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Monday, April 01, 2013

Kershaw Bests Cain, Giants in Opener

In one of the more frustrating openers in recent memory, Clayton Kershaw showed exactly why he's considered by many the best pitcher in the game. Not only did he shut down the Giants and complete a game in under 100 pitches, but he also homered to drive in the games first run.

There just weren't a lot of positives to take out of this one on the Giants side, outside of the fact that Cain was pretty darn impressive himself after that rocky first inning. Had it not been for that 30-pitch effort in the first, Cain may have been able to take the ball into the 8th inning like Kershaw did and maybe things turn out differently, but unfortunately the early season pitch count forced Cainer out after 6. It took him a few innings to really get command of the fastball, but after that, he had everything working smoothly as evident by his 8 strikeouts and just one walk over the 6 frames. And in typical, pre-2012 Giants fashion, they were unable to support Matty when he was out there throwing a gem. Granted, it was Kershaw, and the young lefty was certainly in his zone Monday, but I just saw too much first pitch swinging, and the Giants give away too many outs than I would have preferred to see. When a guy's in a groove like Kershaw was, they should have started waiting him out a bit and make him work. Even Scutaro, who is a notoriously patient hitter, had a few 2-pitch at-bats.

I hate to say it, but everything about this game reminded me a lot of 2011; the Giants get stifled by good pitching, and they fail to give adequate run support to Matt Cain. They really didn't have many chances offensively, as again, Kershaw was on his game, but they couldn't even work 3-ball counts out of the Dodger lefty, and that just shows you that they were in-patient. Hopefully we can chalk some of that up to opening day jitters, but they better do a quick 180 if they don't want to start 2013 in a rut like they did 2011. The only two hitters in the lineup to come up with base knocks off of Kershaw were Pablo Sandoval and Angel Pagan. The Panda had a couple of solid at bats and really hit the ball better than any other Giant off Kershaw, and looked good in the field as well. Hunter Pence also just missed hitting 2 big flies by a few feet each. Had it not been for Panda and Pagan's 2-4 outings though, the Giants may have been shut down all together as the lefty was perfect otherwise. Andres Torres looked like the 2011-12 version of Torres and Brandon's were both way outmatched by Kershaw.

The one Dodger who jumped out at me Monday and showed he was healthy was Carl Crawford, who made his Dodger debut after being part of that huge August trade with Boston last year. If he stays on the field and plays like he can, the Dodgers may very well posses the best outfield in the game, and he could end up giving the top of that lineup a spark very few teams have.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    OK I'm chalking that one up to Kershaw just being terribly good. The Dodgers weren't that impressive besides him and his home run.

    My dollar is on us tonight behind MadBum.

  • At 12:12 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Yeah, Kershaw was impressive, and it's just one game. It gets magnified because it was the opener, but we do have to remember that it's just 1 of 162!I expect a better effort tonight behind Bumgarner as well though.

    What irks me is the Giants knew that hitting lefties would be an issue again coming into the season, and they could have gotten another right-handed bat to help out like Scott Hairston, and failed to do so. Would have been nice to have that option instead of Andres Torres, who looks like a shadow of his 2010 self.

  • At 12:56 AM, Anonymous hitnrun said…

    Couldn't have said it better myself Trevor. I guess that Sabean signed Torres because he wanted to return to the Giants, plus he was willing to come here cheap, which now makes sense, since they gave any money for Hairston, Swisher or Cody Ross to Posey instead. I have no problem giving Posey his contract since he is the face of the team, but investing a few more dollars in Hairston instead of Torres gives the team a better shot at defending the title. As the season progresses, and Torres is hitting about .220 they will realize that they need to replace Huff, I mean Torres, with someone who can get the ball out of the infield.

  • At 10:53 AM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Hairston signed for 2 years and 5 million I believe (could be wrong on exact terms, but close to that).

    I would have rather given him even just 1 yr. at $4M than Torres the 1 Yr. $2M.


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