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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Giants Keep Winning, Top Team in Arizona

If you've been following the Giants closely this spring, you know that their bats have started off extremely well. Aaron Rowand, Aubrey Huff, Pablo Sandoval, Bengie Molina, Juan Uribe and co. have all gotten going offensively and have contributed early. Surprisingly, it's been the Giants pitchers that were off to a slower start than their hitters, however, the starting pitching has begun to take form, and the Giants have continued their spring dominance.

Jonathan Sanchez provided quite possibly the best start of the spring by any Giants' starter on Wednesday, throwing 3 strong vs. the Cubs, allowing just 3 singles and striking out 5 batters. The 27 year-old lefty has yet to allow a run this spring. Sanchez's solid outing came on the heels of both Matt Cain's and Barry Zito's solid, 3 inning, 1 run outings. The only Giants' starter who hasn't yet completed 3 innings this spring is ace Tim Lincecum. In Timmy's most recent start Thursday, he was tattooed by the Mariners, allowing 4 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits and 2 walks. Lincecum's first outing of the spring was against the same Mariner team and yielded the same negative results. In that game, he allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 2 hits and 2 walks. You need to take into account the horrid defense Lincecum was backed up by on Thursday though, as Aubrey Huff made a bad throw in a double play attempt and it really opened the flood gates.

The Giants defense is going to be an area of concern early on, as they aren't the best defensive club on paper. I think they'll end up being serviceable, but Thursday's game was a perfect example of what sketchy defense can do to a ballgame, even with someone as dominant as Tim Lincecum on the mound. Madison Bumgarner is currently on the mound as I type this, and the Mariners are getting to him as well. Again, I'm not concerned in the slightest about Tim Lincecum or Madison Bumgarner, and I expect both to be right on track when the regular season begins.

Speaking of the Giants defense, Pablo Sandoval has quietly put together a terrific defensive display over at the hot-corner this spring. A lot of people asked for Sandoval to be moved over to first base because of his size, but he's showed this spring exactly why he has so much value as a third basemen. He's made diving grabs, he's shown the ability to charge the slow rollers and make the off-balance throw. Pablo's also extremely quick for his size and has a cannon arm, both of which bode well for third base. Chris Haft finally brought some attention to Sandoval's defensive game recently, as his D tends to get overlooked because of his great bat.

There is a reason why that bat overshadows his glove though, and he showed why just yesterday. Sandoval hit an absolute bomb off of Carlos Zambrano Wednesday, a grand slam out to deep right-center field. It was only Sandoval's first home run of the year, but his 4 RBI give him 8 total in his 6 games played. It's going to be tough for Sandoval to hit .330 again, but I do expect him to be well over .300, and I do think we'll see his game improve a bit in all other areas this year. With the Giants improved lineup, especially middle of the order, it's going to help Sandoval out tremendously. He put up his great numbers last year surrounded by the likes of Ryan Garko, Manny Burris, a struggling Bengie Molina and Randy Winn, and of course the colossal disappointment of '09, Edgar Renteria. With a more stable bunch surrounding him, look for Sandoval to leave no doubt as to whether he deserves to make the All-Star team in 2010.

Prospect Watch
: A lot of the Giants top prospects haven't gotten much time over the last few games. I'm still waiting to see Thomas Neal be given a good 3-4 at-bats in a game, and I was hoping to see more of Darren Ford, as I think he's a guy who may be able to be a factor in center and at leadoff for the Giants real soon... Buster Posey has appeared in 5 games and has 11 at-bats ( .273, 1 hr, 2 RBI). I'd like to see both Posey and Brandon Crawford get a little more playing time as the spring wears on. We all know about Posey's future, and Crawford has a legit shot to be in the mix at shortstop in 2011, so they need to both be getting a healthy look.
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4 Comments:

  • At 10:27 PM, Anonymous Bleacher Bum 138 said…

    Looks like Bengie might be feeling the heat from Posey a little cause he's ripping the cover off the ball this spring!

    Maybe Posey can figure out first base and platoon with Huff vs. Lefties. That's what i would do to get his bat in the lineup.

     
  • At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Jason Billingsley said…

    I'm kind of sick about hearing about Pablo's weight... Why mess with something that's working? If it aint broke, why fix it?

    All Fitz and Brooks can talk about on KNBR is how overweight he is and how he can't handle first base. What a load of crap. I think you said it, he can move and is very quick for his size. Sometimes these KNBR guys really annoy me with their lack of knowledge.

    J-Bill

     
  • At 4:54 PM, Blogger King of Cali said…

    I'm all for players pushing each other. Molina might start off hot, but I don't think he's got a full season in him. Posey will get in there and show the fans what he can do. Might not be at the begining of the season, but he will def make his way to San Francisco!

    King of Cali
    http://www.sfgiantsbaseball.net

     
  • At 4:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Pablo's weight is down too. Or so says FP santangelo.

    BTW, who else is as excited as I am about the switch on SPortsphone on KNBR weeknights from Damon "Hack" Bruce to FP Santangelo. The former fighting hyrdrant.

     

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