Wow! What a week to start the season for the San Francisco Giants. We all expected that they could hit and score runs in Miller Park, but to score 12 runs against the Dodgers in the AT&T Park opener? Nobody saw that coming. Let’s hope these guys stay healthy because this team is fun to watch. Now, onto The Friday Five.
1) The Giants have 3 more games at home against the Dodgers before their first off day of the season on Monday. All 3 pitching matchups for the rest of the weekend have some intrigue. Friday night it’s Matt Cain returning to the hill in what we all hope is the beginning of a return to glory. Some guy named Ross Stripling is starting for LA. He’s never pitched above double-A and is making his MLB debut because the Dodgers lost all their starters to injury this spring.
Saturday afternoon is the main attraction. Madison Bumgarner will face Clayton Kershaw. Bumgarner was fighting the flu in his last start in Milwaukee and he struggled to find a rhythm. Kershaw did anything but struggle as he only allowed 1 hit while striking out 9 Padres in 7 innings. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, the Giants are not the Padres when it comes to offense. Don’t sleep on the Sunday game, Johnny Cueto will be making his Giants home debut.
2) All the talk in baseball heading into the first Giants-Dodgers game was about LA’s 27 straight shutout innings to start the season. The Giants let that number climb to 31 before exploding for 12 runs over the next 4 innings. The key hit of the game was a 2-out triple by Joe Panik to keep the pressure on during a 3-run fifth inning. It was an impressive display capped off by Hunter Pence’s grand slam in a 5-run bottom of the 8th.
Denard Span made an immediate impact on the Giants lineup. He drove in 5 runs opening day against the Brewers and was in the middle of run scoring innings against LA. Johnny Cueto was also impressive in his debut in Milwaukee. He allowed only 1 run over 7 innings and struck out 4. He’s also a hilarious at bat. Both these guys fit right in.
I’m a big fan of the new lineup with the pitcher batting 8th. Bruce Bochy has stumbled across something that will make this offense deep and powerful. There shouldn’t be many stretches when the offense struggles this season.
3) Checking in on an ex-Giant, Adam Duvall made the opening day roster for the Cincinnati Reds. He started 2 of 3 games in left field and batted clean up in yesterday’s 10-6 win over the Phillies. Alas, he struck out 3 times and only has 1 hit in nine trips to the plate.
4) Quote of the week from yesterday’s recap on SFGiants.com. Joe Panik on LA’s shutout streak to start the season.
“Glad we didn’t help them make history,” Panik said. “We don’t usually pay attention to that kind of stuff.”
5) Opening week had some good stuff around the interwebs:
We celebrated our 100th episode with a season preview podcast. You can listen to see if we all think the even year magic continues.
Over at fivethirtyeight.com a few baseball writers forecast the NL West this season. They like the Giants chances.
Have you noticed the new matte finished batting helmets? Here’s the story from Henry Schulman.
Are you like me and you always wanted a pocket schedule but don’t live near the park? Good news the Giants will send you 10 pocket schedules for free if you sign up here.
ESPN’s SweetSpot on why Joe Panik will win the NL batting title.
Here’s Jon Miller’s call from the home opener. “A grand slam for Buster Posey’s good friend, Hunter Pence.” It is hilarious.
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Have a great weekend everyone and as always, Beat LA!