Tuesday, April 14, 2009

First Week Notes and a Vacation

Been off the grid for a few days. Went to CO to visit family for Easter and stopped by Coor's stadium to see the Phillies pound the Rockies on Saturday night. Also saw the Giants play last week, game 2 vs. the Brew Crew before we hopped a plane to Denver. A few quick thoughts before we move on.

First, the Giants looked good in person. A lot of hustle. Everyone on the top rail in the dugout. They looked to have confidence and swagger. The hit...not great, but they looked decent. A one game sampling just isn't close to enough to tell though. Randy Johnson pitched and looked great. His fastball was topping out around 92 mph, so he's definitely not the same ol' Randy. Hopefully he isn't fully ready yet and still has a few mph left in the tank since the word on him coming into the season was he could still it 94. With the exception of one pitch to Yovanni Gillardo, Johnson was rolling. Then again, the game is made of a whole lot of "one" pitches and Johnson should have never put the ball in a position that a pitcher could hit a 3 run HR off him.

Second, watching the Brewers struggle to hit the Giants staff made me think our pitching might be just good enough to pull us through this season in contention. The bullpen is much better than last year but the jury is still out. I want to see them come in while we are in the lead in a close game a few more times. The Brewers have a very good lineup and it was nice to see them off balance so often.

Third, the Rockies don't look as good as I expected, but they can still hit. Then again, I was at Coor's field. They are definitley going to score some runs this year, but their pitching looked horrendous. De La Rosa threw and looked nothing like the kid who came on strong late last year. Again, it is early...I mean,if Lincecum is struggling then I guess everyone else is allowed a free pass for a while.

Finally, the Phillies....The Phillies... They looked every bit like the world champs. They hit the crap out of the ball. Brett Meyers looked like any good pitcher should while throwing in Denver... Vulnerable yet extremely productive. He limited the Rockies to hits,yet 3 were HR's that just kept carrying. As I watched the 15 hit parade the Phillies put on, I began to wonder...no,more like question the Giants own lineup. It is nowhere near the Phillies. It still has potential, but that was a world series lineup. Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, Werth, Ibanez, Feliz...and that was with their backup catcher. I tried not to compare to the Giants,but who couldn't?

The Giants have exactly 1 hitter I think the Phillies would trade straight up, position for position. Bengie Molina, and Bengie would probably bat 8th in that lineup...4th in ours. Now, that is not to say, the Giants are not better at other positions, I just think the Phillies may not view it that way. Personally, I would keep Fred Lewis over Raul Ibanez anyday. As for the rest, well, the ones I want, (Ishikawa, Sandoval, Burriss) they are still so new to the big leagues and unproven, you just can't really compare yet. Although, it would take a long, very longtime for Ishikawa or Burriss to reach even a sniff of a breath of being mentioned in the same paragraph as Ryan Howard or Chase Utley...wait, they are in the same one here. Ok, I promise this will be the last time until the day the may actually warrant it. As for Sandoval, if he hits like he should, I don't think their is a Giants fan alive that would rather have Pedro Feliz back instead of him.Then again, Feliz did have some faithful followers. Honorable mention goes to Randy Winn over Jason Werth. Werth really came on strong last year after getting comfortable in the starters role. He has more pop than Winn and is younger, but Winn knows RF at AT&T and is such a consistent hitter. Reality, I'd stick with Winn, Fantasy, give me Werth.

As for the rest of the season, being in Colorado, I was only able to see opening day, the game I went to, and last nights miserable loss to the damn Dodgers. It doesn't appear I missed much in the way of positive things over a 2-5 start. The hitting has been awful, at least that is what it sounded like between catching a few innings on my IPhone and watching Internet updates. The Pitching has been worse, and only because it is supposed to be so good.

One of the early bright spots, Joe Martinez, was crushed by that line drive...Hopefully he is recovering well...And I hope that isn't an omen for the season. As for Martinez, lets just hope he recovers back to full strength and his normal self. He's lucky he cracked his skull because the swelling from his brain could have killed him had it not cracked. He may get back on the mound someday...probably will try...but let's just take it one day at a time. He may never have the same confidence he once had and therefor may not ever be a decent pitcher again. First though, the recovery.

Also, the Giants made one minor Major League FA signing...or was that one major Minor League FA signing? Either way, the Giants made a great move in my estimation,by bringing Dallas McPherson into the organization on a minor league deal. McPherson, a third baseman, as already covered here, has always been considered a top prospect, but never lived up to expectations. He has power that is currently unmatched in the Giants organization, yet doesn't hit consistent enough nor play good enough on defense to have ever broken past that "AAAA" label. The minor league deal allows the Giants to stash him away in Fresno while they see how the Ishikawa/Sandoval tandem works itself out. He can compete with Jesus Guzman for time there and try to learn the skills of another position, like 1B or RF. Realistically, the Giants will give the current corner IF's 100-150 AB's to see if they can get on track, then look to make a move if needed. Look for both McPherson & Guzman to be called upon in June if either Ishikawa or Sandoval falter, or the more likely scenario of an injury to Aurilia or Uribe.One other possibility is a deal. The Giants might just have enough going right for them this year to pull off a major deal.

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