Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Back in the Squat

I don't usually get excited from Spring Training games, but I've got to say that the San Francisco Giants spring debut this afternoon got me a little excited about the upcoming season.
The Giants looked good, although I know it's just spring training and the whole deal down in Scottsdale is more about stretching the muscles for the first time since last season, and less about batting averages and homeruns. But they won today in extra innings mind you. They were up 7-3, but ultimately won 8-7 in 10 innings.
But if there was one person who needed to have a good game this afternoon (which there wasn't), it was Aubrey Huff. The Giants' "premiere" power pick-up this offseason hit a homerun on the first pitch he saw as a member of the Giants.
This is a good start, and for all those who think Huff will not contribute much this season, I say think again. Huff's career statistics are not fantastic, but compared to every other clean-up hitter that has held that spot since Barry Bonds, his numbers should look good to a Giants fan. If given a full season, Huff has consistently shown he can put up moderate RBI numbers mixed with a descent batting average. And don't forget, in 2008 he had 108 RBI's and a .304 batting average. If he manufactures anything close to that this season, it will be an accomplishment for Giants management. But possibly moreso for GM Brian Sabean, as the he acquired Huff for $3 Million/year, which is a steal for a guy who is just a year removed from the 2008 Silver Slugger Award.
Just don't underestimate Huff. I predict a descent .270-.280 batting average and between 80-85 RBI's this season from him. That would be the most production Giants fans have seen from the #4 spot in a long time.
For those who tuned in to the Giants game or read the articles about how Tim Lincecem gave up 3 runs and walked several batters today, don't overthink that too much. He's a notorious slow starter in spring training and it takes him a while to get back into pitching shape, mostly because there are so many moving parts in his wind-up it's hard to get that timing back to perfection. He even knows, "My arm was ahead of my body, I wasn't using my legs and my front side was leaking out, and the ball was ridng into the right-handed box." He understands what he's doing wrong and he has these same balance problems every spring. No big deal. It takes a lot of time and work to get a gem like Timmy back into '3rd Cy Young in a row contention' shape.
But the future is now for this ball club. Madison Bumgarner looked clean in his spring training opener giving up no runs in 2 innings of work. And farm system products like Conor Gillaspie (who singled home the game-winning run), Darren Ford, and Roger Kieschnick were all in uniform today.
It seems like we are in for another thrilling season once again in the competitive NL West with these San Francisco Giants. Except this time, we're ready for this one.


  1. I too am VERY EXCITED for this Giants season. Its our best shot at playoffs in years. I actually think the Giants can win the NL West not just because the division isnt so strong but this club has the "it" factor it regards to chemistry. I know the hitting isnt exactly there but the 2010 Giants really do have that feeling of a "team' for the first time since the 2002 season.

  2. At least we have a complete lineup this year. With our pitching staff,things are going to be exciting this year! Go Giants!!