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Monday, April 10, 2006

Week 1 Report

Well, week 1 is in the books in Major League Baseball, and contrary to last year, the Giants are actually fairing pretty well. They now sit at 4-2 and atop the NL West after taking 3 of 4 from the Braves this weekend at AT&T Park. The Giants offense started out very stagnant, and it took a few games for it to get going, but they are starting to come around. Amazingly, the offense exploded over the weekend vs. the Braves without much contribution from Barry Bonds. Barry is still searching for his first home run and RBI of the 2006 season, but he is content with how things are going, as long as the Giants are winning. The "Is Barry done?" question is slowly being thrown out there. I've been watching Barry's at bats very closely. He is getting maybe 1 decent pitch per at bat to hit. Even the strikes pitchers are throwing him are corner pitches, off the plate away. They really seem as scared as ever to face him. I fully expect to see him get going soon, and I am no where near ready to hit the panic button. Moises Alou and Lance Niekro have begun to pick up the slack big time. Alou finally showed some power, hitting the Giants first home run of 2006 on Friday night, then he hit another Saturday in a Giants win. Lance Niekro had some tremendous at bats vs. Smoltz Sunday. Early in the Game, he came up with a 2 out, 2 strike hit to center to drive in the first Giants run. Then, in the Ninth inning, he came up with a huge solo home run to tie the game with the Giants eventually winning on a Randy Winn single. The offense has definetly started to pick up. I am still a little worried about Pedro Feliz and his slow start. Feliz strives off confidence, and if he doesn't get it early, he may not get it for a while.

The starting pitching did an admirable job over the weekend. After Noah Lowry left early on Thursday, the Giants got solid starts from the Matt Cain, Jamey Wright and Jason Schmidt. The bullpen had a off-night on Friday, but other than that, they have been nails. The Giants have yet to reap the benifits of a healthy Armondo Benitez, and when that happens, they will have one of the best pens in the NL. The Giants defense must not go without notice as well. Omar Vizquel is still the best shortstop in the game, and Steve Finley has already shown exceptional range in the outfield. Even Bonds has made some nice plays in left. The Bench has been red hot. Vizcaino and Sweeney are both very good at what they do. Vizcaino provides great defense up the middle, something Devi Cruz did not last season. Mark Sweeney is undoubtedly the best pinch hitter in the game. Finley is maybe the best non-starter in baseball as well. I've said it before, this is the deepest team they've had in San Francisco in a long time. The starting talent may not be as good as the 2002 NL Champs, but they are deeper.

The Giants will be hosting the Astros for 3 starting Tuesday night. The forcast is for rain thourout the week, so there is a solid possibility that there will be some rain delay's this week in San Francisco. I said the Braves series was a nice early season test for the Giants, and they passed that with ease. Now the reigning NL Champions roll into town, and again the Giants will have a tough early season challenge.
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The Giants Baseball Blog
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