Brian Sabean is looking like a genius in the early going.
Yeah, I know. We're only nine games into the season; there are 153 games still left to play.
Still, one can't help but get excited about the 2010 San Francisco Giants. Off to their best start since 2003, it is not hard to imagine this team going wire to wire in the National League West.
Everyone figured the pitching would be good but it has been even better than expected. The starting pitching has been excellent (7 quality starts in nine games).
The Giants bats have added enough punch to win games they would have lost last year.
The pitching questions entering the season were: 1) Jonathan Sanchez?; 2) Barry Zito?; 3) Who would be the fifth starter?.
Sanchez looked brilliant yesterday. He didn't seem to have his best stuff early on but he settled down and blew away Pittsburgh with 11 strikeouts. Last year he would have imploded if he stated off a little shaky.
How about Zito? He also didn't look like he had his best stuff and he is 2 - 0 for the first time as a Giant.
The difference between this year and last year is just this: The Giants starters don't believe they have to pitch a shutout to get a win. In other words they can relax and pitch, taking the pressure off of themselves and putting it on the batters they face.
As for the fifth starter? It is too soon to judge Todd Wellemeyer but if the top four continue to pitch the way they are throwing, you and I could go out on the fifth day.
The off season additions of Aubrey Huff and Mark DeRosa seem to have sparked the lineup (although DeRosa's numbers are weak thus far).
When President Obama talks about the distribution of wealth he could use the 2010 Giants as an example.
Edgar Renteria started off on fire. As soon as he started to cool down, Aaron Rowand, who started the year 0 - 10, got hot. Then Benjie Molina and Juan Uribe and Triples Alley Aubrey Huff.
Pablo Sandoval, despite hitting safely in the first several games, has not been much of a factor (his three errors at third base stand out more than anything). It is only a matter of time before the Panda starts hitting home runs.
Then there is John Bowker. If he gets hot, watch out!
Pundits have cited the Giants porous infield at first and third as a potential weak spot this year but I don't see it as a major issue. Matt Cain and Zito get a lot of fly ball outs and Tim Lincecum and Sanchez strikeout a lot of batters. The defense will be fine.
Sabean knew the Giants just needed a little tweaking to be a legitimate threat in the NL West. He didn't pursue Jason Bay or Matt Holiday. He brought back Uribe; he brought in Huff and DeRosa.
The 2010 Giants are scoring runs - and it is making their starting pitchers better!
Brian Sabean knows what he's doing. October baseball is returning to China Basin in 2010!