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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Giants third tittle defense unofficially begins

The road to the 2015 Major League Baseball has kicked off, as the reigning World Series champions just went through their first pitcher and catcher workout yesterday. The first full-squad workout is just around the corner too with all positional players due in Scottsdale Monday, then their first full-squad workout scheduled for Tuesday.

Alas, although the regular season is still 6 weeks out and spring training games are still a couple weeks away, we'll finally have some on-field baseball stuff to talk about moving forward. Obviously the two big pieces of news early on in regards to the Giants are the fact that Bruce Bochy has put to rest any potential battle for the fifth starters spot saying flat out it belongs to Tim Lincecum. May felt it would be a battle between Timmy and Ryan Vogelsong this spring but if that is the case, the Giants certainly aren't letting anyone know. I personally can't see how Boch would enter the year with Linececum in the rotation if he absolutely stinks in March and Vogey puts on a clinic, but unless that's the case, I do expect Timmy to enter the year in the fifth spot of the rotation with Vogey in the pen or taking the spot of Tim Hudson should his surgically repaired ankle take longer than expected to heal. Huddy is still on track to start the year with the big club but with him being up around age 40, you can't quite count on that body bouncing back like you would someone 10-15 years his junior. That being said, Hudson is rebounding greatly from his surgery and may even be a tad ahead of schedule and just may be a few days away from throwing off the mound. While that it great news, it doesn't necessarily mean Huddy will be ready to make his first start of the spring and may still be behind schedule, but that certainly is great news for the starting rotation.

Down in the pen, the back-end looks identical as to what they have been the last half decade or so. Once again anchoring things are the main four; Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez. After that foursome, however, things may look a little differently than what we saw heading into last year at least. Right now, the favorites for those last three spots are Jean Machi, Yusmiero Petit and Ryan Vogelsong. Despite Machi's regular season success last summer, he's kinda the odd man out should the Giants indeed decide to carry 12 pitchers out of the gate and all everyone stays healthy (certainly no given with Hudson's age and injury). There's also Hunter Strickland (who at the tail end of august looked like the closer of 2015) and others who are also right there in the mix as well, so Bruce Bochy and Dave Righetti are going to have their work cut for them trying to decipher which 12 (or 13) arms they decide to break north with.

So far, reports on all who've thrown sessions have been glowing. The guy who's first bullpen session I was most curious in seeing the results of were Matt Cain's, who's coming off the elbow surgery and is obviously one of the most key components to the Giants staff becoming a powerhouse again. According to Henry Schulman and others in attendance on Friday for Cain's first throwing session of the spring, things went just fine for the 30 year-old right-hander. The health of Hudson is huge, but to me, the Giants' chances for success in their rotation hinder largely on Jake Peavy and Matt Cain. Getting the  Peavy that we saw in August/September and during all those years in San Diego would be huge. I have expectations for Peavy to be a big add and pitch like the mid-rotation guy with #2 upside. Bottom line is if Peavy pitches to his career norm and Cain his, things will be just fine. Hey, surgery on a pitchers throwing arm, shoulder or hand is never anything to scoff at but the Giants need Cain to actually revert back into pre-2013 as he wasn't quite himself  that year either. Plenty of pressure, I know, but your making a cool $21,000,000 in 2015 so deal with it Matty and step it up (elbow permitting)! As for Peavy, he kind of get's lost in the afterthought of Cain and Bumgarner, but he showed after the trade last summer that he still had front-end stuff on many occasions. A full year back in the NL and pitching in the spacious AT&T Park could easily have the 33 year-old in the 15-win territory for 2015. Granted, he has to stay healthy and motivated after he just got his new deal.

Now with Hudson, I think Bochy is really going to take it easy on him the first half of the year. A lot of 5 and 6 inning starts even if he's dealing. I think that's part of the reason why they wanted another guy capable of eating innings in their pen (Vogelsong). Heck, they may just give Hudson the occasional start off and use Vogey as his spot-starting back-up. As good as he was the first half of last year, we can't expect Hudson to deliver an ERA in the low-2's into June again. Brings me back to the fac that those top-3 that really carry the rotation, to start with at least.

Other than that though, not a whole lot to report yet as positional players make their way into camp over the next 24 hours. Should be interesting to see how Casey McGehee and Nori Aoki interact with the club but I think they'll fit in just fine.

So far, the biggest scare, outside of how they're going to score runs consistently, was Bruce Bochy's hospital stint and operation just over the weekend. We here at The Giants Baseball Blog wish him well and hopefully it's something that's fixed for good and will not persist.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Kent2121 said…

    I say go a 6-man rotation to start the year and let nature take it's course. Someone will get hurt or start sucking and whichever that person is gets dropped from rotation.. Simple as that if you ask me. I don't buy that crap about a 6-man rotation screwing up pitchers rythms. They're paid millions of dollars youd think they could adapt right?!


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