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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bats Show Up In Spring Opener

The big question coming into the spring was whether or not the Giants were going to score enough runs to match-up with their brilliant starting pitching. They certainly displayed enough in Wednesday's Cactus League opener against the Indians.

Travis Ishikawa headlined the day as he hit two impressive home runs and went 3-3 overall with 4 RBI. Ishikawa's first shot was a majestic home run that bounced on top of the roofing in right-field then out of the complex. His second jack was more of a line drive shot and left the yard in about 3.5 seconds. Oh yeah, he all also added an RBI single in there as well. With the Giants recently passing on Joe Crede, it means that Ishikawa will get a real look at first base this spring and the 25 year-old looks ready. The Indian's broadcasting crew was mentioning just how sweet Ishikawa's swing looked and I absolutely concur. The kid looked really balanced today and swung at pitches in the strike zone. If he keeps that up, not only will he win the first base job outright, but he will probably end up being a solid hitting first basemen in addition to an above average defensive one. Ishikawa's cross-diamond mate also impressed in his debut at his new full-time position. Pablo Sandoval made a few very nice defensive plays while getting on base 2 out of 3 times and scoring a run. Yes, it's early in spring training, but the young Giants corner infield combo answered the bell on day one, and that's all you can really ask at this point.

The Giants' opening exhibition game was really all about the youngsters actually. In addition to Ishikawa and Sadoval's fine afternoon, Nate Schierholtz also hit an impressive home run, Emannuel Burris turned an ordinary single to left into a double with his blazing speed, and the two others battling for time at second base, Kevin Frandsen and Eugenio Velez both came up with clutch RBI singles late in the game that ultimately put it out of reach. Oh yeah, the pitching (until late in the game) was pretty good too. Tim Lincecum started the game and went one scoreless inning. Brandon Medders and Luis Perdomo also had scoreless outings as both of them try and overcome the odds against them to make the team.

A couple of guys who have a good shot at making the team didn't fair as well. Alex Hinshaw and Keiichi Yabu each had performances to forget about as Yabu allowed a 3-run home run in the 3rd and Hinshaw battled wildness (something he has to improve on this spring in order to cement his role on the big league team) and allowed a majestic home run himself. Some of the notable hitters who struggled were Juan Uribe (0-3), Jon Bowker (0-2, k) and Bengie Molina (0-3, 3 LOB). All the other notables who played contributed in some way offensively.

A few guys who didn't get into the game today were Rich Aurilia and Fred Lewis. Aurilia should play in Thursday's game, but it's not clear whether Lewis will be in the lineup or not. I'm a little surprised that the Giants chose to roll with Uribe at DH over Rich Aurilia, but I guess that they are trying to figure out just exactly what Uribe's all about, as they already know plenty about Richie. Needles to say, Uribe looked like a cross between Niefi Perez and Jose Castillo in his debut as a Giant. He looks more like Castillo in the way he stands at the plate and his mechanics back there, but the ball comes off his bat like it used to come off of Perez's (which is by no means a compliment). I still don't know exactly wha they expect from Uribe. I'd really rather have Rich Aurilia at short over Uribe on the days Renteria needs off. Whatever small advantage Uribe has over Aurilia defensively is absolutely negated by his woeful approach at the plate. I hate to rip a guy on the first day, of the exhibition season nonetheless, but still, he's a waste of at-bats that could be going to younger, brighter players who will actually help the Giants at some point.

*Note: There was some negative news coming out of the Giants' clubhouse after the victory Wednesday. In yet another set-back for the Giants' left-hander, Noah Lowry reported stiffness in his throwing elbow and will take about a week off for tests and what not before he attempts to throw again. I mentioned it at the end of last season and unfortunately I have to bring it up again. It looks like Lowry may need to eventually try the Tommy John Surgery if he wants to try and get back on the mound. Hopefully it's just a strain or something, but even if it is, Lowry hasn't pitched since August '07 and I don't think he's anywhere close to being able to pitch 6-7 innings per start. Anything he contributes to the Giants in 2009 would be an unexpected bonus if you ask me.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 4:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great game by TI. Guess he wanted to show everyone why he deserves to be frontrunner for 1b job. Pablo taking a walk was a surprisingly big moment of the day to show after an offseason of questions whether he can improve his plate discipline. Bullpen had to make it interesting last few innings, guess it wouldnt be a Giants win without a lil 9th inning drama.

    Not sure about Richie still playing SS anymore Trevor which is why I thought they brought Uribe in but I am hoping Burriss can make team as starting 2nd baseman and hence make Uribe completely redundant, while keeping Aurilia and Velez. Pablo Rent Burris TI sure looks alot more entertaining and productive than last years opening day of Castillo Bockock Durham Aurilia doesnt it?

  • At 6:22 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Yeah, insurance at short is why they brought Uribe in but it's not like he's a defensive wizard there himself. I think Burris might play short at Fresno, but if he outplays Frandsen, he'll get the second base job. Burris is too valuable to have on the bench though, even if he is starting 2-3 games per week.

    I don't think there is any question that the Giants are better, all around, this year than they were last. The only question is how much better can they be?

  • At 7:34 PM, Anonymous Blacher Bum Sect. 139 said…

    The Giants were really impressive this afternoon. Awesome display by Ishi and another good start (albeit 1 inning) for "The Freak."

    I know your saying it's just ST, but still, we haven't had a team to be excited 'bout in a while. This could be one. Maybe not a playoff team now, but they are building one.

  • At 8:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That's bad news for Lowry. I hope he doesn't need TJ surgery but he's probably going to need another one. It doesn't sound like he's right to me and I don't even follow the Giants too closely. (Padres (NL) and Angels (AL) Fan here, sorry guys, lol)

    Good thing the Giants got Randy Johnson though, otherwise they might be looking at some unprepared minor league guy as the fifth starter. That Bumgarner kid probably isn't ready this soon. Also if Jonathan Sanchez does end up being the fifth starter, even though Barry Zito should really be, he'd be one of the best fifth starts in baseball, no?

  • At 9:42 AM, Blogger You Mon Tsang said…

    Great summary. Was feeling very good until the Lowry section and the words "cross between Niefi Perez and Jose Castillo."

  • At 4:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great summary. Still too early to get too excited about Ishikawa, but any signs that point to an increase in the dismal 94 bombs they hit last year will be well received.

    If Giant fans dealt with Barry being Barry, they can deal with Manny being Manny.


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