Welcome to the 5th Czar’s blog of 2016. The G-Men are in town until May 11th continuing the campaign against the NL West (the Rockies, one game behind the Giants in the standings), and then the AL East with the hard-hitting Toronto Blue Jays (in 3rd place behind the Red Sox and the Orioles). If there are Canadians on this blog they will get Czar’s priority.
The April Report Card
Let’s start with the good news, sparse though it might be. The G-Men are in 1st place in the NL West, and only because the Dodgers keep losing. The emails that I get from my Dodger’s friends point out that management and the coaching staff are “lame” and the only reason to watch LA is to hear the Vin Scully farewell tour.
May it always be so but being in 1st place when you are one game above .500 is not exactly 1927 Yankee’s territory. BTW: the last road trip was 3 and 3, and before that the G-Men got swept at home by the Snakes (who are now 5 games under .500 in 4th place – however, Arizona seems to own the Giants). I give the month of April a “B” grade at best, The only reason we are in first place is because of the Dodgers meltdowns.
The starters are performing quite well with the exception of Peavy, who sucks big time. He got hammered by the Reds in today’s loss (giving up 4 dingers?). Bum, Cueto and Samardzija are dependable starters with ERA’s in the low threes and WHIP’s right around 1 and change. However the bottom line is that we have 3 dependable pitchers and two question marks. Cain looks like the old Matt Cain for an inning or two, and then he hits two guys in a row, has to get in the stretch and gives up three runs. Cain and Peavy are the principal reasons the team is one game over .500.
We cannot thrive on 3 starters. Peavy (he of the 9 ERA) is on a short leash. The problem is that there isn’t anyone to replace him. Heston melted down (and was sent down) and there are no real replacements in the farm system.
That brings up the Timmy question. He is finally supposed to have his show this week (on Friday in Arizona), and the Giants are suddenly interested. They have always been interested in him as a reliever, but maybe now they will look at him harder as a starter if Peavy can’t get untracked. At the very least if he accepted a long relief role he would be poised to be a replacement. Wouldn’t that be cool?
Let Tim Smoke (in every way possible)!
The relievers are performing pretty well and Casilla is looking good when he gets in. Lopez is getting one out with one pitch more often than not and it turns out that he leads the majors in that weird stat. The new boy Vin seems to have the jitters and Mike Broadway did not look good in his stint up in the bigs.
The Injury list
Pagan (left hammie) is mending well but Angel has always had tender hamstrings and even though when he has been playing he has been great (batting .315) you still worry about his legs. Panik is out with a groin strain but has been relatively ably replaced by Tomlinson. Romo and Kontos are still out from strained flexor tendons, and they are both missed. Adrieanza is also out with a broken foot. He has not really been missed.
The Offense and the Defense
The bats are heating up. Belt is the leader right now (,323 and looking really comfortable at the plate – he now drawing walks in the Barry Bonds territory), with Posey right behind him at .315. Pence may be batting only .279 but he is hitting dingers and with men on base with a vengeance (5 dingers, 29 hits and a team leading 23 RBI”s) along with awesome defense, which is why he was NL player of the week,
The defense is playing well. Duffy looks like he is going to own third base forever, Pagan and Blanco in left are great defenders. Pence in right is a wild man marvel and the Brandons regularly put on a show.
The series to come
We have six games at home against the Rockies and the Blue Jays. When the Rockies come into town we will see Nolan Arenado, Gonzales and LeMahieu. Pitching will be Chatwood, Bettis and Qualls, although I don’t know the order.
When the Blue Jays arrive it will look like the Rockies of old because of Troy Tulowitski, who used to drive us nuts as a Rockie. However the Blue Jay’ pitching has been the story there. Most of their starters are in the high 2’s from an ERA standpoint. Stroman, Estrada and Sanchez should not be taken lightly.
It is well past time for the Giants to step up their game and it will have to be through the pitching.
Ciao, and GO GIANTS!