill each other first, Dodger fans should see a lot more good news than Giant fans this year. Uggh.