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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Lincecum Sharp in Opener

There was a lot of concern over the Giants' 2-time Cy Young award winning 25 year-old after a sub-par spring and a significant drop in velocity. However, Lincecum alleviated all concern with a stellar outing on opening night, defeating Roy Oswalt and the Astros 5-2.

Lincecum's velocity and location were both right about where they should be, and he was a tough assignment all night for Houston hitters. He constantly got ahead of hitters, and put himself in favorable pitchers counts, and his fastball was right around 93-94 all game long. Not quite where it was when he was first called-up in '07 (he was averaging 95+ mph that summer), but not at all bad for the first start of the season. Lincecum allowed just 4 base runners (all base hits, no walks) and struck out 7 in 7 shutout innings. The Giants' offense also pitched in to help him out. Bengie Molina, John Bowker, Mark DeRosa, Edgar Renteria and Juan Uribe all drove in a run apiece for the Giants. The Giants new additions played well in the opener, as DeRosa hit an impressive opposite field home run off Tim Byrdak in the 8th to help give the Giants a bigger cushion while Aubrey Huff contributed a hit and a run scored while making a few nice plays over at first base. If you checked out our pre-game post yesterday, you'll see that my prediction that at least one of the middle 3 hitters would have gone deep, and DeRosa made me look good. Bowker missed a home run by about 3 feet as he singled high off the Crawford Boxes out in left field for his RBI.

The player who really impressed me the most on Monday though, was shortstop Edgar Renteria. Sure it's only opening day and one game of 162, but he looked like a different ballplayer out there, and even talked before the game about how excited and optimistic he was for this season. Renteria made an incredible play, going deep into the hole between 2nd and 3rd base, to grab a grounder off the bat of Carlos Lee, and made a tremendous, cross-body throw to get the ball to Ishikawa in plenty of time, but Ishi couldn't come up with the short-hop, a ball he probably catches 9 out of 10 times. That ball would have been a base hit to left field last year, but Renteria is clearly much lighter on his feet after dropping around 15 pounds over the winter. Oh yeah, he also went 2-3 at the plate with a walk and an RBI double. While Renteria looked great in the 2 hole on Monday, the Giants other top of the order hitter, Aaron Rowand, didn't fair so well. He had an 0-5 night with a couple of strikeouts and didn't display much patience at the plate. The Giants are going to roll with Rowand in the top spot for a while, but he's got to start being more selective if he's going to stick there all year long.

Tonight, the Giants will send Barry Zito to the mound, who will duel it out with Astros lefty Wandy Rodrguez. The Giants will have to get to Rodriguez early, and Zito is going to have to find his rhythm early if the Giants want a repeat performance from last night. Once Rodriguez gets going, he gets really tough to hit. If the Giants can get to Rodriguez though, and with Matt Cain scheduled to pitch tomorrow in the finale, the Giants could be on their way to an opening series sweep with a victory tonight.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 3:06 PM, Anonymous Tony said…

    Good observation about Renteria. In the post game show yesterday, Rich Aurilia talked about how he expected big things from Renteria this year. Apparently last year Renteria played hurt with bone chips in his elbow. He couldn't extend his arm all the way, hurting both his offense and defense. I don't know how much truth there is to this, because I don't remember hearing about it before, but it makes sense given the small amount we've seen from Renteria so far.

    This sparked an interesting debate between Gary Radnich and Aurilia about whether a player should suck it up and play with injuries or if he should publicize the injuries. Players don't want to be perceived as whiners, but at the same time it doesn't seem fun to get booed off the field when no one knows you're playing hurt.

  • At 3:58 PM, Blogger King of Cali said…

    They were talking about it in the Spring as well about Renteria now being able to turn on balls he couldn't last year cause of the bone chips. I'm hoping he can at least be a decent clutch hitter. I don't think Renteria is done. He will have a bounce back year. Plus he knows when F-Sanchez is back. Who ever isn't hitting between him and Uribe will be on the bench and in the super utility role.

    King of Cali
    All The Latest SF Giants Rumors

  • At 8:32 PM, Anonymous Giant Fan Dan said…

    2 in a row baby!!! Break up the Gigantes...

    Really though, they look good. Confident I think would be a good term to describe them. Just need to get Aaron Rowand going in the leadoff spot.

  • At 10:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

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