April 13, 2015 San Francisco, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner carries the 2014 Giants championship pennant while riding a San Francisco Police horse before the game against the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Chiu-Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports
The San Francisco Giants are off to a slow start. With injuries abound, I don’t think anyone is surprised that the team has only scored seven runs in their last five games. In classic torturous fashion, the team that won its season opening series with the Diamondbacks has dropped four straight. Runners are being left on like the lights in my daughter’s bedroom.
Still, being the optimistic fan that I am, I have selected an array of points that should give you a glimmer of sunshine through the dark clouds that have descended during this first week of the season.
Apr 6, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants outfielder Norichika Aoki celebrates with teammates following the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks during opening day at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Norichika Aoki – No. 23, happy-go-Aoki, has been phenomenal. I can look past a few of the misplays he’s had in the corner (cut the guy some slack—he’s been sprinting around more than any Giants outfielder I’ve seen in quite some time) and on the base paths because of his production at the plate. I mean, really, if any other Giant was on base as much as he’s been, they would probably have had some snafus as well. He’s also come up with some nice gems with the glove. It’s still early, but if you’re looking for something to get excited about, look no further than the leadoff batter.
With Hunter Pence possibly making his return this month, there will be more to celebrateAvoiding the DL
– Okay, so this is a stretch, but seriously, when you saw Brandon
and Casey McGehee go down the way they did, you were thinking the worst. But Brandon is back, and McGehee should be right behind him. Another guy who I thought would be missing more games, Jake Peavy, had a decent start (sans grand slam), and Angel Pagan hasn’t fallen victim to back problems.
Sep 28, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Chris Heston (53) throws to the San Diego Padres in the first inning of their MLB baseball game at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports
The improbable Chris Heston – He was drafted in the 12th round from a college (East Carolina) you’ve probably never heard of. He’s 27 and his MiLB numbers won’t blow you away.
But it was meant to be. With his family in attendance, the right-hander gave them a nod of confidence before he became only the second rookie pitcher to start a home opener in (San Francisco) Giants franchise history. He passed with flying colors.
With Ryan Vogelsong and Yusmeiro Petit as the starters lying in wait after Matt Cain was placed on the DL, the Giants made the move to call up Heston. So far, the decision seems like a good one.
We are the reigning World Series Champions – So they lost the home opener. You would have to be a real Debbie-downer to come away from opening day at AT&T Park and not feel good about your team. Madison Bumgarner on a freakin’ horse, remembering Lon Simmons, raising the 2014 World Series flag in center field, all of the pre-game festivities and Heston tossing a gem (as I mentioned). They may have lost the game, but it was still a good day.
Apr 13, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants celebrate last years World Series win by flying a new pennate during opening day ceremonies at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports
I hope you find these points like a $20 bill you forgot you had in a coat you haven’t worn in a while, because like that money, I believe this team will pay out in the coming weeks. With Hunter Pence possibly making his return this month, there will be more to celebrate and the fog that has clouded this first week of Giants baseball will dissipate.
Still, I can use all of the positive thoughts I can get, so if something positive has stuck out to you during the 2015 season’s small sample size, please share in the comments below.