San Francisco Giants Show Promise in Close Defeat Against Miami
Well every loss definitely hurts, but that one actually didn't feel too bad, all things considered.
The Giants played well and what's more is that deadbeat, anchor of an offense we're always ragging on is actually somehow... good, really good. Over the last two weeks, the offense is averaging 5.4 runs a game, which feels incredibly refreshing considering they averaged less than half of that during the previous two weeks (2.5).
Obviously this starts with Melky Cabrera who has conveniently been on an absolute tear, hitting .466/.492/.672 over the last weeks (which isn't even including tonight's homer and triple), but it's been a team wide trend.
Crawford, who got two hits today, has been hitting well beyond expectations since batting second in the order. Even though this will probably end up like those random stretches where Aaron Rowand got a little hot in the leadoff spot, it's still great to see some signs of life in Crawford's bat.
Blanco has taken over the leadoff spot with a barrage of tough at-bat walks and timely hits. Pagan has settled in and been a force of consistency. Posey is the same Posey we dreamed of for seemingly the entirety of last season. There's even some surprise infield production from Joaquin Arias who looks like he could be a somewhat decent second basemen when Sandoval returns, which would be a HUGE boost over the combination of Burriss, Theriot, Culberson, and promises of Freddy Sanchez unlikely return.
Suddenly the offense is actually looking pretty good, especially with the Panda's inevitable return in mind:
How many runs will the Giants score in 2012?
1. Blanco CF (his defense is looking quite a bit better than Pagan's)
2. Cabrera LF
3. Sandoval 3B
4. Posey C
5. Pagan RF
6. Belt 1B
7. Crawford SS
8. Arias 2B
This could very well be the best lineup since the Bonds era and while it's still got some big question marks (Arias, Crawford, Blanco, Belt) as well as the the ever looming threat of injury, excitement can't be helped. That's a lineup that could produce runs and once the pitching and defense gets back to usual, the Giants could actually be really, really good.
As for the other side of the game, those seven runs sure did hurt, but there were still some good signs. Tim Lincecum actually looked really good for the majority of his start. His fastball was lively and for the most part stayed around 92 m.p.h. (according to Brooks, he averaged 91.8 m.p.h. on the gun) with control that, although fleeting at times, still consistently flashed the brilliance of the Lincecum we all know and love.
Although his fastball control occasionally abandoned him, the bigger problem was the location and "crispness" of his drop-off-the-table breaking stuff which is usually Lincecum's biggest strength. He could throw them for strikes pretty well, but couldn't consistently throw his usual diving-past-the-knees, whiff-inducing specialty. Still he got squeezed by the umpire on some key 3-2 ball fours (they were in the strike zone in Gameday) and fairly beaten on some pretty good pitches, namely by Giancarlo Stanton.
The ever-hopeful optimistic thing to take away from this one is that all the pieces are in place. Timmy is looking sharper and sharper and soon the fastball and the breaking stuff will be there for every inning he throws. Sandoval will soon come back and remind us why he's the best position player on our team and reinforce what has actually become a pretty good offense.
Although the Giants still took a loss, they took the hard-fought, undeserved loss of a winning team, flashing signs of an unfamiliar level of competence that Giants fans haven't seen since 2010.
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