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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bumgarner Brings Giants Home With Series Win

Well, after opening up the season getting swept in Arizona, Giants fans were biting their nails a little bit hoping this team would come home with at least a victory under their belts. However, a lot that tension was eased Thursday as the Giants starting pitching, that had been suspect early on, got right back on track behind the left arm of 22 year-old Madison Bumgarner.

The lefty held the potent Rockies lineup down to just 1 run on 4 hits in 7 1/3 innings work, striking out two and walking two before yielding to Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez after getting an out in the eighth, then Brian Wilson in the ninth. Wilson's outing was the roughest, as he allowed a run on 3 hits and put the tying runs in scoring position before getting the final out. Every Giants fan held their breath there for a while, as Wilson started off the inning looking solid, throwing 95 mph cutters like he normally does, then all the sudden, he started throwing his fastball in the mid to high 80's, and it brought Giants trainers and Bruce Bochy out to the mound in order to check on their closer. Wilson talked them into letting Boch keep him in the game, and got out of it pretty well considering he was basically pitching on one foot. It was revealed after the game, perhaps the best of all scenarios, as Wilson apparently just suffered a mild sprain of his left foot, and it's not serious enough to land him on the DL or keep him sidelined for any stretch of time. He may miss a day or two to heal up and let the swelling go down, but I'd be surprised if he weren't ready if needed for the home opener Friday afternoon or at some point for this home opening weekend series. All in all, it was a 180 from the night before, as the team did not commit a single error, and pitched terrifically after playing like it was their first spring game Wednesday.

So, as I mentioned in yesterdays post, the 2-4 road trip doesn't look all that bad considering the 0-3 start and how badly the Giants played fundamentally and pitched (sans Zito and Bum's outings in Denver). Fortunately for them, hitting has yet to be an issue this year, and Melky Cabrera looks like difference maker the Giants were hoping to obtain when they parted with Jonathan Sanchez last November. "The Melk Man" as they're starting to call him around the Bay Area delivered again Thursday, going 2-4 with his 3rd double of the year and drove in two runs, giving him 5 in the season's first 6 games. The performance also raised his average to team-high .385, which is just 40 points above Pablo Sandoval's, who went just 1-5 Thursday, though added a run scored. The biggest surprise to come out of this Rockies series though from an offensive standpoint, has been the bat of Brandon Crawford, who looked like an offensive shortstop in Coors Field. The Sophomore shortstop worked so very hard on his hitting in the fall league and winter league and performed well in both, and it's showed here early on in the season. His .261 batting average does scream out at you, but when you look at his hits and what they've meant, it seems a lot more like .361. He's 2nd on the team in RBI's with 6 and is tied for the lead in doubles with 3. His hits have certainly been clutch and big ones, and if he continues to hit above .250 and drive in runs like he is, he's going to cement himself into that SS spot like Panda has 3rd and Posey has catcher. That would be a great scenario.

Speaking of young talent, the Giants may want to consider getting Melky Cabrera locked up beyond this season, as next winters free agent market is less than flattering, and a big year from Melky will likely net him a pretty nice contract, considering he's just 27, can play all outfield positions, and is a 5-tool player who's learned how to properly use all those tools. I'm not talking anything earth shattering, but I wonder if he'd be open to, say, a 2 year/$16M extension, or something in that neighborhood. That would give him a 25% pay raise over what he's currently making and still allow him to become a free agent again at age 30. It would give him security, just in case he gets injured or something this season, and it would probably save the Giants a whole bunch of money if they do intend on keeping him beyond this season and have to bid against others for him... I know, it's still way too early to be thinking about that kind of stuff, but it's tough to think about this offense right now without Melky at the top, especially the way Pagan (.130) has struggled out of the gate.
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8 Comments:

  • At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Jason Billingsley said…

    I like Cain and Lincecum, but Bumgarner is becoming my favorite of the three I think. He's still so young and so talented. When does he become a free agent? The Giants better not let him get away. Lefties like that are rare and they can't let him get away. He get's overrloked becaue of Cain and Lincecum, but I think this year he'll break away from those guys shadow.

     
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