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Monday, April 11, 2016

Series win proves Giants top dogs in West

Through much of this first week of the season, the Giants have been in control, heading into Sunday's series' finale with Los Angeles at 5-2, and looking every bit the team many were expecting in December when they added to an already sturdy bunch. That being said, the Brewers were hardly the test the Giants will be facing with the likes of Los Angeles, Arizona, New York and Washington all the NL, so the Dodgers were their first big test.
 After taking care of business in Milwaukee as hoped, they came home to face the Dodger's, the National Leagues best regular season team from a year ago. Most every one's radar was on Saturday's matchup of Madison Bumgarner and Dodger Ace and MVP Clayton Kershaw. The Giants wasted no time getting to Kershaw as his counter part, MadBum, took him deep for the games first run. Kershaw settled down after that allowing just a Ehire Adrianza jack as his only other blemish, but on this day the Giants were too strong. At the end, the pitching lines looked nearly identical with MadBum did out-dueling his Dodger counter-part in most areas; 6 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 R compared to Kershaws 8 IP, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HR and in the end, that's all that matters. They both gave their team chances to win and although Kershaw may have been flashier and allowed just the two hits, but the Giants scored the three runs to LA's 2 and won the ballgame. You get what I'm saying here? This game is played in between the lines, and even when you think the highest odds are stacked against you, you just never know what will happen. That, my friends, is what makes baseball so great.

Enough of this philosophical stuff though (though I'm as superstitious come when it comes to sports). We're all here to talk baseball not out outlooks on the world. Save that for the political blogs and talk shows. Strictly baseball and sports on this site please, although a good political joke or relevant topic would be welcome... Anyhow, back to the subject at hand, and that is the way the Giants are playing to star the year, and the way they've started the year has been about as good as one could have hoped for, granted they could be at 6-1 had the late relievers done their job vs. LA on Saturday, but 5-2 after taking 3 of 4 from LA to start the season isn't a bad way to kick start things in the least and there are a multiple reasons why they're doing it.

First and foremost has been the offensive onslaught this team has been laying on opponents. We talked about it all spring a lot during that first series in Arizona, this team is just too deep from 1-9 in the batting order and never really out of a ballgame. It looks like manager Bruce Bochy is indeed going to roll with the pitcher in the 8th slot for the time being and I do like the move just because of the Giants' personnel. I mean, Brandon Crawford won a Silver Slugger award for SS's last season hitting in the 8th spot ahead of the pitcher so he's comfortable there. Then with the addition of Denard Span, it allowed Angel Pagan to be dropped into the 9th spot, aka the 2nd leadoff, and we've already seen it pay dividends early on. Now pitchers are facing to Denard Span with runners on and he's responding by driving in runs. Pagan still has some learning to do out in left field everyday but I really do like the new Giants' lineup set-up, Another reason why they're able to do that besides having the two leadoff hitters, is the great balance they have throughout. I mean, they have 2 or 3 guys who could hit 2nd and a few guys who could hit 3rd and so on, they just really could slot in anywhere and make it work but I think Boch has figured out the right formula so far.

So, things have been "so far so good" through the first week of the first week of the 2016 season, but in no way is this team perfect and I already see a few areas to keep an eye on moving foward. Now if you recall last season, Santaigo Casilla was ousted from the closer's role before regaining it and the Giants had some issues with their late relief at times and a premiere closer like a Craig Kimbrel, Mark Melancon, Greg Holland etc.. Not saying Caislla isnt right there too, but he's a notch below them and Romo a notch below that. I don't know if the Giants would even entertain trading for a closer, as that all depends on whether they think Hunter Strickland will be ready to take over in 2017 but I, myself, have the feeling they aren't thinking like that right now, so the late releif trade market could be one to keep an eye one. Besides that, the Giants look set as is right now. I mean, I was thinking maybe beefing up the infield with a more experienced utility guy to play with Tomlinson but Adrianza just keeps proving me wrong. Also, it wouldn't surprise me to see them bring in some sort of right-handed thump off the bench once they feel ready to roll with just 12 pitchers.

What a Week! Well, to wrap things up for the week, I don't think any of us Giants fans could have asked for a batter 7-day start. Sure a 7-0 record and maybe a MadBum no-no would be a spoiled kids wish list but nontheless, the Giants showed this is going to be another fun year and they have the talent to make it a memorable one. With the day off tomorrow and obligations Tuesday I probably won't be back until Wednesday or Thursday but until then, go Giants. And as always, folllow our Twitter for all things Giants Baseball Blog, new posts, thoughts on moves, major leagye baseball thoughts and even some occasional politic or pop culture talk if I feel like it. And we're setting up some cool giveaways this very moment! Stay tuned and follow us, and as always, GO GIANTS!
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