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Monday, March 14, 2011

Giants On Top in Cactus League Standings

The Giants have started 2011 a lot like they finished off 2010, as they sit atop the Cactus League with a 14-4 record heading into Monday's game. Granted, it's only exhibition season, the Giants look like they're completely on track with the season opener a little over 2 weeks away.

Matt Cain made just his second appearance of the Cactus League Monday, and looked very good vs. the Brewers, a team he's notoriously struggled against. Cain threw 3 shutout innings, allowing 3 hits while striking out one batter. I didn't watch any of his pitches, but from everything I've heard and read, it sounds like he had his good velocity and was right in the zone. It's good to see the zero in the walk column for Matty. A lot has been said about Cain this offseason, with the spotlight on the Giants, and about his ability to defy some of the logic in sabremetrics. People are just waiting for him to implode and his era to rise, but I just don't see it happening. Cain has always sported a rather high WHIP and allows a lot of balls to be put in play, but his career era is rock solid and he's considered one of the better pitchers in the National League. Now with him back in tow, the Giants rotation is at full strength with plenty of time to spare before their opener in LA. Not only is everybody healthy, but they're all throwing ridiculously well. I pointed it out in the last post but focused more on Madison Bumgarner, Barry Zito and Jeff Suppan. Those guys have all been nails as has Jonathan Sanchez and ace Tim Lincecum. The rotation is already set, but Suppan could, and if he keeps this up, should make the team as a long reliever (just gave up 6 runs to Brewers which will not help his cause).

The bats aren't looking too shabby either. We talked a lot about Pablo Sandoval on Friday, and he continues to make headlines, hitting his team-leading 3rd home run and driving in his team-high 9th RBI on Monday. Aubrey Huff went deep as well, for the second time this spring, and went 3-3 with 2 runs and 3 RBI. It looks like Bochy is going to roll with the same front-4 to the lineup that won him the Series' last fall, with Torres-Sanchez-Huff-Posey making up the first half of the lineup. It's still not fully clear how the lineup will fall into place after that, but we know who will be there. If Pablo keeps hitting like this all the way up to opening day, I think Bochy needs to seriously consider re-inserting him into the middle of the lineup, and that would mean placing him in the 5th spot. If not Sandoval, It'll probably be Pat Burrell, but Boch looks for as many ways to get the R-L-R-L combo into the lineup that he can. As for the guy who everybody is watching this spring, Brandon Belt, I think it's safe to say he'll be starting the year in Fresno. He hasn't been bad by any stretch, but he hasn't stood out like he'd have to in order to make this team as a regular. As of Monday, he's hitting .263 with a homer and 8 RBI. Certainly producing, just not quite where the Giants want him yet.

The only disappointing thing so far this spring that I can think of is that there hasn't been a young player who's stood out or separated himself from the rest of the pack. Brandon Belt has, but he's been played like a regular this spring. Brandon Crawford, Thomas Neal and Darren Ford are the bigger name prospects in camp, and none of them have done much of anything (outside of Ford's 7 stolen bases).
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4 Comments:

  • At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm pulling for Darren Ford to come through. We need some speed on the base path in our park.

     
  • At 2:00 AM, Anonymous Caleb said…

    Yeah, Ford brings some solid attribtes to the field, but there simply is no room for him to make this roster out the shoot, unless the Giants go through some horrible injury luck over the next 2 weeks.

     
  • At 4:19 PM, Anonymous #1 Giants Fan in Sunnyvalle said…

    I'm on board with Ford too... Rather have him on the roster over Nate Schierholtz... I like Nate, but I think Ford brings more to the table.

    Give me this 5-man bench: C-Whiteside, IF-DeRosa, 1B-Ishi, OF-Ford, OF-Rowand

     
  • At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Joe Machuta said…

    I am believing that the Giants will win at least 98 games this season and maybe more

     

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