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Saturday, February 26, 2011

World Champs Pick Right Up Where They Left Off

Finally, the shortest off-season the Giants have endured since their move out west has come to an end. The 2010 World Champion San Francisco Giants are officially back at work and playing games again, albeit of the exhibition variety.

Things got off to a strange start in Friday's opener, as the Diamondbacks touched up Tim Lincecum pretty good, knocking him out before he could get through his scheduled 2 innings. He gave up 5 hits and 3 runs with just 1 strikeout. Lincecum had a very similar start to his Cactus League last season, so I don't really see anything to worry about here. He felt fine after the game, as the stiff neck was a non-issue. But even though Lincecum didn't due his part, the Giants still managed to battle back and take the Cactus League opener. Buster Posey, Cody Ross and Pat Burrell all came up with big RBI hits, though no Giant hitter left the yard. Posey, in-fact, led all Giants hitters, going 2-3 with a 2B and 2 RBI. Aaron Rowand and the slimmer Pablo Sandoval also drove in runs and Andres Torres scored 2, but the guy who's under the microscope the most, Brandon Belt, didn't do too much on day 1. Belt got just 1 at-bat filling in at first base after Travis Ishikawa finished up, as projected starter, Aubrey Huff, sat down for the afternoon. So even though the Giants got to Timmy early, the bullpen, mainly Madison Bumgarner, Javier Lopez, Sergio Romo and Henry Sosa all helped hold down the fort while the offense climbed back.

In game 2, which just now ended, it was much of the same from game one. The Dodgers got to Jonathan Sanchez a bit early, collecting 4 hits while drawing a walk in just 1 2/3 innings. He did manage to keep the Dodgers off the board, but that was more so help from his bullpen. Then the Giants offense did all the work and blew LA out before the 5th inning, meaning it wasn't a team full of 2nd and 3rd stringers they were doing it against. It seems like almost all key starters got into the action. Torres went 2-3 with 2 runs and an RBI, Aubrey Huff had an RBI single and Nate Schierholtz had a big 2-RBI triple. Once again though, the Giants young stud and top prospect Brandon Belt was left hit-less, though he didn't get an official at-bat today.

The two big showings in Saturday's game came from a couple of guys who we here at the Giants Baseball Blog had just got done talking about a few posts back here, and I couldn't help but think about that post as those guys tore it up. Those two players are the overlooked Mark DeRosa and the re-focused, re-conditioned Pablo Sandoval, and Bochy couldn't be any happier about that. The Panda went 2-3 with a homer and 3 RBI hitting out of the 4-hole. Keep in mind, Buster Posey, the likely 4-spot hitter sat out Saturday, but still, the fact that Boch has Panda that high in the order is showing confidence in the youngster. I'm glad I've gotten delayed in doing our version of the Giants hitter projections because Sandoval's new conditioning certainly looks like it's playing a role and will be a big factor in his 2011 season. I was thinking a mix between the '09-'10 numbers, but right now I'm expecting closer to the '09 version.

As far as DeRosa is concerned, he's certainly eligible for the Comeback Player of the Year award, and even though were in the 2nd game of spring, this guy actually looks 100%. A lot of times you here players say that then they come out and you can tell they're not right, but DeRosa is right at this moment, and when he swings like he's swinging now, you need to find him 20 ab's per week. He just admitted he's more comfortable in the infield, which kind of mixes things up because I though his best chance for at-bats was in left-field. I also wonder if Bochy may do a little competition with DeRosa and Freddy Sanchez at 2nd base. I mean, the salary's are a wash and their both in their final year of their contracts. Sanchez, though he came up with some big hits in October last year, didn't have a great regular season in 2010. If your giving me an option between a healthy, '08 first-1/2 '09 version of DeRosa ( 220 games, .280 avg.,150 runs, 34 hr, 137 RBI, .842 OPS) with pretty solid defense and sure hands. When looking at Sanchez's 2010 line of .292/7/47/.739, and you see the difference in the offensive abilities between the two players. Now, Sanchez is a better defender, a much better contact/average hitter with more bat control (won batting tittle in '06), so DeRosa will have to go all Cody Ross early on if I's going to unseat Sanchez.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 5:05 PM, Anonymous Giants Gal said…

    We Love the Giants and we Love your Blog! We have it bookmarked and are big fans.

    I love Manny Burris and hope he gets backup shorstop, and Pat Burrell has to be starting in left field. Also, Sergio Romo is really good, he just had 2 or 3 hick-ups just in rough spots.

    All time favorite is Timmy though. I hope he has a better start in his next one than he had yesterday.

  • At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Panda looks aweseom, was there, and mad was it good to see the o&b out there again.

    A coouple other guys who caught my eye were Darren Ford(ahh, fastest guy in Arizona anyone?) and Thomas neal (big, big power, nice swing)

    I hope the Giants go with some of the young guys like that over the Rowands, Whitesides and Fontenot's

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