The Nail Gun
I am not going to say that it was predictable, that after being swept in the opening series of the season, the Giants would come back to win three consecutive series. I am not a fan of making predictions in the least predictable sport of all. However, opening weekend jitters aside, the Giants are demonstrating early on, that they have the components available, to seriously give the NL West Division, a run for its money.
Baseball is unpredictable, because of its 162 game season. Rarely does a team lead its division, wire-to-wire. Therefore, in the ebb and flow, that constitutes a full season, it is up to teams to take advantage of other teams’ misfortunes. Just as the Dodgers started out red hot, they have now lost two consecutive ninth inning, walk-off contests to the Brewers, something that was overdue. How long can Ethier and Kemp maintain a pace of more RBI’s each, than the number of games played? They are tied for the league lead at 17.
Last night’s Giants’ victory, a 1-0 gem in eleven over the formidable Phillies, will go down as the best pitchers’ duel of the season, because both Cain and Lee went nine full innings, with Lee adding a tenth. This is the kind of game that the National league has always been famous for. I have never bought the term “torture” as an accurate way in which to describe Giants baseball. I prefer the close defensive games, to the offensive slugfests, which feature base runners circling the diamond like a merry-go-round. No, I prefer to see the defense display its talents the way the Giants are so capable of. Schierholtz’s nab of Victorino’s home-run-distance ball is one example; Brandon Crawford, on any given day, is a second example.
In glancing over sfgiants.com, this morning, I already see in the comments section, derogatory references being made about Crawford’s batting average. People who fixate on one specific element of the game, frustrate me, because they fail to see the whole picture. Crawford has arguably already won at least one game, and possibly two, with his glove. He performs superior defense, and makes it look routine. That is deceiving, because fans take his ability for granted, and he does not get the credit he deserves.
The Giants need to be able to continue taking series, because it means consistency. Teams that thrive on the win streak approach, risk dying by the same method. Streak teams are dangerous because they can sweep a playoff series, but they can also go flat, and get swept.
Right now, I see the Giants flexing their collective muscles. Where are the strengths? Our bullpen is simply awesome, and our starting pitching must be considered among the top three staffs in baseball, based not only on longevity, but upon the unique qualities that each brings to the table. Collectively, they function as a formidable unit, and with the possible re-emergence of Barry Zito as a force, become that much tougher.
Other teams will get frustrated by the quality and depth of our pitching, and will be forced to try to do too much. Our pitching keeps other hitters off balance, and creates a sense of urgency. The Phillies scored a total of seven runs in the series, as did the Giants, but the Giants found a way to take two of three.
I am impressed with our outfield, and I know Bruce will use them to his best advantage. I am impressed with the two-three punch of Melky and Pablo at the plate. I was impressed with Buster’s back-to-back three-hit days. I am impressed with Brett Pill’s bat so far. I have encountered no serious disappointments, and am happy that we trail the Dodgers by only three games, after their outrageous start. The Diamond-Backs did sweep us in their yard, but they still have to come to us.
And last, because he is still the man who heads all discussions, when it comes to dominating a game, we have Timmy. I do not want to diminish the accomplishments early on, of Matt, Barry and Madison, but I also do not want to undervalue the gem that is Timmy. He is the ultimate nail gun, when it comes to fastening the coffin lid down on the other teams’ caskets. He has been very close, early on, and his slider was in evidence this most recent game, after the first inning. Besides, just one quick editorial note: Take away that miscue by Pagan in the first, and see if the result doesn’t pan out better for everyone.
In any case, the Giants are a team that Brian Sabean has crafted, to make the best use of AT&T Park, and to better assure Giants fans, that the abysmal lack of offense last season, is a distant memory.
Four runs per game is distant enough of a memory for me. Go Giants!