Week 1 [In Review] #SFGiants #WeekInReview

Heading into opening week, hoping for a 4-3 start seemed reasonable. Even with the rotation uncertainty right out of the gate, it still felt like the Giants could steal 2 out of 3 in Arizona and then split in San Diego. The San Diego split was predicated on the Giants being able to win the Hudson and Bumgarner starts. The only game it appeared that the Giants would be overmatched in was Sunday’s tilt between Peavey and Tyson Ross.

Welp.

The plan was holding true to form through Friday. In fact the Giants nearly stole the first two game in San Diego, and were a few outs away from racing out to a 4-1 start. However, they fell short, and then Bumgarner laid an egg on Saturday night, and even though Peavy got off to a strong start, he’s overmatched again someone as nasty as Tyson Ross. 4-1 quickly turned into 3-4.

Meanwhile, the Giants continue to be the walking wounded. In addition to the negative opening day news surrounding Matt Cain and Jake Peavy, Brandon Belt pulled a groin, Casey McGehee strained a knee, Hector Sanchez got bopped on the head, and even the affiliates were afflicted as prized prospect Andrew Susac sprained a finger this weekend.

However, none of the worst case injury scenarios have come true. Belt and Peavy are back already. Cain should only miss a little time, not the whole season. And McGehee got a shot in his knee and should avoid the DL.

Other silver linings appeared as well: Chris Heston looked pretty good in his start. The Timmy’s fared well, even if they didn’t dominate. Nori Aoki has impressed. Angel Pagan looks spry. Buster Posey finally hit a home run, and then he hit another.

But, when you pull the camera back, it’s not hard to look at the first of the season as a microcosm of all our worst fears: injuries and lost velocity taking its toll on the starting staff. The lack of starting innings impacting the bullpen. And, the lack of power in the starting lineup continues to be alarming. Any time anyone hits a home run (just 4, by 3 players, through 7 games) it sure seems like a surprise.

This week might be more cheery. The Giants will unveil another World Series Champion banner. They will be home for the next 10 games. Four of those are against Arizona! Every day is a day closer to the return of Hunter Pence and Matt Cain. And McGehee’s injury means that we may see something resembling my ideal Giants’ lineup:

  • Aoki LF
  • Panik 2B
  • Posey C
  • Belt 1B
  • Pagan CF
  • Crawford SS
  • Duffy 3B
  • Blanco RF

Although, it will probably look more like this:

  • Aoki LF
  • Panik 2B
  • Pagan CF
  • Posey C
  • Belt 1B
  • Crawford SS
  • Blanco RF
  • Duffy 3B

Either way: MATT DUFFY!

Hitter of the Week:

I have to give this Nori Aoki. I’m still not in love with the signing, but if he hits like this consistently it does make the Giants lineup deeper, even if he has zero chance of hitting a home run anywhere other than Colorado. That aside, a great debut from a guy who needed to start strong to win some fans over.

Pitcher of the Week:

I’m tempted to give this to Lincecum. Although he wasn’t dominant he did the very thing we’ve all been longing for: he pitched efficiently and wisely. This is the great and on-going question: can he evolve and whether or not his stuff and velocity “recover”? He seemed to pitch on Friday like a guy who had some peace with that. However, that was just one start, and we’ll have to see if he can keep it up.

The award, though, goes to Chris Heston for his great start in place of Matt Cain. I’ll defer to this article by Grant, but I agree with his premise: he threw like a good who could be good. The movement in particular has got to be pleasing to the Giants, and his velocity puts him right behind Bumgarner. (Side note for another post: the Giants used to have some of the best velocity of any starting rotation. Remember when Bumgarner was on the “slower” side. Those days are gone, and it has to be alarming to the team to see so many mid to high 80’s fastballs).

Looking Ahead:

As I said, the Giants are finally home and have a week full of games against the Rockies and Diamondbacks. That’s as favorable an opening two series as you could ask for. However, the Rockies have been tearing the cover off the ball and while the Giants pitching is in disarray it seems like rough roads ahead. Furthermore, Arizona has played well since the Giants left town. They even defeated Clayton Kershaw. There won’t be any cake walks in this division this year.

Go Giants!

-SB

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