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What I Learned From The First Week Of Giants Baseball

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Like the Giants, I too spent my first week of April in dry hot climates. It was rough, I tell you, and I learned several valuable lessons. 

1) Riverside County is really big. Huge! Who knew it stretched all that way? Also, the Time Warner cable provider of the Coachella Valley does not, under any circumstances I could figure out, carry Giants-Diamondbacks games. 

2) Said cable provider did, however, carry Dodger games against the Giants. But -- surprise -- the first two games started at a time, 1pm, when Mrs. Malo would have looked askance at my offer to stay back and start the dinner prep while she and Las Malitas hit the pool. There was no vacation meal I could have dreamed up that would require the soaking and blanching of leeks five hours in advance. Dammit, leeks! Dammit, MLB schedulers! 

3) Commenting upon baseball based solely on other people's reports and 15-second highlight snippets is a fool's errand. Hey, perfect.

4) For all of you slobbering about the six-game outburst of offense in Chase BOB Park and daytime Dodger Stadium, meet Zack Greinke. I'm not saying the home runs and fun fun fun is a mirage, although that would nicely fit my desert theme. But there are hot streaks, there are cold streaks, there are Paul Maholms instead of Clayton Kershaws, and you get the point, delivered on the tip of a spear thrown by Greinke, a real bonafide goodness-to-honest MLB ace. Or co-ace, if you like. 

5) The Giants might feast all year on the soft underbelly of rival pitching staffs, especially when guys like Kershaw and Patrick Corbin are on the shelf, but to be really good -- and advance in the post-season -- the Giants pitchers will have to do some out-dueling. Other than Tim Hudson in Phoenix and MadBum Saturday, the rotation has been mediocre at best. This bears watching. Something tells me this team isn't built for success upon the backs of its middle relievers (although the addition of David Huff, longish man, to a bullpen that also has Yusmeiro Petit, long man, has been helpful so far). I'll refrain from commentary until each starter has had three turns through the rotation. Unless there are weird velocity drops, hints of injury, etc, it's not helpful to project, say, two mediocre Matt Cain starts into anything grander.

6) If any one Giant pitcher's game-by-game performance demands extra scrutiny, it's this guy. He's all that stands between a Vogelsong meltdown and another Kickham summer. If Edwin Escobar mows 'em down in Triple A, the big club will breathe a little easier as their big-league five have their ups and downs. Note: In his first start, the left-handed Escobar was fine against lefties but fared badly against righties: nine hits, one walk, and only seven outs (one via K).

7) The Non-Scutaro Update: Bochy rotated starts among the non-Scutaros evenly the first week. Only Brandon Hicks made any noise with the bat, plus he made a great turn on a double play. He has to keep making impressions, because Arias has a two-year guaranteed contract and Adrianza is out of options. The scoring bounty has only reinforced a healthy Scutaro's value, however. As long as he's not giving back runs on defense, he could provide a .350 OBP from the second slot (which he did even in great pain last year) and wouldn't need to contribute much extra-base-wise. With Belt-Posey-Pence-Sandoval-Morse behind him, his only job would be to run up pitch counts, get on base frequently, and not hit into double plays. Until then, though, a Sluggin' Third Brandon can't hurt.


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