Friday, April 8, 2011

Saltzman Says...2-4 Start is a good thing

The Giants are starting this year very similar to last year.  If you remember last year, the Giants started hot, going 4-0, sweeping the Houston Astros and winning the opener against the Atlanta Braves in 13 innings.  Nobody thought the Giants were going 162-0, yet it sure was good to see the Giants beat a less superior team in Houston and beat a better team at the time in Atlanta.  Then after winning both the Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates series, the Giants went South.  Both literally and figuretively.  The Giants went down to Los Angeles and San Diego, and came away with one win.  Only one.  The Giants lost two out of three to the Dodgers and then got swept by the Padres. 

Entering 2011 with a World Championship patch on their right sleeve certainly gave people the impression this would be an even better start to the year.  However, instead of playing teams like Houston and Pitssburgh, the Giants started with the two nemesis teams from down south.  What resulted was a 2-4 start to the year, followed by an Opening day today against a long time central power in St. Louis.  The Cardinals come in struggling, but have never been looked at as an easy win. 

However, I look at the start of the year as an improvement on last year as well as a sign of better things to come. 

1. Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, and Brandon Belt were in the minors last year.  These three potential phenoms were all in the minor league system to start 2010, and in Belt's case, was in San Jose or Single-A.

2. Freddy Sanchez, Miguel Tejada, Pat Burrell, Andres Torres and Cody Ross.  None of these players were starting or with the team on opening day last year, and with the excpetion of Ross who is on the DL, all are here now. 

3. The pitching is better.  Tim Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez, Matt Cain, Barry Zito and Madison Bumgarner have a collective ERA under 3.00 to start the year.  These five will carry the team throghout the year.

4. The record is better.  Even though the Giants started 7-2 last year, they started 1-5 against the Dodgers and Padres.  This year, they started 2-4.  Not much of a jump, but improving from a 92 win season only takes 8 extra wins to get to 100.  The Giants technically are on pace for 93 wins if they can repeat last year's performance against the other teams in the league.

The Freak, the Kid, and the Rock will help lead the Giants in 2011

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