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Monday, March 09, 2015

Cain strong in debut, offense still struggling

Matt Cain made his first appearance since early July on Monday, and did so in perfect fashion. The Giants' projected number two starter shut down the Dodgers' starters over a couple of frames.

The 30 year-old right-hander is extremely crucial to this rotation's success and with the loss the Giants suffered offensively over the winter (and now starting the year without Hunter Pence), that rotation is going to be as key as ever. Cainer's outing Monday was certainly a huge positive though, as the right-hander ended up throwing two perfect innings before surrendering to expected long-reliever Ryan Vogelsong. In fact, it was the best start the Giants have received early on here in the Cactus League with ace Madison Bumgarner has been roughed up a bit in his two early outings. Nobody's going to be worrying too much, or getting too excited in early/mid-March one way or another but it was one of the biggest positives of the Giants' spring thus far, and refreshing coming off the Hunter Pence news last week. Vogelsong wasn't too shabby himself either, although he did yield one mistake to Yasiel Puig (that really wasn't much of a mistake actually), in which Puig took him deep for a two-run big-fly, he struck out four and allowed just 2 hits in 3 innings of work. Even Hunter Strickland made a perfect appearance with a K and surprisingly, no home runs allowed.

While the Giants pitching has been making strides lately, their expected starting lineup has been abysmal the first week-plus of Cactus League play. It was something Giants fans are certainly aware of and a bit worried about after losing Pablo Sandoval (more on him later) and Michael Morse. Hopefully Pence won't be out more than a few weeks in April and come back to help, but until then, we'll be looking a a middle of a lineup of Angel Pagan, Buster Posey and Brandon Belt, who all combined for a total of 37 home runs between the three in 2014. Sure, home runs don't win you World Series', but the Giants' lack of power, especially without Pence, both in the lineup and on the bench, is a tad worrisome. Again, who really cares what numbers look like 1/4 through spring, heck, I don't care if they don't hit another homer all spring, so long as when April 6th rolls around, they figure out ways to put runs on the board!

Although the expected starters haven't really showed up with the bat, some of the younger guys have really thrived and have been carrying them offensively. One guy I've mentioned with an outside shot at making the roster is Adam Duval, who's depth and power could really help the 25-man roster. Another guy who's had a big spring has been Jarret Parker. If you remember, Parker was taken after Gary Brown back in that 2010 draft, and like Brown, has been a bit of a disappointment. That is, up until last season. Parker hit .300 in the AFL, then went on to hit .275 with 15 HR, 68 RBI and 12 SB split between AA and AAA. He's a big guy who can run and if his power and average show up, he just may be a late-bloomer to keep an eye on the rest of the spring with a thin outfield.

Back to Sandoval though, I was just going to do a mini-post mentioning Cain's outstanding performance, but I had to respond to Pablo Sandoval's ridiculous comments he made Monday to Bleacher Report. First of all, it was no secret to those who follow the team closely that Pablo was upset with the team not re-signing him last spring, and he should have left it at that. Instead, he didn't mention the fans that made him a baseball god in this area, and the teammates that helped land him three World Series rings (only two he had big impacts in though). Still to say the only thing you'll miss about San Francisco is Bochy and Pence is a slap in the face to the fans and all the players he played with here. I'd take his bat back in this lineup in a second, but I don't think that guy is a good investment for five seasons. He's gonna balloon and will be hitting .240 by year 3, you watch! The new red colors suit him perfect, he's no longer a Panda, he's a clown!
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The Giants Baseball Blog
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3 Comments:

  • At 11:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Man i loved Pablo like a brother when he was here. felt like i grew up with him kinda as he was always my favorite player and got me into the Giants back in 2008 when he came up strong.

    But after hearing that, that is a little disrespectful, and I have lost all respect I had for Pablo Sandoval. There was no need for that.

     
  • At 11:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    t sucks for me, cuz the two guys that made me fall in love with the team are essentially gone or have one foot out the door, The Freak and the Panda? Who we have now? The Giraffe? Belts cool but he's no Sandoval at the plate.

     
  • At 1:30 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Yeah, it's true, Pablo and Lincecum really did get this "dynasty" thing started when they arrived. However, Pablo had very little to do with the 2010 Series' win, and Lincecum was absent all of last postseason, so they've proven they can do it without those two players.

    As far as who's left to "love" on the team, that's gotta be your choice. I liked Pablo when he was here, but there's still the core guys from the last two are pretty much still together pretty much (Posey, Pence, Pagan, Belt, Crawford, Cain, Bum, Vogey, relievers etc...)

     

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