The Giants won again today, 5-4 in thirteen innings. At 4-0, it’s their best start since 2003, when they began 7-0 and went on to their last play-off appearance.
It’s a little early to overdo it, but still the omens are as good as they get.
Today, the Giants survived a strong start from Tim Hudson and a struggle-start from Jonathan Sanchez, in which he didn’t give up a whole lot of runs (three) but didn’t make it through five full innings. The bullpen came in and held the Braves down for more than eight innings, and the Giants scored just enough runs to win.
So far, obviously no complaints for Giants fans. The team has had two games of great starts from Lincecum and Zito, a blow-out ten run game and a gutty thirteen inning affair today.
One thing I’ll note here — in my mind, every single game is the same, whether it’s in April or September. A win is a win is a win, and when that win comes doesn’t matter as much as how many are recorded after Game 162. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no down-side to jumping out to an early lead at the start of the season. If you are in first place, the bigger pressure is on the teams trying to play catch-up, not the team out in front.
The pressure only comes with long, late-season losing streaks if you’re the front-runner. One thing about the Giants, at least when they were winning from 1997-2004, they seldom had long losing streaks. Even when they got blown out in a 10-2 or 12-1 or 16-3 game, they were just as likely as not to come back and win the next one.
Granted, every team is different each year. However, the Giants certainly have enough veterans throughout the organization and at every level that I’m not too worried they’ll fold after any individual loss, not matter how devastating in the moment.
I’m not a huge fan of good ol’ Boch, but one thing he has in common with Dusty Baker is that he’s a players’ manager who’s been around long enough, he’s not going to panic because the Giants lose three or four in a row. He’s got a good group to work with this year, a nice mix of youngsters and veterans. He could use more hitting, but the Giants bench looks deep enough that if he plays the hot hand, he’ll do O.K. Meanwhile, no complaints about the pitching so far.
At the end of the day, it’s so much nicer to start the season 4-0 than any other way.