The SF Giants’ April of 2010

Well, the month of April is done. I love the beginning of baseball season, it is full with so much hope, that is unless your team is sadly foundering. In that case, it is the beginning of a very long season with very little hope other than for a high draft pick. However, with baseball a high draft slot is no guarantee of a good player. And, this has been the case for a very long time since the draft came into being. It also means that if your team is smart and drafts well you can get good players in later rounds, too. The baseball draft is definitely more like a lottery than in any other sport. In football or basketball, a first round draft pick is usually a sure shot at being a good starting player, and this is definitely not the case in baseball.

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Well, let’s not probe this further, and move onto the topic at hand– how did the Giants do in April? They did very well! The Giants finished the month of April at 13-9, which is pretty good. Lincecum and Zito both finished the month of April at 4-0. The lineup has been solid up and down, with aggressive swingers like Bengie Molina and Pablo Sandoval showing considerably more patience than in the past. The line-up has been more effective with Aubrey Huff in the lineup. Mark DeRosa has slumped, but I do have confidence that he can pick it up in the merry month of May. Aaron Rowand was on the disabled list for half of April due to being beaned, and once he goes back to feeling more normal his play should come around. Andres Torres was a fine temporary replacement for Rowand while he was on the disabled list. However, there are three April games that the Giants lost that they certainly should have won– one against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, when Manny Ramirez hit an eighth inning home run to beat the Giants, one against the Pirates, and one against the Phillies, where Lincecum had a 4-1 lead with one out in the ninth inning, which was blown by the bullpen. The only thing I can say is that it happens, and hopefully, it won’t happen the rest of the season. This is just the nature of the game of baseball– sometimes good teams do blow late leads, and other teams do come back.

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I was lucky enough the last week of April to see three games: all of which, the Giants won. One game, Jonathan Sanchez went five innings, and the bullpen held down the Phillies for the win beating Roy Halladay. The other two games were against the Colorado Rockies— nice victories by Barry Zito and Matt Cain. I was discussing the Giants today with one of my friends, and I had advised her that I had a good feeling about Barry Zito doing well in 2010. She said, “How did you know?” I said that it was just a feeling, and that he had done well the second half of last year, and that he would have some carry-over. I also advised my friend that I had the same feeling myself going into my Senior year of high school that I would do very well, which I did.

One of the things that I love about baseball is that at times I can feel a flash back to my youth, a time of innocence with less saturation of sports and technology. I did think about this while I was at the Saturday game. My uncle Gary had invited me to the game for my birthday, which is in March, which means that I’ll never see my name up on the scoreboard wishing me a “Happy Birthday” during the season (I do find this sad, but my birthday does usually mark the very first spring training game of the season). I knew that my uncle was going to be late since he had a prior golf appointment, and I know that my uncle does like to keep score at baseball games. So, I kept score for him as I had done growing up as a youth. My friends who I would attend baseball games with would usually make fun of me for keeping score, but I did enjoy it (keeping score not being made fun of). It definitely did bring me back to my youth. Of course, it was made better with the fact that Matt Cain got his first win of the season and was “dealing”. He gave up one hit in eight innings, and was dominant.

I was watching a game on television in April, and the announcer, possibly former Giants pitcher Mike Krukow said that “good teams win two games out of three, and that great teams sweep.” This means that the Giants were a good team in April, especially on their last home stand where they took two out of three games from the Cardinals, Phillies, and Rockies, three pretty good teams.  I do think that the Giants have enough pitching to put good hitting teams into slumps.

What do I see happening in May for the Giants? I think that if everyone stays healthy the Giants should do well. Here’s how the month of May looks for the Giants– first, playing the Marlins and Mets on the road, then a home stand with the Padres and Astros, another road trip to San Diego and Arizona, and the month concludes at home with the Nationals and the Diamondbacks. In April, the Padres swept the Giants in San Diego, and in May, I would like  for the Giants to return the favor to the Padres. So, basically, I see the Giants pitching being solid and the hitting doing well. Freddy Sanchez, who the Giants acquired last year to stabilize second base, and who has been hurt is due back sometime in he middle of May, I think. This could also be a huge boost to the Giants, almost like a trade, but without having to give anyone up.

Well, for right now, it is just a matter of “wait and see”, to see who does rise to the top. As you all know, I am hoping that it is the Giants…

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