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Monday, April 27, 2015

Giants could make big statement in LA

Obviously it's been a bit of an up-and-down first few weeks of the 2015 season for the San Francisco Giants, but they were able to get back on track last week vs. the Dodgers at AT&T Park with a much needed 3-game sweep. They now get LA for another three, this time in Southern California, and their hoping for similar results as they climb their way back towards .500.

Another Big Start for 55
With the rain-out in Sunday's rubber match in Colorado, it pushed Tim Lincecum's start back a night, which I think is a big deal. Not only did Timmy avoid throwing in the light air in Denver where he's been lit up in recent seasons, but this now allows Madison Bumgarner's start to be pushed back from Monday night to Tuesday when he'll be opposed by Clayton Kershaw, a much more reasonable matchup on the Giants end than having Kershaw go up against Vogey. Still, Vogey won't get an easy matchup in the finale as he takes on Zach Greinke, but I think the Giants will take the matchups they've gotten now rather than the ones they were scheduled to have. That being said, it's another big start for number 55, as he opposes Brian Anderson, a guy the Giants were able to rough up last week at AT&T (4 IP, 9 hits, 4 ER). So, with the Giants sitting at 8-11 and the Dodgers at 11-7, another 3-game sweep could bring the Giants to within a game of the their SoCal rivals, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Hopefully Timmy carries over the good vibes from his last outing vs. these very Dodgers, when he threw 6 strong, allowing just a run and 5 hits with 5 punch-outs.

On the other side of things, although they still don't have Hunter Pence back and Casey McGehee grounding into double plays on the regular and hitting just .175, the offense has been holding their own the last few games. One guy who can take a lot of the credit for the teams offense showing some signs of life is new outfielder Justin Maxwell. We mentioned J-Max a few times during spring as a potential right-handed power bat off the bench, but so far in the early going, he's providing much more than that. He's ousted Gregor Blanco from the starting lineup and has entrenched himself into the middle of the Giants order with a .303/.400/.615 slash line through his first 40 at-bats. Now, 40 ab's is hardly a fraction of a seasons worth, but he's come up with some clutch hits and is showing no signs of slowing down. He's big and powerful and can drive the ball out of the ballpark, plus he also plays the heck out of right field. He's making so much noise in fact, that the Giants may be forced with the task of possibly platooning he and Nori Aoki a bit once Hunter Pence does return from the DL.


Maxwell Carrying Offense
Pence's return is still roughly 2 weeks away, but eventually some decisions are going to have to be made, and Justin Maxwell has been about as valuable as any other bat in the lineup thus far. Boch said Sunday in Colorado after the rain-out that Pence's return will not push Maxwell back to a full-time bench role, but opened the possibility of doing sort of a three man rotation in left and center between Maxwell, Aoki and Angel Pagan. I mean, we're three weeks into the season only but between he and Aoki, I'd say the Giants hit on their two bargain outfield free agent pick-ups this winter and together those guys aren't even making $7M. In any event, having a jam-packed outfield is hardly a problem Bochy is fretting about. It's been a while since the Giants had the kind of depth they seem to have put together this season as Maxwell has filled in for Pence with flying colors and Matt Duffy has eased some of the pain of Casey McGehee's struggles.

Extras: On a medical note, Matt Cain, who hasn't thrown in a big league regular season game since last July, will give it another go as he'll begin to throw again over the next week. At this point, I'm not sure what the Giants are expecting out of Cainer, but I do fear that Tommy John may be inevitable and if that's the case and they want him back for any of hte 2016 season than that decision has to be made sooner than later. I just have a bad feeling with Matty right now and fear that we may not see him on the field for quite some time. Boy how I hope I'm wrong and he's back in the rotation by the end of May, but something still feels off with the former horse of this staff.

On the other end of the spectrum, Hunter Pence is on his way back, and should most certainly be back with the big league squad within two weeks, if all goes as planned. He's been able to stay in shape and on his feet, but his biggest obstacle will be getting his timing down at the plate. He didn't have but a handful of at-bats in March and will likely need at least a weeks worth of rehab games in Sacremento, I'm guessing... Jake Peavy, out with back spasms will hopefully be back, healthy and ready to go when he's eligible to come off next week.
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The Giants Baseball Blog
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2 Comments:

  • At 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You know I really was one of the biggest Lincecum fans when he arrived 6-7 years ago, but man oh man how he's fallen off and become almost irrelavent.

    I'm just wondering if they may be better off bring up another guy from the minors to take his place. What about that guy Stratton, since i know crick and those other guys aren't ready, or even putting Petit in the rotation?

     
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