Sunday, April 11, 2010

G-Men's First Week in Review

How to rank the San Francisco Giants' first week of the season? How about the last team to be undefeated in the Majors? The Giants finished their first week going 5-1, while sweeping the first series of the year from the Houston Astros and taking 2 of 3 from the Atlanta Braves this weekend.

The headline for this first week for the Giants, "Pitching, pitching, pitching." And you can say that at least 4 times, maybe even 5 if you want to get greedy. The Giants first 4 starting pitchers threw lights out games in their first starts of the year. None more impressive, or surprising, as Barry Zito's gem in the 2nd game of the year in Houston. Tim Lincecum was impressive in his first start, and Cain was excellent as well, but you can make an argument that Zito had the most impressive start thus far for the Giants. He threw 6 innings giving up just 3 hits and allowing 0 runs, and here's the kicker: 1 walk, something that Zito has had problems with in the past, but not recently, a great sign for the Giants.

Don't overlook Todd Wellemeyer's first start as a Giant either. Wellemeyer is a pitch-for-contact pitcher, so he relies mostly on his defense for help. In the 2nd game of the Braves series, Wellemeyer didn't get much of that as the Giants made 2 crucial errors that turned into runs that the Giants could have used. Wellemeyer would give up 4 runs in the game, but not a bad first start for him considering that is a very good Braves team.

Another surprising occurence was the Giants' offense. They managed to put up 5 runs against Roy Oswalt in Houston, and then they went crazy (in Giants terms) going for 10 runs against Brett Myers in the series finale. Aubrey Huff and Mark DeRosa have fit in nicely in the 4 and 5 spots in the line-up so far and have started a few rallies for the Giants just in this first week. Whether they are taking pitches and getting walks, or putting the bat on the ball, stuff happens when they are at the plate. Veterans can do that for a team that lacks big hitters.

But the Player of the Week for the Giants was no doubt, Edgar Renteria. He may be in the running for POW for the MLB, as well. Renteria hit .524 with 11 hits and 5 RBI this week and seems to have a presence at the plate that we have not seen since he joined the Giants. His wrist is finally 100% healthy and it seems that the Giants may have the Renteria that they were looking for when they picked him up in 2008 for 2 yrs./$18.5 million. It smells like a break-out season for Renteria who is in the last year of his contract for the Giants.

The Giants are playing well early, which is more than you can say for the rest of the NL West, minus the D-Backs who are off to a 4-2 start and have looked impressive as well in this first week.

Pablo Sandoval is one guy we have not seen or heard much of in this first week, which is unlikely for such a high-impact player on the Giants. Although he had his first breakout game of the season in the finale against the Braves, expect him to step his game up this next week.

The Giants have a three-game set at home against the Pirates starting on Monday, then travel to Los Angeles where the 2010 Giants/Dodgers rivalry begins for a 3-game weekender.

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