We are officially one week into the Giants’ 2016 campaign. Join us as we take a look into some of the major factors that have defined the season so far…
The starting pitching is still an enigma
Pitching was a question mark coming into this season. We figured Bumgarner would be great, but behind him lingered many questions. Well, we’ve had seven starts so far, and not many questions have been answered. Each pitcher from the Giants’ rotation has logged in at least one start under their belts this season, and so far we have had a mixed bag of results. There have been flashes of brilliance; including Johnny Cueto’s start vs the Brewers, Madison Bumgarner’s start vs the Dodgers, and also Matt Cain’s solid start vs Dodgers. Yet, for every solid performance we’ve seen, we’ve witnessed a start that was less than stellar. The starting rotation has yet to find a groove in the season. Bumgarner looked all sorts of funky vs the Brewers and Cueto got roughed up in the early goings vs the Dodgers. Jeff Samardzija and Jake Peavy also logged in some starts, but looked average in their appearances.
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You could call this pitching bug whatever you want; season opening jitters, mechanical issues or even a cold spell, regardless, no pitcher, outside of Cain, has had much consistency in their pitching through their starts. While we see one start where the pitchers look fantastic and are fooling everybody, then we get a head-scratcher like Bumgarner vs the Brewers where the pitchers struggle with location and often leave their pitches high in the zone with little movement.
What we have is a staff that is more than likely still getting into a routine and is working off any last bit of rust from the offseason. An adjustment period to the actual season should be expected. No need to hit the panic button on anybody. Yet…
“Gamer Babes dig the long ball…”
Okay, maybe I made this quote up. But, do you remember in high school when your prom crush would come to one of your games and you’d make a point to put an extra something in your swing that day? Well, it seems like the Giants are doing that, but in every at bat. Seriously, these dudes are crushing the ball. The Giants are currently tied for second in the MLB for most HRs at 11, and only trail the leader, Colorado, by one dinger. The boys from San Francisco are also in sixth place in the bigs in slugging percentage. The Giants also are fourth in runs with 34 and third in RBI’s with 33 ribbies. Another eye-popping statistic to top it off, every batter that started for the Giants on opening day has at least one home run, including the pitcher (!!). There are eleven players on this roster that have at least one home run. It really says something to the power of a team when guys off the bench can come in and power a moonshot out of McCovey Cove. The Giants are swinging the bats with bad intentions.
It could be a hot start, or it could be the turning of a new era of Giants offense. We had glimpses during last season of how good this offense could be, and it certainly seems like they’re out to prove something. Any Giants fan that remembers the days of the “torture” baseball should be happy to see an offense that can support it’s pitchers, and then some.
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight…”
So far this season, this team has shown an unbelievable ability to fight back and finish a game. In every single win vs the Dodgers, the Giants had to come back from a deficit of two runs or greater to win the game. These wins included Thursday’s game featuring a comeback from being down 4-0, Friday’s classic where the Giants broke up a no-no to tie the game and eventually win in extras thanks to a Brandon Crawford walkoff shot, and Sunday’s comeback from 5-0. Whenever the Dodgers are in town, it’s a big series, even this early in the season. And gosh almighty, the Giants clawed tooth and nail to fend off the big in-state rival to protect their house. The team has an incredulous amount of fight, and heart, in them to never die easy. Having fight like that pays dividends to a team’s mentality. Soon, they won’t see any lead as insurmountable, which makes the team dangerous come September. The cardiac kids are back at it again.
Closing is still an issue to watch
Even though Santiago Casilla is the entrenched closer, he has already shown some struggles this season. In 3 opportunities this season, Casilla has already blown one save. In that blown save vs the Dodgers, he looked all sorts of funky early in the inning as he couldn’t find a release point for any of his pitches; and as a result, had no location on any of his pitches. Casilla has had issues in the past of being a reliable closer, but there’s no massive reason to panic about him right now. But it should be noted how much Casilla struggled with his delivery through some of his appearances. And at 35 years old, Casilla is also in a battle with father time, a struggle no athlete has ever won. Don’t be surprised if you hear grumblings for a new closer later this season. That could include a trade this year, or even a look within, as some had speculated that the heat throwing Hunter Strickland, could eventually take over, or even the return of Sergio Romo would make sense. While it’s still one week into the season, be sure to keep an eye on the closer spot, it’ll be an interesting development over this season.
It’s been an exciting first week of baseball, and we here at Around the Foghorn could not be happier to have it be back. Be sure to tune in next week as the Giants travel to Colorado to take on the Rockies.