Young Giants Leading the Way: Lincecum and Cain Showing Their Stuff

Evan AczonSenior Analyst IApril 6, 2008

A week into the season, the one bright spot on the Giants team has been the pitching of their two young aces. Matt Cain pitched great in his first start, and aside from being taken out early, picked up where he left off last year, striking out five in five innings and not giving up a run.

Tim Lincecum, making his first appearance after sitting out the last month of last season, came out of the bullpen and threw four innings, striking out four and only giving up one run.

Lincecum and Cain combine for nine strikeouts and a 0.98 ERA. In comparison, in the other twenty innings Giants starters have pitched, they have struck out less (eight) and have an ERA of 8.10. These two have definitely shown themselves to be the sharpest of all the Giants pitchers, and the team should be in every game that they pitch.

Offensively, Aaron Rowand is the only Giant having success hitting the ball. After his team-leading .375 average, the next best is rookie Eugenio Velez, hitting .278. Fellow newcomer Jose Castillo has shown some pop, hitting four doubles in only 22 at-bats.

No one was supposed to be a fantastic hitter this year, but even the players who were hot in Spring Training have cooled off significantly since the season started; Ray Durham is hitting .188 and Rich Aurilia is barely over .200.

There has been an increase in base-stealing, but the execution that manager Bruce Bochy has been emphasizing has not been showing up as much. If the Giants pitchers can keep the runs against down, the hitters will have a better chance to get them back in the game.

The youth have been showing up in full force, and are proving that they have a lot to learn. At the same time, they're showing that they have the resolve to learn it.

Brian Bocock came in knowing that he was not going to be an offensive force, but is leading the team in walks and has two steals. Velez  is getting more comfortable in the field, and Dan Ortmeier is showing that he can contribute on the base-paths as well.

Yes, they have made their share of mistakes this first week, but there is no other way for them to learn unless thrown directly into the lion's den. This season will only get better for these young players, and even though it might not show statistically, it will show up in their attitude and in their work ethic for the future.

Final Thoughts

I think both Ray Durham and Jonathan Sanchez will be gone by the All-Star Break and Fred Lewis is only going to get better if he gets more at-bats.

I like the new guys in the bullpen; Yabu, Threets, and Valdez have really impressed me. Lastly, I'm predicting that Fred Lewis will hit the first home-run this year at ATT Park. He'll also get the first splash hit of the season.

Lastly, the Giants have a better record (1-5) than the Detroit Tigers (0-6), who almost doubled their payroll since Opening Day 2007.