Getting itchy for baseball yet? I know I am. Last week, Chad and I kicked off 2018 with a quick 30-minute pod to discuss the new additions to our beloved San Francisco Giants. Check that out, it’s not outdated yet because time moves at a glacial pace during the baseball off season.
But, I’m not here just to pimp our podcast. It’s time to start looking ahead to the 2018 Giants season, Fan fest is right around the corner on February 10, and pitchers and catchers report to Scottsdale, Arizona on February 13 to begin their workouts.
The Giants take on the Brewers in their first Cactus League game on the 23rd of February. It’s baseball, just not the sit on the edge of your seat meaningful baseball we all want it to be. That doesn’t start until the Giants head to LA for 4 games against the Dodgers on March 29.
Today, let’s take a look at a few of the dates to circle on the 2018 Giants schedule. We’re almost there, only 57 more days until Opening Day.
March 29-April 1 at LA: 4-game series, Opening Day
Phew. We dodged a bullet, didn’t we? This could have been the time for the Dodgers to raise a World Series banner. And as Giants fans, there would be no greater pain than having that happen on Opening Day in LA. Thankfully, or thanks to Yu Darvish, we don’t have to confront that awful scenario.
Opening Day doesn’t need sizzle, but this should deliver. The Giants new additions of Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria will be making their debut for the club, and I expect another installment of “Madison Bumgarner vs Clayton Kershaw” to start the season. Baseball is all about the measuring stick, teams are constantly trying to see how they stack up against the best, and the Giants get the cream of the NL crop right away. Last season the Giants went 8-11 against the Dodgers. It would be nice if they can grab 3 of 4 in LA to hit the ground running.
April 3-4 vs Seattle: Home Opener
It’s not sexy. It’s not a rivalry. It’s not even a team the Giants play every season. For some reason, the Seattle Mariners will be in town to kick off the home portion of the 2018 campaign. Opening Day at AT&T Park is a beautiful scene and fans will get their first chance to see the hometown nine. I’m just throwing this out there, but wouldn’t it be cool if Bumgarner starts both Opening Day and the home opener? It’s a possibility with the season starting on a Thursday and the Giants getting a day off before this series.
I mentioned the new additions, and this series is when Longo and Cutch will debut in front of the faithful. We also get to see how McCutchen handles the RF wall and if Hunter Pence has made a smooth transition to left field. Like I said, it’s not a spectacular match-up with Seattle. But it will be the first time the Giants are back on the shores of McCovey Cove, and everything should feel right in the world again.
April 20-22 at LAA: Ohtani
As you may have guessed by now, the Giants face the AL West in interleague play this season. After a brief flirtation with the young two-way phenom Shonei Ohtani from Japan, the Giants were not selected and he chose to go to the Angels. This series will give us the first chance to see the kid up close. Plus, it’s always fun if the Giants can beat up on the Angels. It’s our own little stupid revenge for 2002. Stupid f’n Rally Monkey. I’ve never hated a monkey until he came along. Now the list is 1 monkey long. Stupid f’n Rally Monkey.
Remember to avert your eyes when they show clips of Dusty handing the ball back to Russ. That scar will never leave.
May 11-13 at Pittsburgh: Cutch’s Return
After spending his entire career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Andrew McCutchen will be returning to face the only organization he knew before 2018. Back in 2005, McCutchen was drafted in the first round, 11th overall, by the Pirates. He moved up through their system and stuck in the big leagues starting in 2009. McCutchen made 5 all-star teams and won the 2013 NL MVP and was basically the face of the Pittsburgh franchise for 8 years.
I’m sure it will be weird for McCutchen to use the visitor’s clubhouse. I do expect him to get an ovation from the crowd the first time in the batter’s box. It’s only fair, he did help end a 20-something year playoff drought. That’s why I circled it. This is going to be an interesting series with Cutch’s return.
May 22-23 at Houston: Taking On The Champs
I mentioned earlier about how baseball teams want to measure up to the best. Well, there’s nobody better, at least there wasn’t last year, than the Houston Astros. The defending champs should be just as good this season and by late May, the Giants should have a decent sense of who they are. Teams always gear up for the defending champs, we saw that a lot in some recent odd years, this series will tell us if the Giants are up to the challenge. Plus, there should be a ton of runs scored in this series, and that’s always a lot of fun.
July 13-22 vs Oakland, ASG, at Oakland: A weird All-Star Game sandwich with the Oakland A’s as the bread
I don’t know what else to call it. There is this weird scheduling quirk this season, the Giants play the A’s the final 3 games before the all-star break, and then the first 3 games after the all-star break. Got that? Yea, it’s freaking weird scheduling.
There’s always a home and home with Oakland, but not like this. In years past it had been a 4-game series spread over the 2 cities. Why circle this on the calendar? Because it’s the A’s. It’s 10 days worth of arguing and bragging rights for the 2 fan bases. Just keep those punches above the belt.
August 24-26 vs Texas: Memories of 2010
Remember Edgar Renteria’s 3-run homer? Or how about Freddy Sanchez’s 3 doubles to start the 2010 World Series? Well, if you’ve forgotten about those moments in Giants history, you’ll be reminded of them during this late August series with the Rangers.
Personally, I love when this match-up rolls around. Twitter gets excited again as people share radio calls and pictures. Articles will be written filled with those memories we hold dear. And we’ll soak up every bit of it. Even though the Giants have won 3 titles this decade, that one after a 56-year drought was the sweetest.
September 3-5 at Colorado: Labor Day and the home stretch
Every year, the Giants seem to play on Labor Day in Colorado. Last year, the Rockies won on a walk in the bottom of the 9th. The year before that it was a 6-0 shutout for Colorado. This is the 4th time in the past 5 seasons the Giants will be in Colorado for Labor Day. Talk about scheduling quirks.
This series is also a good barometer for how the team may play down the stretch. Coors Field is a house of horrors, we’ve seen it for years. That’s what they should name it, Horrors Field. Anyway, if the Giants are in a pennant race in 2018, the Rockies could be right there with them. This series will show us if the offense is still working after 5 long months of the everyday grind. The Giants are weighing heavily on veteran talent this season, and with that comes the possibility for injuries. By now we will know if that problem has been solved with depth.
September 24-26 vs SD, 28-30 vs LA: Final week of the season
The Giants get to end the 2018 season the same way they started it, with the rival Dodgers. This time, it’s 3 games by McCovey Cove. Before that, the Padres are in town for 3 and with the wonderful schedule makers out there and all of the new off days, the Giants get a day off in between these 2 final series of the season.
It’s possible the Giants could be in position to play spoiler against the Dodgers. We all assume LA is going to be good, and they will, but let’s be honest, no one has any idea if this new Giants plan will work. These last games on the schedule could mean everything, or just be another string to play out. September games against your most hated team, with something on the line is the best kind of pennant race baseball. Who knows, the Dodgers have to stop winning division titles at some point. Maybe this is the year?
Well, now that you have these dates circled, I hope you have reached peak frothing at the mouth, spinning in circles, chasing your tail level of excitement for the new Giants season. I know I have. This is been tough to write given how dizzy I am from the spinning in circles.
As always, new shows will also drop right here on our website. Also, you can like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or check out our YouTube channel with plenty of interviews with Giants players and more.