Friday, April 19, 2013

2 Out Hits and Misses (April)

The 2013 version of the San Francisco Giants have not looked like a bad baseball team. They haven't looked much like world beaters either. They are now finished with 10 percent of the schedule.

Does that mean we know what kind of team the Giants are yet? No, not really. It's not time to panic about some guys playing sub par, but the possibility for worry remains.

There have been some pleasant surprises so far this Spring. The Giants have also shown an ability to come back in any game. It wasn't until the series finale in Milwaukee that I really felt the Giants were out of a game.

So here's my thoughts on the first 1/10th of the season for the Giants. It's nice to remember that there is so much more baseball to be played.

2 Out Misses

What in the world is going on with Brandon Belt? He was on fire this spring and now he can't hit a thing. He has 13 K's in 59 plate appearances. His .170 batting average is lower than my weight and he only has 3 extra base hits. On the flip side, I am wondering if he will heat up as the weather changes. This might just be what we can expect from Brandon to start each season. We'll see how this plays out.

Most of the pitching staff seems a little out of whack. Lincecum hasn't really been good and Cain has had more than one rough outing. The answer could be moving Timmy to the bullpen. I know Sergio is pitching pretty well, but imagine Timmy letting it all hang out for an inning. That might be his future. The bullpen has been mediocre at best. I think the real trouble is that the starters aren't lasting long enough in to games.

For the life of me I really can't figure out what Bruce Bochy is doing right now. It's hard to get behind some of the decisions he is making. I don't think anyone knows why Hector Sanchez is still there. Time and again he has proven to not be Major League ready. Quiroz should really get a shot at the backup job. There's no need for 3 catchers anyway. This treating Buster with kid gloves has got to stop. Bochy is resting him like he's an aging ballplayer, not a kid in his prime. Some days it feels like Bochy is in extended Spring Training.

2 Out Hits

Brandon Crawford has been better than any of us imagined possible. It's quite possible that his skill set is coming together on both sides of the ball. He's 19 for 54 with 4 doubles and 3 home runs. Crawford has even walked 6 times and carries a .435 on base percentage. He's making enough noise that Bochy has to consider moving him up in the batting order. Brandon has been great in the field again, any mistakes are because he is young and full of confidence. I don't mind it one bit.

The anchor of the rotation after 3 trips through is Madison Bumgarner. He has gone from a kid that lost his mechanics, to the most consistent starter early in the season. MadBum is already 3-0 with an ERA of 1.77 and averages less than a baserunner per inning. Sergio has been good on the back end as well. He has 7 saves already and looks to be outsmarting opposing hitters.

When the Giants traded for Hunter Pence last July, this is the player we all thought we would see. He has been Mr. Clutch in the early going. It has been a lot of all or nothing with Hunter, but the ones he connects on are vital. He reminds me of Dave Kingman right now, home run or strikeout. Hunter is driving the ball to Right Field and seems more balanced at the plate this year. With Buster scuffling it has been great to see Pence take that leadership role.

Down The Line

The Giants are 9-7 after the first 16 games. They have nothing but divisional games from now until May 5. In fact Colorado is the only NL West team the Giants won't see in the next few weeks. Arizona will prove to be a tough test for our boys. The Padres played the Dodgers tough, but they always do. The Giants have a real chance to take hold of the division over the next 15 games. Let's see if the right adjustments can be made and the 2013 San Francisco Giants will start to take shape.

Eric Nathanson
@2outhits on Twitter


  1. Some good insights here. Crawford is really turning into a mainstay up the middle, and Noonan has shown some promise as well- perhaps the double play combo for years to come? I agree with your analysis of Hector Sanchez. Quiroz has shown time and again in pinch hit opportunities that he can handle the bat, and after watching the Brewers steal at will on Sanchez, I doubt we'd be losing anything by making the switch and sending down Hector.
    Regarding the kid gloves approach to Posey- I understand it in the context of him being the marquee centerpiece of the team for the next decade. Seems to me Bochy is taking the approach that longevity is his priority, rather than use him up now before he hits free agency. Why he isn't throwing him out there at first on days like the finale in Milwaukee rather than on the bench is confusing to me, especially given Belt's early struggles. Buster is going to need regular and consistent time at 1st, as he will obviously eventually need to make the move from catcher.
    Bullpen in my eyes has been pretty darn good, given the workload they've had. I expect it to be a strong point as the season moves on. Lincecum however needs to be moved to the bullpen asap. Perhaps his destiny is as an Eckersley type. One way or another he is going to need to make some significant changes going into free agency, and I don't see him back in the orange and black unless he takes a pay cut.
    All in all I like the team, makeup seems to be similar to that of the one that gelled in the playoffs last year, which is what really counts come postseason. Here's also hoping Blanco keeps playing well and earns a full time assignment, perhaps even centerfield as unlikely as that is as he is a much better defender than Pagan anyway.
    Whole lot to look forward to for sure!

    1. Noonan has looked good, but it's just way too early to tell if he can sustain it long term.

      You may be right about Bochy protecting for the future. I just think its too cautious.

      I would love to see Timmy become an Eck, but he may think he can still start and have to go elsewhere. If that's the case it's thank you and best of luck.

      The nice thing is this team is not in decline from a year ago, I think we all have things to look forward to this year.