Well the first fourteen games (four series) of the season are behind us and a couple of things are already clear.
- The NL West is going to be a dogfight. The Rockies, Dodgers and D-backs all expect to be in the hunt.
- The Giants are unsettled in left field and in the middle inning bullpen.
Though we’re 5-9 and tied for last in the division with the Padres, we’re only four back because everyone in the NL West is actively beating up on each other. I have a strong feeling that’s how it’s going to be all year.
To get the Negative Nelly out of the way first, Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat is convinced after just 14 games that the Giants “dynasty is over,” and that we are not going to make the playoffs.
Me, I am not so sure. There’s a lot of baseball left to play.
Pluses and Minuses
Johnny Cueto is 3-0 while Madison Bumgarner has yet to win in three starts. Once again a Cy Young campaign for MadBum’s hamstrung early. sigh.
Our Gold Glovers Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford look awesome, but we lost Buster Posey to a fastball to the head. John Shea wrote this excellent piece on the after effects of getting hit in the head by a 90+mph baseball. It is reported that Posey may play in the series against Kansas City that starts tonight.
Nick Hundley has been really good in Posey’s absence, a stable veteran behind the plate who instills confidence in the position of backup C.
Nuñez ABs are fun to watch and he is a demon on the bases, but his play at third has been up and down. Let’s hope it’s early season stuff. I really like the guy.
Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence are looking good at the plate.
Matt Moore looks good for about 78- 85 pitches and then the drop off seems a little crazy. The fact Bochy doesn’t feel he can trust our ‘pen hurts in Moore’s starts.
But Mark Melancon turned around after his weak opening day showing and has looked considerably better.
Jeff Samardzija, like last year, is probably going to take a few starts to get going.
Matt Cain got a win! (Olney comments below)
LF has been a problem and it was compounded when Jarrett Parker made a great play only to crash into the wall and destroy his clavicle – gone eight to ten weeks.
On to the Reader
With Parker going down Chris Marrero could be seeing more time in left field. Kaila Cruz thinks that’s a good thing.
We traded Clayton Blackburn to the Rangers for a 21-year-old unproven utility infielder named Frandy De La Rosa – Brisbee explains why.
Jake Mastroianni has a closer look at the pitching and offense two weeks into the season.
Buster Olney had this to say about Matt The Big Horse and his win.
The Giants’ Matt Cain is facing a similar transition to the one that CC Sabathia has had to go through — adjusting to the reality that he cannot throw as hard as he used to and learning to mix his pitches differently. In Cain’s most recent start against Arizona, he did what catchers and pitchers refer to as pitching backward — by throwing breaking balls in counts in which pitchers typically throw fastballs and using his off-speed stuff to set up the less frequent use of his fastball. Cain allowed one run in five innings. Sabathia recalled an at-bat in which he pitched to Russell Martin a couple of years ago, when the left-hander had it in his mind that he would bust a fastball past his former teammate — but the best he could do was 90 mph, which Martin clubbed for a homer. Sabathia says now that he wishes he had started altering speeds with his pitches earlier in his career.
- Buster Olney on ESPN
If you haven’t yet read the sweet, sweet quotes in AlPav’s look back at Madison Bumgarner’s relief appearance in Game seven of the 2014 WS in KC, do it now.