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Friday, March 11, 2011

Cain Healthy, Bumgarner Dominant

Well, being a Giants' fan, your no stranger to having high expectations of your starting rotation, and things are starting to fall into place for the reigning World Series champs. Matt Cain made his first appearance in a while after nursing some minor shoulder issues, Madison Bumgarner keeps improving each day, and even Barry Zito is looking halfway decent.

Things have really started to clear up over the last week or so though. Cain looks and sounds healthy again after throwing nearly 50 pitches in a simulated game on Wednesday. Then Madison Bumgarner gave the Giants even more reason to be optimistic as he turned in his best game of the spring so far against Cincinnati. MadBum got his first win of the Cactus League season by throwing 4 shutout innings, striking out six Reds' hitters and allowing just one base runner. Barry Zito, on the other hand, hasn't thrown particularly great, but he's certainly learning how to get by with the stuff he currently throws at you. He's thrown 10 innings over his 3 starts and has allowed just 6 hits with 5 K's, but has allowed 7 walks, a number that has to be reduced come April. Still, even with allowing all those base-runners, he's minimized the damage, allowing just 3 of those runners to cross home plate. The pitching has been so contagiously good that even newcomer Jeff Suppan is getting in on the action. Coming in as a long-shot to make the team in long-relief, Suppan has looked as good as anybody who's battling for a bullpen spot, and with his ability to start, he may have a leg up. He's thrown in 3 games (1 start), going 9 innings, allowing just 4 hits, 0 walks and 2 runs.

Offensively, things have been just fine as well. Even a little better than expected after the early return of Freddy Sanchez. All the regulars seem to have found some sort of rhythm. Andres Torres is hitting .389, Cody Ross is at .313 and Pablo Sandoval is alleviating concerns each day as he's led the team in at-bats while carrying a solid .303 average. Sophomore Buster Posey is really lighting it up, making the Cactus League look like the NCAA, hitting .526 with 2 HR and 8 RBI in just 19 at-bats. The only guy who's been there all spring and really hasn't been to noticeable is Miguel Tejada. The Giants are hoping the 36 year-old is just saving it for the regular season, but he is looking every bit his age so far in Spring (his bat especially). On the other hand, while Tejada hasn't quite hit his groove yet, Mark DeRosa has, and he looks 100% healthy again. I can't stress how important it is for DeRosa to get back on track, I stressed it all offseason long and now it's coming to light. The super utility guy has made a splashy return, hitting .400 with a homer, 6 RBI and a team leading 10 hits this spring. Now, DeRosa can't play short, but he can play seemingly everywhere else. Imagine if he were healthy during the World Series run last year and the depth he would have provided? Probably would have given some stability to third base at least, that's for sure.

Note: The Giants Blog was approached recently by Razzball.com to do a Giants Season Preview interview. Click here for the interview in full!
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  • At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Derric 4Real said…

    DeRosa is a beast if he's healthy. I watched a lot of his games on extra inningss (closet Braves fan, sorry giants fans!).

    Very solid player, and really clutch. A lot like Cody Ross. Just hope he can stay healthy all year, Giants fans will take a liking and I bet he gets' resigned.

  • At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Posey is the man!
    If he and Sandoval both play like they can, the Giants will have a nice lineup to go along with that pitching staff.

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