Current Record: 8-7
Well folks, Opening Day has come and gone and now it's time to look at the Giants season thus far. I know it has only been 15 games, but what the heck, we have seen a lot of improvements from game one.
We have had high expectations of Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval this spring and why wouldn't we? The reigning N.L. Rookie of the Year and the young fan favorite in "the best shape of his life" are poised to become the Giants best hitters. So far, they are. Sandoval is leading the team in batting average, on-base %, home runs, hits, slugging % and OPS (.340,.386, four, 18, .585, and .971), while Posey is wearing a .296/.377/.463 line with three home runs and team-leading 11 RBIs.
There have also been some disappointments this season. Rookie "phenom" Brandon Belt is off to a slow start as a starting first baseman. So far he is hitting .200/.310/.280 with one home run and four RBIs. If he plans on making it in the big leagues, he will have to do better. Another guy having a rough start is Pat Burrell. He picked up right where he left off in the playoffs last fall, as he is hitting .190 with a team-leading 17 strikeouts and only four RBIs. Granted, his four RBIs came from his four solo home runs on the season.
Last season the world found out that the Giants have the best pitching in baseball, maybe ever. This season, things have changed. With no moves made to the entire pitching roster this off season, the reasons for their poor play are unknown.
With exception to Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain (who are both off to terrific starts with ERAs under 1.90) and the bullpen, the starting five are suffering on the mound. Well, three of them, that is. Jonathan Sanchez has a decent 3.24 ERA, but has only one quality start out of his three with a 1.50 WHIP. Allowing that many hits is devastating to a defense. Barry Zito is doing the same thing he has always been doing as a Giant (underachieve), and Madison Bumgarner has been roughed up with no wins in three starts (none of them a QS). Bumgarner has more walks than strikeouts, is tied with Zito with most walks on the team, has a 7.36 ERA and has a 1.98 WHIP(!).
Good pitching requires good defense in order for success. The Giants took that to heart last year and hey, they won the World Series. This year, the Giants have committed 11 errors in 15 games. That is bad enough for third worst in the National League, only behind the Houston Astros and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The top error makers for the Giants thus far is Miguel Tejada and Burrell, the same two guys that we questioned about their fielding ability this spring.
Turns out, the real important statistic this year is that in the first two games of the season, the Giants committed 5 errors. Both of those games would have been easy victories if it weren't for sloppy defense. Another poor part of their defense is that they have turned only 9 double-plays this season (second worse in N.L.).
Overall: C - meh.