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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Day Is Near: What Spring Taught Us?

At the beginning of the spring, way back when pitchers and catchers reported to Scottsdale in mid-February, I did a post on the biggest three focuses of the spring for San Francisco. And, as the Giants get set to take on the Dodgers Thursday to start the season, here's what we got from the questions:

1.) IS BRANDON BELT READY: Ah, in a word, YES! He didn't exactly tear up Cactus League pitching, but he showed exactly why the Giants are so fond of him and why he's going to be so good in this league. He's patient at the plate, clutch, drives in runs, has power, can hit to all fields, and even is slick over there fielding first base. Belt hit .279 with 3 HR and 13 RBI. The injury to Cody Ross further increased his chances of making it, but at the same, the Giants have other options too. I'd like to see him up there to start with, but when it's all said and done, I have a feeling he'll end up in Fresno, a la Posey in '10. It that's indeed the case, he won't be down long, like Posey was. I just think Boch and Sabes will feel more comfortable with the veterans under the pressures of opening day and the first 6-8 weeks of the campaign. A: YES (should be up and at 1B with Ross on DL)

2.) WHICH SANDOVAL WILL SHOW UP? Well, we still need to wait a few weeks into the season to find that out, but so far, so good. Sandy's weight's down, and he's been tearing it up in the Cactus League hitting .313, with 3 HR and 16 RBI while leading the team in hits. His defense is improving too. The one area I worry about, is him trying to overcompensate for last year, and if he goes through a rough stretch, it could spell trouble. I'm seeing a .290/20/85 version of Panda this year though. If he doesn't live up to expectations, I'd move to plan B, and it's a good one in Mark DeRosa. A lot better than Mike Fontetnot was in the Playoffs last year, much better hitter. A: '09 Version (so far)

3.) WHERE'S EVERYONE GOING TO PLAY? Things were a little more crowded coming into spring than they are now, but there are still some decisions to be made. It's obvious Mike Fontenot is the back-up shortstop and will be on the roster. And for the time being, it looks like nothing really changes besides Schieholtz/DeRosa out in right instead of Ross for 2 weeks (unless Belt plays). They got pretty good health throughout the spring besides Ross, and closer Brian Wilson, who's still unclear on his status for the opener. If he can't go, they should be OK cause he shouldn't be gone longer than a week. In which case, Javy Lopez and Santiago Cassilla close. So, no un-foreseeable changes to the lineup yet, though that could change if Belt is inserted, which is still at 50-50! A: Huff in RF, Belt at 1B, Burrell in LF (rest the same w/o Ross)

: The Giants won round 1 of the Bay Bridge series vs. Oakland on Monday night, beating the A's 4-3 behind a big game from Aubrey Huff. Speaking of the Giants first basemen, he's had a ridiculous spring, as he know has 6 homers and 18 RBI. Buster Posey collected 2 hits and Pat Burrell drove in a run with a base-hit as well to give the Giants just enough support behind Matt Cain. Matty wasn't great, but he wasn't horrible either. He'll tell you he stunk, but he went 5 1/3 with 6 K's but did allow 6 hits and 3 runs. Still, it wasn't a bad final tune-up for Matt who will throw Friday in LA then pitch Monday's Home-Opener in San Francisco, when the World Series Flag is dawned and raised!

-Check back tomorrow for an in-depth preview of the Giants/Dodgers Opening Day tilt, including lineups, quotes and analysis, as the Giants start the marathon on the road to defending their crown!-
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 4:08 PM, Anonymous Zen Master/Giants Faithful said…

    Pretty good spring if I do say so myself.


    a.Belt got exposure and is ready
    b.Bumgarner got more work, looks good. Great even.
    c.The Pitching Staff is amazing, could be better than everyone thought
    d. Big Panda looks like '09 again
    e.They look like the team to beat in the NL

    a. Ross's injury
    b. Wilson's Injury
    c. no true at backup ss

    All in all, since the ROss and Wilson injury won't last past April, I'll give the Giants a A-... They really had everything go good.

    Wild Guezz: Zito goes 18-6 with a 3.66 era... Wouldn't that be something! Please no "what are you smoking" comments. Just a hunch. He looks diff. this spring.

  • At 4:09 PM, Anonymous Zen/Giants Faithful said…

    Add these to the Negatives, though not glaring ones:

    d.lack of speed
    e.depth to the rotation

  • At 4:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dude, Props on those photos.

    Where'd you find those, especially that Huff one. I want that one magnified like 50%, that would be beautiful.

    Darn lefties always have the smooth swing. Belts looks a little like Will Clarks like you were saying too.

    I'm really digging this Giants team, but who's after Belt? They need a SS soon, a 2B, RF, LF, CF.... So on so on. I know we're in 2011 now and to worry about the now, but what about 2015, half these guys will be on other teams by then...


  • At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Jordan Hayes said…


    It's the eve of the eve of opening day.... Baseball Santa, the football Santa was bad to us this year, bring us another championship!

    I think we're rearin' and ready to go. Will be at the Pac Bell Park opener, thank you very much, see my boy Matty C do some damage.
    I want to see this lineup, since my boy Ross da Boss will be out.

    Andres Torees
    Fred Sanchez
    Buster Posey
    Aubrey Huff
    Pat Burrell
    Brandon Belt
    Pablo Sanodval
    Miguel Tejada
    Tim Lincecum

    I think that's going to be it, book it compadres!

    See yall at Lefty O'Douls Bridge! The Boys are back, back in town... miss that song. Just hope the Dodgers suffer along with the Pad people. AZ, they just suck, I aint worried bout them. Rockies/Giants rivalry is a brewin'!


  • At 9:50 PM, Anonymous Slater Emos said…

    Never want to see anyone get hurt, but why Ross, and Wilson now? Why couldn't have been at least Torres or Sanchez or Sandoval... Someone they have a clear cut backup for.

    Huff sucks in right, well doesnt suck, but deRosa would be better, schierholtz obviously the best.

    We shall see what Boch doess, 1 more practice run, if any starters play anyway.

  • At 2:02 AM, Anonymous Talking Giants Baseball said…

    Although the loss was terrible, no need to panic yet. Every team wins 60 and every team loses 60. The defense and offense got us tonight, but I don't see that as a long-term problem. We'll see tomorrow.


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