#SFGiants Week In Review (4/15-4/21)

What a weird week. Absolutely horrible in Milwaukee (a place the Giants seem to do well, and against a bad team), and then awesome at home against the Padres. The Giants are now 8-1 in the division…since losing to LA on opening day they have not lost a division game. That’s a fantastic start…let’s hope they keep it up against the Diamondbacks and the Padres again this week.

Results:

3-3 (12-7); 2nd place, 1.5 games back in NL West

10-8 L @ MIL; 4-3 L @ MIL; 7-2 L @ MIL; 3-2 W vs SD; 2-0 W vs. SD; 5-0 W vs. SD

Hitter of the Week:

Brandon Crawford is the hitter of the week and possibly even the year, given the expectations for him heading into the season. I think we all hoped for improvement, but .250 with 10+ home runs was a goal we would have all paid top dollar for. It’s early and there will be slumps and streaks but he sure passes the eye test right now. Power to the opposite field, not trying to do too much…he just looks dangerous at the plate. And that might be the best sign of all.

Pitcher of the Week:

Tim Lincecum was the enigma of the week last week and he pitched beautifully on Saturday night. Yes, he was at home (but we all know he’s been good and bad everywhere, park doesn’t really seem to matter to Timmy), and yes it was the Padres, but he looked like vintage Lincecum. Guys swung at nasty pitches out of the zone, and most importantly, he pitched with purpose and it sure seemed like he knew what he wanted to do and put the ball where he wanted it to go. The great question of Lincecum is not “will he get his velocity back” (probably not), but rather “will his crazy mechanics allow him to become a control pitcher” (a difficult task). The jury is still out, but saturday night was a huge step forward.

Enigma of the Week:

This is the enigma of the year: the Giants’ starters have all shown flashes of brilliance. I was floored by this article. But each of them seems to be too susceptible to (a) the Long Ball, and (b) the Big Inning. Cain and Zito got it big time in Milwaukee this week. Could be flukey early season stuff, but certainly it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Looking Ahead:

6 more division games: 3 against Arizona in SF, and then 3 in San Diego. Let’s hope the team keeps rolling against the NL West!

(-SB)

Advertisements

#SFGiants Week In Review (4/9-4/14)

It is tough to argue with, or nit-pick, a 6-1 week, which the Giants just pulled off, but it doesn’t feel like they played all that well. I think this is due to the fact that the way they won was decidedly out of character.

Perhaps the hangover from 2012 is this: the Giants don’t fear playing behind. Typically, you think of this team as one that has to get ahead early and protect leads. It’s not a team that appears designed to be able to come back.

But comeback they did, and they continue to do. Of course, some of that is due to very poor play on the part of the Cubs. Nonetheless, they swept a division rival and took 3 of 4 from a team they should take 3 of 4 from, regardless of how it is done.

Bottom line: 6-1 is a good week.

Results:

6-1 (9-4); 0.5 game lead in NL West

4-2 W vs. Col; 9-6 W vs. Col; 10-0 W vs. Col; 7-6 W @ CHC; 4-3 L @ CHC; 3-2 W @ CHC; 10-7 W @ CHC

Pitcher of the Week:

Come on down Barry Zito. Yahoo! Sports insinuated after Zito’s start against the Rockies that this is simply a contract year phenomenon, but Giants’ fans know Zito has pitched well at times, especially early in 2010 and late in 2012. It seems that he has finally make peace with his stuff, he is learning how to be a control artist, and most of all, he is comfortable with who he is as a pitcher. He will have some bad starts, he just walks too fine a line not too, but who in this rotation inspires as much confidence right now as Zito?

Hitter of the Week:

Zito! Just kidding, but the dude’s gotten just as much press this last week for his hot “hitting” as he has for his pitching.

How about that Nick Noonan. Here’s a guy a lot of us had pegged for opening day 2013 a few years back. Then he stalled out at AA and was forgotten in the wake of Gary Brown’s and Brandon Crawford’s and Joe Panik’s. But, again, a few years ago he was as legit a position prospect in the Giants’ system as anyone. He’s blocked by Scutaro for now and would probably struggle after the league gets a book on him, but he has such a nice swing, and he beat good pitches against the Cubs…that wasn’t a cheap 5 for 8!

Enigma of the Week:

Tim Lincecum had 2 bad innings. Taken together it looks like this: 2 IP, 9 ERs, 4 BB (including the opposing pitcher), 5 H (including 1 double and 2 home runs), 1 wild pitch, and 2 Ks. For those who like ratios that’s an ERA of 40.50 and a WHIP of 4.50. Not good.

The rest of those outings, though, look like this: 9 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 H (all singles), 0 WP, 9 Ks. That’s an ERA of 1.00 and a WHIP of 0.67.

So, what to make of all that? First, and this a duh observation, Lincecum needs to avoid the bad inning. Second, he is striking a lot of guys out, which means his stuff is still nasty. Third, and this is the most important, Lincecum needs to identify EARLY what is working and what is not. Yesterday both of the home runs came off poor change-ups. Lincecum can’t feel it out and ease in to what is on and what is off in a start anymore. He needs to know when the game starts what he has to work with.

To me, it seems to come down to concentration. When it’s there he is still a really good pitcher, when it is not, it is really ugly.

Looking Ahead:

The Giants head to Milwaukee for 3, and then get 12 straight against division rivals San Diego and Arizona. I’d love to seem them stay hot, but clean up the starting pitching a bit and work from ahead instead of behind.

(-SB)

#SFGiants Week In Review (4/1-4/8)

Yesterday, I finally had the chance to watch a game. I enjoyed, very much, the first three innings…Pagan, Crawford, and Panda all coming through, Matt Cain setting the first 9 down in order. And then it got really ugly.

Really ugly.

Oh well. 3 and 3 is not bad. One of the things that will be hard about this season is that the team is SO similar to the team during the last third of last year (and of course the playoffs). It’s cool to see Gaudin succeed. It’s great to have Torres back. It’ll be interesting to see what we get from Timmy this year. But otherwise, it looks like same old, same old.

When our starters pitch well, we tend to win. When they don’t, we lose. There’s some offense here and there, but it’s all about the starters.

Take comfort in the familiar, I suppose.

Results:

3-3 (3-3); 2.0 GB, 4th place in NL West

4-0 L at LA; 3-0 W @ LA; 5-3 W @ LA; 1-0 W vs. STL; 6-3 L vs. STL; 14-3 L vs. STL

Pitcher of the Week:

As great as it was to see Zito get off to a good start, Madison Bumgarner’s start was huge. He beat LA, in LA, and he dominated. There are reasons to be concerned about MadBum after the way he ended 2012, and it will be critical for him to be strong this year. Good start!

Hitter of the Week:

Another guy to be concerned about based on how he ended 2012 was/is Hunter Pence. His motivational speeches aside, he left a lot to be desired down the stretch. That said, he has been a very good ballplayer since coming into the league. Great to see him pick up a couple of homers to start the season. If he can be a presence behind Posey, it will go a long way to helping this offense improve this year.

Looking Ahead:

3 at home against Colorado who has started hot. Still a series the Giants should pick up at least 2 of 3 in. Then off to Chicago for 4, and another series that should favor the Gigantes. Looking for more consistency this week!

(-SB)