Week in Review (4/11-4/17)

Results:

4-2 (8-7 overall; 4.0 GB)

6-1 L vs.LA; 5-4 W vs.LA; 4-3 W vs.LA; 5-2 W @ Ari; 5-3 W @ Ari; 6-5 L @ Ari

Hitter of the Week:

Aaron Rowand keeps trying to sneak his way into this honor, but I refuse (although he collected more total bases this week than Buster Posey did)…so, tie…Posey and Pablo Sandoval. Somewhere, there is a version of 2010 that had Posey and Sandoval in the middle of lineup, mashing the NL and leading the Giants to glory. The Giants found glory in 2010 and Posey had a lot to do with it but Pablo forgot about his role. Looks like he’s back, though, and this is the vision we had last year. Also, these guys are  24 years old!!! 5 home runs and 13 RBIs. Well done boys, we’ll take some more please!

Pitcher of the Week:

Matt Cain continue to quietly dominate. How solid is this kid (won’t be 27 until the season is over)? He always seems to be overlooked and that trend continues this week, because the beard is back. Brian Wilson: 4 games, 4 saves, 5 strikeouts, 0 walks, 1 hit. And he ended a 1 run game against the Dodgers (5-4) by striking out the side. BW thank you for being awesome. Pitcher of the Week. You’re welcome.

Looking Ahead:

Bottom line: the Rockies are wicked hot. The Giants play them next. Three times. At Coors Field. There is no way that is going to go well. Right? The good news is Lincecum, Sanchez, and Cain get the starts. The bad news is the Rockies are hot and only bad things happen at Coors. This is a cover-your-eyes-and-peek-through-a-finger-to-watch-the-action type of series. Not looking forward to it. After that, back to SF for three against the Braves who are not off to a great start, but that is still a good team.

Zito is now on the DL, Torres is on the DL, and Ross is coming off the DL (possibly this week). As a result, this team is still a work in progress. That said, the week ahead will go a long way to giving some shape to what kind of season this will be. Big, important week. Go Giants.

(-SB)

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Winter Inventory

February is upon us and pitchers and catchers are on their way south. Tim Lincecum told me on facebook that he is already en route to Arizona via SF. At this point, it seems fitting to put analysis to the side for a minute and just be fans.

This community post focuses on what we enjoyed last season, our impressions of the off-season, and what we are looking forward to once the 2011 season gets underway. Read it up and feel free to chime in:

Favorite Player of 2010:

  • Josh: Brian Wilson. Now I know that most of you would answer this way and let me be the first to say, you are correct. There is a right and wrong answer to this question and Brian Wilson is the correct response. Reason #1 for his brilliance is his interview skills. Do I need to elaborate? No. But I will. I’ve always wanted a player to interview the way he does. He is in this game for the good times and you can see that in the way he talks and acts. I respect that. I embrace that. I love him. Not in that way. Reason #2 is because he isn’t that great. Don’t get me wrong. He is darn good. I hate it when people say “More guts than stuff.” He has stuff, it just isn’t Mo Rivera stuff. I compare him to Maddox stuff. With Maddox, you know he won’t blow you away, he just hits his pitches and somehow got you out. (I still never understood how he was so successful with an 85 MPH fastball). Brian Wilson throws harder, but has the same attitude.  At the end of games, I’d have no idea how we won, but we did. He embodies the Giants season for me.
  • Tim: I know this seems obvious, but I just can’t help giving Gerald Dempsey Posey III this honor. (He’s just Buster to the rest of us). Seeing a 23-year-old kid come in and just take charge of a staff full of huge names was something to behold. He’s got the face of a 12-year-old, and the wisdom of a vet.
  • Jon: Andres Torres. The dude has all the entertaining attributes of a young kid that blew through the minors (speed, glove, leadoff skills, etc)…but he didn’t. Instead, he has an incredible underdog story now culminating in his early 30’s. He was given a chance, he took it, and he was one of the major pieces of the G-men’s World Series puzzle.
  • Steve: So many good choices…love Huff for the value, Posey for the potential, Torres for coming out of nowhere, the pitching staff for doing its thing, Uribe for his jazz hands. I could go on and on. My favorite player of 2010 though was Javier Lopez. Thank you Javier for making me look like a dummy (I hated the trade at the time) and for winning me over with your left-handed awesomeness. I never thought a LOOGY could inspire such confidence! Like Josh, I think Javy’s unexpected greatness represents what kind of year it was for the Giants.

Player You Are Excited for in 2011

  • Josh: Brandon Belt. Oh yes boys and girls, I’m talking minor leagues. I want to see this minx in the majors this year. Are you ready for some sexy numbers? Yes, they are minor league numbers so don’t put him in the Hall yet, but: batting average .352, OPS 1.075 (how the guacamole?), 23 HR and 112 RBI in 136 games last year.  He may need to marinate for one more year in the minors but I’m excited to see what he can do in September…Possibly sooner.
  • Tim: As far as explosive players go, no one beat Cody Ross down the stretch. He was knocking round trippers like his toothy smile depended on it last season, and the team really fed off of his energy. This guy seems to be the real deal, and it makes it even sweeter that no one wanted him, which made him perfect for our squad. I love his attitude, and his knack for clutch hitting, and I can’t wait to see what he does in the batters box and on the field this year.
  • Jon: Pablo Sandoval. To say the least, last year the Panda left his faithful fan base wanting. After an electric rookie campaign (well, not TECHNICALLY his rookie year which is why he didn’t win the ROY) we still have the sweet taste of a Pablo feast on our tongues. We just want a few more courses on the table this year. Let’s just hope the feast Pablo takes part in isn’t literal.
  • Steve: I’m looking forward to watching Matt Cain. The debate about Cain (is he lucky or good) rages on, and I hope Cain keeps sticking it to those who say it’s all luck. I was on the fence until the post-season…He gets people out, who cares how he does it. In a NL stacked with great arms, is this the year Matty moves in to the elite or does it all catch up to him and get a little ugly? I am looking for eliteness: a big 2011 for Matt Cain.

Best Move of the Off-Season

  • Josh: Miguel Tejada. Read my earlier post. The more I think about it, the more excited I get. I’m really looking forward to him at SS. I hope he gels well with the team.
  • Tim: Brian Sabean is doing his best to keep the world champs intact, signing Burrell and Ross to extensions. And yesterday, it was announced that Lou Piniella will be joining the organization. His passion for the game is unparalleled, and I think his fire-spitting personality will be a great addition to the team. I’m excited to see how he settles into whatever role he takes.
  • Steve: Obviously not a ton of moves to choose from, but the thing I liked was settling quickly and painlessly with all the arbitration eligible players. Also, Burrell for a million is a sweet deal.

Best Non-Move of the Offseason

  • Josh: Best off-season non-move was the avoidance of Pedro Feliz. It is well documented that I can’t stand Pedro. He has crushed my heart and soul with so many dang double plays. I saw that he was free, and something told me that Brian was going to pick him up. I would have been devastated. You can have him Royals. Good riddance.
  • Tim: Keeping the front office intact. Alternate Universe: Imagine if Bochy had been in his last year, and we had somehow not been able to re-sign him to be our skip. Who out there would be a capable leader? It would be great to have Dusty back in the dugout, but I’m gonna go with Terry Francona. Talk about an even keel! This guy is Teflon, and that’s what we would need to repeat this year. He’s proven he can win in a big baseball market, and handle the big names in the clubhouse. Lucky for us, we do have Bochy back this year, but if we didn’t, I would hope we could land someone like Francona. Kudos for keeping the leadership together.
  • Jon: I’ll give you a two-for and get myself kicked outta the Bay. Juan Uribe and Edgar Renteria. Juan was worth some serious cash after his last two years, but the Giants would have been crazy to pay him more than the Dogs are giving him. 3 years @ $21 million, really? Edgar, you are forever at the precipice of Giants lore after your 3 run shot in the WS, but you’re old. Great dude I’m sure, but way too old to demand the kind of cash money you were looking for.
  • Steve: There’s a small part of me that would love to see Carl Crawford in the orange and black. Sometimes I fantasize about Cliff Lee. Also, what if the 49ers had drafted Aaron Rodgers instead of Alex Smith. Anyway, there is a part of me that says, open the wallet and go for it, but the best non-move of the offseason was not going crazy and keeping the band together. The formula over the past two years has been pitching, home-grown talent, and wiser/shorter contracts for useful vets. Keep it going!

Snow Day Link Dump

Giants-related links of interest:

1) While scrolling through some fox sports fluff  I saw this article…Andres Torres is the best center fielder in baseball!!!

2) Crazy Crabbers has a video that will warm your heart on even the coldest winter day…the last 27 outs!

3) I wanted to write about this but Bay City Ball’s got it locked down. Introducing my new favorite Spring Training invitee Marc Croon.

4) Brandon Belt was named one of MLB’s top 50 prospects. Of course, I’d probably like to see him higher, but he definitely belongs on the list.

5) ObsessiveGiantsCompulsive wrote an apologetic for Madison Bumgarner this week. Personally, I don’t buy the “country strong” argument, but I do hope he is right in his overall analysis!

6) Finally, McCovey Chronicles starts the batting order debate

(-SB)