Monday, April 9, 2012

Series Preview: The Rockies

I don't know how it happened, but I managed to double book the opening series against the Diamondbacks. As the first two games played out, I was participating in a conference dedicated to German idealism and its legacies and controversies. I did get to watch the third, but we know how disheartening it was by the sixth inning.

Here's what I learned. I will need to rethink my impression of the Diamondbacks. They weren't a fluke last year, and they won't stop scrapping and fighting back from six run deficits this year. But maybe it's better that I missed the first two games, so that I don't need to consider the possibility that the strength of the Giants, their pitching, could flounder. Lincecum, Cain, and Bumgarner, as Alex Pavlovic points out, pitched 15 1/3 innings and gave up 19 hits, 14 earned runs, and....six homers. But we shouldn't forget that these things are magnified because they happen during the first three games of the season. There are 159 to go. 

And this would be more frightening if the Giants' offense was more lackluster in that 2011 kind of way. But they are not currently the worst offense in the National League. With 14 runs, they are tied for fifth place (although to balance this with the small sample size kind of trivia, the Phillies have scored the least number of runs so far, with six). Whatever the numbers may be, Gregor Blanco and Melky Cabrera have improved the outfield. However, it was also clear that the Giants struggled to take advantage of Arizona's sloppy defense. I think I just undermined by own confidence in my believe that their offense as improved. See what discussing only three games can do?

So on to the Rockies. And Barry Zito, who gets his first start of the season today. If the Giants can get on track, they are a better team than the Rox. But it won't be a walk in the park like the last time they played at Coors Field, September 16-18, when they swept Colorado, 9-1, 6-5, 12-5. Troy Tulowitzki will be in the line up, and the Rockies have added Michael Cuddyer and Marco Scutaro.

For this series, all eyes are on the pitching. Barry Zito needs to last four or five innings and give up less than four runs. Then we can can expect to see Mota, Otero, and hopefully Brian Wilson. Lincecum and Bumgarner need to bounce back. If these things don't happen Tulowitzki, Cuddyer, Scutaro, and Carlos Gonzales could make this a long series. 

And Jamie Moyer. He embarrassed the Giants during spring training, and they need to show that those perfect innings were meaningless.

No comments: