Earlier today I posted a list of observations I made about the San Francisco Giants while watching Saturday night’s game from the Dodger Stadium grandstands. I said that Johnny Cueto is the Giants’ best pitcher, that Denard Span is indeed a great addition and that—whether it’s directly related or not—it seems to be working as well for Angel Pagan as anyone else, and I said that Matt Duffy looks out of place batting sixth in the order.
So, here are the rest of my observations from the game, but most about the team that I made while watching from 350 feet down left-field line rather than the usual spot over the pitcher’s shoulder (via the television screen).
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Observation 4: The Giants lineup, from top to bottom, looks formative. As in, there’s a fair amount of power in there.
The Giants don’t have any 40-homer threats. They probably don’t even have any 30-homer guys. But how surprising would it be if five Giants finished 2016 with at least 20 home runs? Buster Posey and Hunter Pence do that routinely. Brandon Crawford did it in 2015, and he looks every bit as powerful this year. Brandon Belt certainly has the potential. And Duffy could even do it, though he is the least likely to reach that plateau.
I still think the Giants should have made a run at Chris Davis in the offseason, but since they didn’t do that, they should at least target a major power hitter sometime before the July 31 trade deadline. Regardless of whether they do, (say, when Pagan goes down with an injury and the Giants need a left fielder), this lineup has more pop than the World Series-winning squads of 2010, 2012 and 2014.
Observation 5: I hope Javier Lopez isn’t losing his magic, but he doesn’t look good. Granted, the 2-run home run he gave up Saturday night was hit by the leading candidate for National League Rookie of the Year, Corey Seager. But Lopez had only given up given up five home runs since joining the Giants in 2010. Only once has he given up multiple home runs over an entire season.
He’s already given up his first one of 2016, in addition to yielding four earned runs in 2-2/3 innings thus far. Last year, he didn’t give up his fourth earned run until late June.
And of the 38-year-old’s six appearances (he often comes in for just one or two batters), only one has been clean, when he recorded two outs against the Dodgers on April 8. Also, of the eight outs he has recorded, none has come via strikeout. Oh, and he’s given up five hits already. In 2015, he didn’t give up his fifth hit until June.
So, yeah, Lopez doesn’t look like the same pitcher who’s been so effective serving as a lefty specialist throughout the Giants’ near-dynasty era.
Observation 6: After spending three hours at Dodger Stadium, immersed in a sea of Dodger Blue, I need to cleanse my soul with an evening at AT&T Park.