WELCOME TO CZAR'S BLOG #3 OF 2018
We are 41 games into the season – can we tell anything yet?
The G-Men are 20 and 21, in 3rd place in the NL West (3 games up on the Dodgers, and 3.5 games behind the Snakes). The G-Men are coming home from one of the weirdest road trips I’ve ever seen. First, they sweep the torrid Braves (1st place in the NL East) in Atlanta, then they get swept in a 4 game series by the NL East 2nd place Phillies in Philadelphia. Then they lose 2 out of 3 to the Pirates in Pittsburgh, with the only saving grace being a shut-out victory today before they fly home.
Are there signs here to pay attention to? I think so.
The first sign (good) is that the offense (see below) can put up crooked numbers, something that the Giants of last year had difficulty with. The second sign (good) is that the defensive mixing and matching (in light of the injuries) is working. The third sign (not good) is that the G-Men are leading MLB in strikeouts. The fourth sign (good) is that the team is hovering around .500, which means they are holding serve while waiting for the injury list to clear.
The Offense – Looking Much Better
Call it the old guys syndrome but McCutchen (leading the teams in runs scored) and Longoria (leading the team in dingers and RBI’s) are both producing and setting an example, and Buster is being Buster with a .306 average and leading the offense.
The young guys continue to amaze, including Alen Hanson (where did he come from?) playing decent defense, hitting .298, getting timely hits and good looking home runs. He almost makes up for Panik (my favorite over-achieving player, being on the DL). Hundley, for a back-up catcher, is playing like he wants to start. That three-run homer today (the pitcher’s friend) was a thing of beauty. Belt continues to be streaky but he has 6 dingers and is batting .273.
The offense is showing that its capable, which is what we want to see at this time of year.
The only thing I question is the strike-outs. Are the G-Men going for the big hit over moving the line? That is not a good thing in a ball park like AT&T where home runs go to die. The series this week may show us something about that.
The Pitching – Injuries are the word of the day
The injury list keeps filling up with our best starting pitchers. Cueto is now on the 60 day DL, joining Bum. However the good news is that the inflammation doesn’t require Tommy John (out for the season) and Cueto’s due back in June.
As for Bum, they showed him on TV today chomping at the bit with his finger out of the cast and reportedly throwing all his pitches. He’s due back in a few weeks. Once Bum and Cueto are both back the G-Men will be poised for a run. Think June against the Nationals, Dodgers, Marlins and Padres.
As for the relievers, Tony Watson, Dyson and Strickland are all looking good but it’s hard to tell about the rest of the bullpen what with the constant shuttling of new arms back and forth from Sacramento.
What does the Western Division look like?
Right now the Snakes are still leading the division. However the race is tightening as the teams play head to head. We face the Rockies this week and that will be a test. This is a short 7 game home series so get ready for some intense baseball at AT&T.
Remember, it’s an even year.
Ciao, and GO GIANTS!