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First Fortnight: A Giants Mini-Review

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It's the night of a day off after a cold, weird, windy series in Chicago, and Jackie Robinson Day is winding down. The number 42 was last tinged with orange and french vanilla on the back of Kirk Reuter.

I don't think the blogoworld needs another essay on Jackie Robinson. I'm not going to surprise you with any observations or opinions from left field. (After some hesitation, I'm also not going to postpone this post because of the terrible events in Boston this afternoon. My thoughts are with my friends, colleagues and readers there.)

I will note, as others have, that my favorite team in all the world, the San Francisco Giants, have had a glaring lack of African-American players in their organization of late. Other teams have, too. It's a baseball thing, and it's not a good thing. But it's also too simplistic to wring one's hands and say that baseball with a dwindling number of African-Americans is by default a bad thing, just as it's too simplistic to say, gosh, what should the NBA do to boost the number of Caucasian-Americans on team rosters? Ratios and proportions of one skin color to another don't have intrinsic moral standing or lack thereof; the policies and attitudes that lead to those proportions might very well, however. And that's where I stop on this subject. I don't have enough information at my fingertips to bloviate any more. I don't know what major-league baseball is doing, or should be doing, beyond the Jackie Robinson Day and the 42 and the inner-city baseball program, to address the racial disparities, and I have no idea if what MLB is doing is working. I'd like to know; let me know what you know, or what you've learned.

For tonight, I'll stick to on-field events. Here's one good thing: The Giants have won a lot more games than they've lost these first two weeks, because they've taken six of seven from the stumblin' bumblin' Cubs and Rockies who thoroughly deserved to have six of seven taken from them. It's worth a short review: 

- The Giants have scored 61 runs, or 4.7 per game. They've allowed 54 runs, 4.2 per game. It's not quite the same pitching-and-defense-first formula we're used to. Since 2009, the Giants have finished first, second, or 8th (last year) in MLB runs allowed. (Fun stat of the night: Atlanta is allowing less than two runs a game so far: 23 total in 12 games.)

- Three starts in, Tim Lincecum looks exactly the same as last year. It's not Happy Lincecum Day, it's Groundhog Lincecum Day. Sunday's storyline was one bad inning, but a lot of good signs from the other four innings. I'm sure we heard that one a few times in 2012. I'm not asking for a rotation makeover. I'm just resigning myself to this particular reality. Until a guy like Chris Heston or Mike Kickham forces the issue in Triple-A (no signs of that yet), and the Giants no longer can afford Timmy pitching every fifth day, this is the movie. Grab your popcorn and settle in.

- Nick Noonan: 6 for 12 to start his major league career, and that includes three pinch hits. Carpe diem, kid.

- Small sample size, of course, but odd bullpen results so far. Righties Romo, Casilla and Gaudin have been stellar. All the lefties have had rough times (especially Affeldt in Chicago), and Kontos has sandwiched two terrible innings around a handful of clean appearances.

- Barry Zito is MVP of the fortnight. His start Tuesday should be fascinating. Miller Park in Milwaukee has been a retractable dome of horrors for him. Here and here and here and here are his last four starts. He's either been ridiculously wild or getting pounded, or both; twice he's somehow managed to minimize the damage before his early hook. 


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