Bay Area Sports Fan!

A blog for a Bay Area Sports Fan

Giants Destined For Mediocrity (My Giants Preview!)

Posted by davefowkes on 04/05/2009

It is a combination of youth and age that will be on display for the city by the bay. The San Francisco Giants enter the season hoping to mesh their talent into a National League West championship. The Giants will need good health, better luck and Tim Lincecum to make that happen!

I have blogged on the Giants pitching before. It is said to be their strength this year. While I agree it is the strongest part of the team, I still see trouble out there. Lincecum is the ace, I have no problem there. As long as he stays healthy, I see no reason for him not to win 20 games and challenge for a second straight Cy Young.

After Lincecum is where your questions pop up. Matt Cain is all potential and no run support. But at some point he needs to find a way to win close games on his own. Jonathan Sanchez I like a lot, but can he bring it for a full season? Then there is the age and experience of Randy Johnson. It is unbelievable how good he is at 45 but can his back last the whole year? And Barry Zito is still bad until proven otherwise. His fastball looks like mine. If he gets 12 wins the Giants should be very thankful! Still a lot of question marks on a starting five that is supposed to lead the team!

The bullpen is not much different. Brian Wilson established himself as the closer last year. He put up good saves numbers but for anyone who watched the games, it is not like they were 1-2-3 innings every time out. So in his second year does he settle down in the 9th and get better? Or does the league catch up to him and knock him around? Setting up will be the greatness of Bob Howry, Alex Hinshaw, Jeremy Affeldt. There is a lot of youth in the bullpen and that could be a great thing, or not.

The offense should be better than last year, but not significantly. It is all about Pablo Sandoval for the G-men. Sandoval has looked great since being called up last year. The Giants need him to be huge this year. Travis Ishikawa has had a nice spring and has won the first base job. If he can supply some key hits and a few homers that will be a huge plus. Edgar Renteria at shortstop is just fine although he is way over paid. I am not such a fan of Emmanual Burris at second base but he is young and maybe he can show us something this year.

The outfield is mediocre at best. Fred Lewis in left certainly is the hope and dream of Giants fans. Anohter needed commodity for any Giants success. But he has had injury troubles in his first few years. Aaron Rowand looks like he is done. He did not do much last year and followed up with a horrible spring training. He could find himself on the bench by May if he does not pick up his game. Randy Winn keeps on chugging in right.

Bengie Molina is the power hitter behind the plate. Who would have thought 5 years ago that Molina would be a clean up hitter? Yet he is the true star for the Giants lineup. With not much depth behind him, the Giants will need him to stay healthy and catch a lot of games this year.

If Molina is healthy and hits home runs, Sandoval slams the ball around, Lewis takes a big step up and Ishikawa impresses, the Giants are going to make things interesting in the west. If Lincecum is even better than last year, Cain gets offensive support, Sanchez continues to improve and the Big Unit stays healthy, watch out west!

But if any of the above does not fall into place, I see the Giants as an improved team from last year, but not quite ready to play with the big boys. The Giants could easily make things fun in April and May before running out of gas in the summer. Either way they should build on the 72 wins of last year. But I don’t think they are going to reach that 500 plateau. Let’s go with 79 wins for the Giants and a third place finish in a down NL West.

UPDATE:  Count me as one of the many who think it is absolutely silly to keep Sandoval as the backup catcher to Molina. Let the kid learn his trade at third and don’t bog him down with having to worry about catch. Meanwhile they need depth behind Molina to not wear him out. I realize this experiment is likely only for a few weeks, but it can be so limiting during games not having that extra catcher, I am quite sure it will backfire.

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