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Thursday, May 01, 2014

Giants end April on high note

After a hot start and a sluggish middle of April, the Giants are heating up again.

The starting pitching seems to leveling out a bit after an up-and down couple of weeks to start the year and the offense keeps coming up with the big hit which has led to a 17-11 month of April. We'll talk a little about both units in this post but I wanted to start out with the offense. If you would have told me that Pablo Sandoval would be hitting sub-.200 and Pence and Posey were hovering around .250 with Marco Scutaro still shelved, I would have assumed this offense had a disastrous month. Instead, while Posey and Pence took some time to find their groove, it allowed other players to step up and shine. The offensive MVP for the month would have to be a toss-up between newcomer Michael Morse, who slashed .302/.351/.581 with 6 home runs and 20 RBI in April, and Angel Pagan, who went .340/.380/.470 with 2 HR, 14 RBI and 4 steals. The biggest surprise offensively for the first month would have to go to another newcomer, Brandon Hicks. People were just hoping someone would keep the seat warm while Scutaro healed, and while it's taking longer than expected, Hicks is making it a much easier wait. Although he carries just a .213 average into May, his 5 big flies have been huge as he always seems to hit them when it matters. His production has helped pick up some of Sandoval's slack.

As far as the starting pitching is concerned, there really is no question who gets the nod for most valuable in the month of April. Tim Hudson (another offseason acquisition) has been instrumental to the Giants solid start, and is off to one of his better personal starts at age 38. He's led the staff with a 4-1 record, a 2.17 ERA and a microscopic 0.74 WHIP. While we can't expect him to keep this up all season long, he looks like vintage Tim Hudson and one of the steals of the offseason thus far. The rest of the rotation has had some bumps, but for the most part appear to be on the right track. Ryan Vogelsong is coming off his most promising start of the year by far and Yusmiero Petit filled in admirably for Matt Cain Tuesday. Cain and Bumgarner are each coming off rocky starts their last time out, but both have shown signs of their usual selves recently. Right now, most of the concern amongst the rotation surrounds Tim Lincecum, who started the spring out so well, but has gone down hill ever since. Outside of his one, halfway decent outing vs. the Dodgers a few weeks back in which he still only lasted 5 innings, his starts have been forgettable for the most part. I'm also not completely convinced Vogey's back, but Petit's strong showing should allow the Bochy to skip a starter here and there if they aren't performing.

All in all, although they've been better lately, the rotation still has to tighten up it's consistency. The bullpen has been lights out, which has helped mitigate some of the rough starting performances, but eventually, Cain's gonna have to string some solid starts together and Lincecum is going to have to provide something to this team.

Injury Note: Speaking of Marco Scutaro, the Giants have been pretty hush hush on the progress of his rehab in extended spring training, but from what I'm reading and hearing, he's not making much and still has no timeline for a 2014 debut. Backs are a sensitive issue in sports especially when a guys up around 40 and it honestly wouldn't surprise me if Scutaro doesn't play a game this season. Again, Hicks' power at the plate and his exceptional glove have made him a fine fill in, but there's a reason why he's approaching 30 and has never been an everyday player. If he stops hitting the ball over the fence then his low average begins to be a glaring hole so hopefully he can keep it up.
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3 Comments:

  • At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    OK, Michael Morse has been better than I think we all thought, but how sweat would it be if the Giatns coulda got Jose Abreu? Then if they could somehow teach him third base, that would have been even better.

     
  • At 4:47 PM, Anonymous B.J. Rassam said…

    The Giants have had a relatively great start to the 2014 season - now they have to get Sandoval's bat going, and it'll be full steam ahead....

     
  • At 11:16 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Yeah, if Morse keeps swinging it like he has and Pagan stays healthy, this offense would be one of the better ones in the league if/when Pablo figures it out.

    Good to see Timmy and Vogey turn in back-to-back strong efforts as well. The two biggest question marks in the rotation might just be getting back on track!

     

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