San Francisco Giants Run the Gamut in Terms of Level of Play


Apr 3, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum throws in the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco Giants derailed the Los Angeles Dodgers’ steam-roller for at least one night, Tuesday, as Hector Sanchez came through in walk-off fashion, yet again, and the Giants regained a share of first place in the National League West standings.  As always, there was an inexplicably wide range of accountable actions, some of it splendid, some of it in the tank.  With that in mind, I want to examine the good, the bad and the bodacious.

                                                         The Good

The Giants ranked second in the National League in scoring going into Tuesday Night’s game, averaging almost 5.1 runs per game.  That compares to 3.9 runs per game in 2013.

Newly acquired Michael Morse is off to a .350 batting average and has been knocking in runs at a furious pace.  He and Angel Pagan share the team lead with ten RBI’s.

Pagan was batting .412 going into Tuesday’s game and that’s after going 0-8 leading up to his two-run single in Sunday’s game.

Tim Lincecum pitched well in last night’s start against the Dodgers, leaving after five innings and 93 pitches, having given up one run, struck out five and walked one.

The Giants won three of the first four series this year, all against NL West opponents.

Apr 4, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez (13) and left fielder Carl Crawford (3) misplay a pop up by San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong (32)in the first inning of the game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Both Buster Posey and Brandon Belt have lit up the scoreboard this season, and subsequently begun to cool off.  Better to start off hot, than to struggle out the gate, because at least you had your stroke at one point.  Belt has been experiencing great success with his new batting grip and Posey has been swinging well since the first day of spring training.  They have eight home runs between them.

Non-roster invitee Brandon Hicks has wrestled the second base job away from Joaquin Arias, partly because of his defensive skills, but mostly because he is sporting a .368 batting average so far this spring.  He was on base three times in Tuesday night’s game.

The Giants are batting .272 with two outs compared to .253 last season.  They are also batting .306 with runners in scoring position, compared to .256 last year.

Because the game ended after midnight, it turned out to be an early birthday present for Bruce Bochy, who turned 59 today.

Jul 26, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA;San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) and manager Bruce Bochy (15) in the dugout before the game against the Chicago Cubs at AT

                                                         The Bad

Tim Lincecum has given up five home runs in three starts.

Brandon Belt has only drawn one walk so far this year.  I like the home runs, but I also liked what was happening last August and September too.

Hunter Pence is off to a slow start, batting .157 going into the series with the Dodgers.

The Giants loaded the bases three times in Tuesday night’s game, without being able to score, stranding sixteen altogether.

Pablo Sandoval is also off to a slow start, batting .180 early in the season, and playing defense with an unPablo-like inefficiency.  It’s the mental mistakes that are more disturbing than the physical ones.  I think Pablo is feeling the pressure of it being a contract year.

July 6, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (66) walks back to the dugout after striking out against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: ©Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Yasiel Puig did not run in the twelfth inning, when he hit a ball to the right field wall, that Hunter Pence flagged down.  Reprehensible.  As Mike Krukow editorialized, Puig needs to respect the game.

The Giants were one for ten with runners in scoring position tonight and 0 for 5 with the bases loaded.

                                                 The Bodacious

Tim Lincecum has struck out seventeen batters this season and walked one.

Back-to-back walk-off victories-that’s a statement that cannot be mistaken.

The Giants were hitting .404 with runners in scoring position, going into last night’s game, best in the major leagues, after batting .238 last year under the same circumstances.  [That stat will take a hit after Tuesday’s game.]

Tim Hudson has not allowed a walk in three starts to begin this year, his streak having reached 23 innings.  Atlee Hammaker had the San Francisco record with 21 innings without a walk, to start off a season.

Hector Sanchez’ walk-off hit was his fourth, all in extra innings.  As Amy Gutierrez said to him, “You have a knack for it.”

The Giants have taken three of the first four from the Dodgers this year.  This must continue; nothing short of dominance over the Dodgers will suffice.

Brandon Belt had three hits, the third one knocking in Angel Pagan, tying the game in the ninth

In the Giants’ last twelve games, their relievers have recorded a 0.68 ERA, giving up just three earned runs in 39 and two-thirds innings.

The Giants refuse to anoint the Dodgers as head kingpin in the National League West, despite what the pundits keep muttering.  Well, the Giants have been doing some muttering themselves, along with some motoring, right into first place.  It’s early, I know, but it’s never too early to take up residence in your deserved place in the ranks and right now the Giants deserve to be number one.

Brandon Crawford’s walk-off splash hit home run on April 13, 2014. Photo by Denise Walos.