Five Easy Questions
I read the five questions posed by the Chron on the morning spring training opened for San Francisco Giants pitchers and catchers, and compared them to my five. The only one that I liked was the one inquiring as to Brandon Belt’s ascension into stardom. I was not so much intrigued by Belt’s star capacity as I was about that new alignment of his hands on the bat, and the ramifications of an entire season of Belt, well, belting the ball consistently around-and out of-AT&T Park.
So my question, after watching Belt display periods of greatness and then fidgeting while he flails at that inside pitch, is can he achieve the consistency necessary for success? Realigning his hands proved instrumental in August and September; I’d like to see his stats after a full season. This is critical for the Giants because they have been holding first base open for Brandon for quite some time now.
My second question is, why are the Giants pitchers not given more respect than they are? The general consensus seems to be that, except for Madison, the rest are on the down-side of their careers. My experience has been that good pitchers get better and great pitchers adapt so that their game remains competitive. Matt Cain has the character and work ethic to be a leader on any team, despite his ERA burgeoning to above 4 this past season. We don’t call him the Horse for nothing. Madison Bumgarner has been an ace since he joined the staff in 2010 and will not surprise me if he contends for the Cy Young Award. I wish he were the Giants pitcher going head to head with Kershaw, but that will not happen unless MadBum nets the Opening Day nod from Bochy. Hold that thought.
Tim Lincecum has been struggling during his transition from power pitcher to craft-specialist, so that’s where Tim Hudson comes in. It would seem natural to see the two working together because they have opposed each other in the past and have reciprocal respect already in place. Hudson has always been a force to be reckoned with, going back to his days on the A’s. And with Ryan Vogelsong, I have to assume that the rigors of participating in the Baseball Classic before last season proved too much and that a full offseason will allow him to report rested to resume his slot in the rotation.
Most importantly, the Giants staff has proven-twice-that it has the skill and the moxie to rise head and shoulders above the rest and win on baseball’s penultimate stage. So much of playing at peak performance involves confidence and nothing breeds confidence like success.
The third question involves Mike Morse, the newly acquired left fielder, but unlike everyone else, who seems to be worried about offensive production, I am a little worried about his defense. At the plate, I think Morse will do fine if he does not fixate on the home run. Defensively, though, especially when compared and contrasted with Blanco, Morse may leave something to be desired. On the other hand, Morse is joining a cohesive, talented group and he doesn’t have to do it all on his own. All he has to do is contribute his share.
Fourth, will Sergio Romo be able to maintain his durability and therefore his success from last season? Sergio was the only Giant to not land on the disabled list after playing in the Baseball Classic. It may be that one of the youngsters, Heath Hembree, proves ready for action as the season progresses, and can provide support to help batten down the closer slot.
The fifth seems the easiest: Are the Giants good enough to win it all again? The key word is “again”; our guys have done this before. With the heart of the Giants back behind the plate, an experienced pitching staff, and the proven leadership of Bochy and Sabean, the answer is yes. As in 2010, when the Padres provided fierce competition to help the Giants hone their skills, so this year will the Dodgers (and D-backs) provide the necessary competition to propel the Giants into the World Series again. It being an even year and all, I like our chances. I like them a lot.