Giants v. Padres; Giants v. Diamondbacks

The G-Men after 15 or so games It’s very early in the season but never too early to start worrying. The G-Men came out of the gate pretty well (they have won every series until the last one) and are currently 9 and 7, but are third in the NL West after being swept by the Brewers in Milwaukee over the last three days. The hot team right now is the Rockies (they are supposedly no pitching but great hitting – however they have had both great pitching and good hitting so far and they are pounding every team they are playing). The Diamondbacks are second in the NL West at 8 and 6 and the Dodgers and the Padres are both below .500.

The G-Men have had problems on the mound and at the plate.  Currently the hitter with the best batting average on the team is Barry Zito, which says something (I’m not sure exactly what).  Buster is at .213 and can’t find his stroke, Belt got the flu early in the season, lost weight and still can’t seem to get untracked (hitting .170?)  The highlight reel guys are Brandon Crawford (who really is looking like the reincarnation of Cal Ripken Jr. and is batting .352) and, of course, Hunter Pence. Who would have believed that Pence would have already had 4 dingers and Crawford 3.

The solid players are the Panda, Scutero, Pagan and the new guy (Nick Noonan) who is really turning heads (although his shortstop range needs work).  The good news is that there have been comeback wins, the team is grinding and they are over .500.

The bad news is that the starting pitchers are looking vulnerable (except Bumgarner , who has a 1.77 ERA and is the star of the staff). Who would have believed that Matt Cain would have a 7.15 ERA after 5 starts (and no victories), that Barry Zito would have a 4.86 ERA and 2 wins (the ERA is mostly due to a REALLY bad inning in Milwaukee, almost matching Cain’s REALLY bad inning in the Cubs game last week).  Vogelsong isn’t doing much better with a 5.89 ERA.

The bullpen has been pretty solid; only one blown save by Romo and the only real injury so far is Affeldt (strained oblique) who is on the DL.  Affeldt’s injury did affect the bullpen rotation, which may have cost the game yesterday (although Zito’s giving up 7 runs in the second inning didn’t help matters much).

This home series against two NL West teams should be a real test.  The Padres are last in the NL West and are a classic “rebuilding team” but they are dangerous. I don’t know when Chase Headley is due off the DL but when he comes back the Padres offense gets dangerous again.  Also, the Padres staff ERA, it should be pointed out, is lower than the Giants.  Can the G-Men use a series at home against the Padres to right the ship?  We will see.

BTW: it was kind of interesting to see the Dodgers and the Padres mix it up last weekend and both lost players, which has hurt the Dodgers more than the Padres. Carlos Quentin was suspended for something like 6 games but the Dodgers Greinke is out for who knows how long with a shoulder injury from trying to match tackles with a hitter (who he plunked) that outweighed him by about 50 pounds (not smart).  Also, the Padres are riding a three game win streak including a victory against Clayton Kershaw and a sweep of the Dodgers.

The D’backs, on the other hand, are busy beating up the AL East at the moment (playing the Yankees, and winning).  Led by our old friend Cody Ross and Paul Goldschmidt, the Snakes have SIX regulars batting over .300 and a pitching staff ERA somewhere around 3.  There is a reason they are in second place with an 8 and 6 record. Arizona is for real and we will see them starting on Monday night.

Every game this year should be like a playoff game and the G-men have now sold ALL available season tickets so getting into the park will be a challenge.  On that note there is extra security this weekend at AT&T so if you get to the tickets, get to the game early.

Ciao, and GO GIANTS!

The Czar