There are a variety of oddities making the evaluation of the Giants start to the season difficult.
For one, while they’ve played 14 games, they’ve only seen 3 different teams. This week, they only play 5 games and they only add one new team to that list. And it’s a team from the American League Central. That’s odd.
Opening day saw the continuation of 2016’s bullpen woes, but the bullpen hasn’t really been the issue. The Giants are one of the top teams in terms of runs scored in the NL, but they’ve had some BAD games with the bats.
They’ve had some encouraging starts from all five guys in the rotation, and yet are only consistent winners when Johnny Cueto takes the hill.
They are 0-3 when Madison Bumgarner starts, and he’s off to one of his better starts. That’s really odd.
The school of cold hard facts would say: 5-9 and last place is a bad start. No bones about it, this is not how anyone would have wanted to come out of the gate.
However, they’ve already weathered a week without Buster Posey, are not going to go winless in Bumgarner starts, and the big problem with this team (the bullpen) seems to have found a sense of stability.
Back to the dark side: the Giants are on a weird road trip, which includes Colorado, and 6-13 would really be a bad start to the season.
Where do we go from here?
The big issue has been consistency. Certainly, a parade of quality starts from the rotation would go a long way to righting the ship.
But, the lack of quality from the lineup is the most troubling development so far. Consider this weekend: Saturday, the Giants were nearly no-hit, then followed that up with a 3 run out burst to start the game Sunday, and then proceeded to mail it in for the remainder of the game.
That’s 17 innings of nothing, and one 3-run outburst.
I know Posey’s been out and that changes things, but he seems set to come back this week, and so here’s the suggestion for the lineup:
- Nunez 3B
- Panik 2B
- Posey C
- Belt 1B
- Pence RF
- Crawford SS
- Marrero/Whoever LF
- Span CF
This is the way forward for a variety of reasons. First, this brings balance to the L/R issues the Giants face at times. This lineup goes R/L/R/L/R/L/R/L/Pitcher.
Second, as much as I like the Belt at the 2-hole experiment, the Giants desperately need him in the middle of the lineup, there’s no getting around it. He’s paid to be a run producing first basemen, let him do it.
Third, Panik is the platonic ideal of a 2-hole hitter, and he seems to have put his post-concussion issues way behind him: release the Panik!
Fourth, Posey should hit third. I know Bochy likes him as the anchor and run producer/clean up hitter, but he’s a 3 hitter, and let’s all get on with it.
Fifth, Nunez is not the greatest leadoff hitter from an on-base standpoint, but he is the most athletic/dangerous guy they can put in this spot and when he does get on base it changes the game. Span get’s dropped.
Finally, not only does this balance left/right, I think this arrangement also gives the lineup more depth, especially 1-6.
Also, it would be awesome if we could get 4-5 quality starts in a row.