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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Giants Off to Strong Start

The Giants swept the Houston Astros in the season opening series, and it really wasn't that close. Now they come home to host an Atlanta Braves team that is one of the best in the National League.

The consistent theme throughout the Astros series was stellar starting pitching, and timely hitting. Giants starters' Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito and Matt Cain combined to throw 19 2/3 innings, allowing 3 earned runs (all by Matt Cain in one bad inning) on 13 hits and 1 walk while striking out 17 batters. That's good for a WHIP of 0.67 and an era of 1.22. Granted, they did get a break here and there (Jeff Keppinger's "double" should have been a home run of Zito in game 2), the starters looked brilliant, and just as good, if not better than advertised. I think we are in for big things with Barry Zito in 2010. I thought the Astros in Minute Maid Park with all those right-handed hitters would give him some trouble, but he looked like the Barry Zito of 5-6 years ago. He had his location working, and had his changeup going for him so much so that he really didn't even have to throw his big curveball as often as he normally does. Cain looked good on Wednesday too, but Aaron Rowand couldn't come up with Corey Sullivan's drive in the 7th and it ended up costing the Giants 3 runs. It wasn't an error on Rowand cause it wasn't a routine play, but the ball bounced out of his glove and he probably catches that one 9 out of 10 tries. If Rowand catches it that time, Cain gets out of the 7th unharmed and probably would have finished with 7 innings of 1 run, 4 hit baseball.

The Giants were able to overcome the defensive mishaps though, because their offense did what it had to do in the series, and provided the starters with all the run support they would need. John Bowker quietly had a nice series, going 3-9 with a homer and 3 RBI and if he keeps it up for the first couple of weeks of the season, his confidence will build and I think he'll be in for some big things in 2010. Edgar Renteria was probably the player of the series though. He played a terrific shortstop in all three games, making a plays that he wouldn't have come close to making last year, and he also raked the baseball, going 8 for 11 for 3 RBI. I know it's early, but Renteria is looking much more like the player he was in Atlanta in '06-'07 ( .312 avg, 13 hr, 94 runs, 65 RBI, 14 SB per season with Atlanta). I don't think he'll be that good, but I bet the Giants would take something like .280, 75 runs, 10 hr, 50 RBI, 10 SB, .350 OBP. Aaron Rowand, who we talked a bit about last post along with Renteria, finally got out of his funk in the series finale. Rowand was a big part of the Giants offense, going 4-6 with a triple, 1 run scored and 2 RBI. That came after Rowand collected an 0-10 with 3 K's through the first 2.

So as they enter their home opening series vs. the Braves, the Giants are really clicking on all cylinders. They'll throw Jonathan Sanchez out on the mound in Friday's opener, as he'll be opposed by Atlanta's Tim Hudson. Sanchez finished off his spring training with a solid, 10 strikeout performance vs. the A's, so he's as ready as he can be heading into the home opener. The Giants will be getting a much tougher test in the Atlanta Braves though, than what they faced in Houston. The Braves are my favorite for the wild card spot this year, as they have a load of talent, both young and old, up and down that roster. I'm looking forward to getting my first up close look at Jason Heyward, who has lived up to the hype here early on with a massive home run on opening day. This should really be a very good duel between two of the better teams in the National League and will be a good barometer to see just where this Giants team is at.
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2 Comments:

  • At 10:56 PM, Anonymous Humm Baby! said…

    Yeah, I really stoked for Openening day tomorrow. Got my tickets and my tailgate menu. I'm ready to rock...... HUMM BABY, GO GIANTS!!!!!!

     
  • At 12:40 PM, Anonymous hitnrun said…

    Trevor, I can see why you picked the Braves as the wild card, as their lineup looks great, and if Hudson is their fourth starter and stays healthy, look out. The Giants were actually lucky to win opening day, and it showed that a good pitcher can still shut down the "improved" Giants lineup. Mental and physical errors seem to decide close games like these, so this does not bode well for the defensively challenged Giants team.

     

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