I wanted to write this blip after the Giants' loss to the Rockies on Sunday, prolonging their trend of taking the series then failing to sweep. It would have been more honest perhaps, and certainly a bit more dour than my current assessment after 2 impressive wins against the Marlins.
In the loss to the Rockies last Sunday, Jonathan Sanchez looked very good early on but ran into trouble in the fourth and fifth innings. He was pulled with runners on first and third with one out in the fifth. He had only given up one run at this point and we'll never know if he would have had a meltdown.
That's okay though since Brandon Medders would come in and have one for him.
Medders, after an impressive 2009 season with a 3.01 ERA, averaging 8.3 hits per 9 innings, unfortunately has become this year's Keiichi Yabu. Thus far in 2010, he has a 6.23 ERA and is averaging 17.7 H/9.
The Giants' bats have cooled but are still batting an impressive .276. They are averaging 4.75 runs per game - more than enough run support for all their starters with the exception of Todd Wellemeyer who's begun to turn things around. In his last start, Wellemeyer went 7 innings, giving up just 3 hits and 2 ER in a win against the Phillies.
My biggest case of eating crow has been Eugenio Velez. I've always acknowledged that he had ADD on the field but with the raw talent he has displayed from time to time, I thought he was due to arrive. And like he did for a short period in 2008 and 2009, he did and then checked out again.
On the pitching front, Romo has learned a couple of valuable lessons the hard way but who can't be impressed with his performance last night after coming in to the game with no outs and the bases loaded? Medders as acknowledged above is looking weak and vulnerable every time he steps up to the mound and Jeremy Affeldt who looked nearly invincible last year has been struggling.
But anyway you slice it, the 2010 Giants are without question superior to the 2009 version in several ways.
Even if the struggling De Rosa and the competent Aubrey Huff don't amount to much in personal stats, they have already helped change the batting approach of their once free swinging teammates. Matt Downs is undoubtedly a superior batter than he was last year. Nate Schierholtz is becoming a consistent hitter and playing all around better baseball. Aaron Rowand continues to suggest that spring wasn't a fluke. His 2 out, ninth inning HR Monday night was nothing short of heroic.
And what about Barry Zito? He's been unbelievable so far in 2010. He and Tim Lincecum are undefeated for a combined 9-0 record. And with Matt Cain getting his stuff together and Jonathan Sanchez's filth, it's hard to think of a more formidable pitching rotation.
Even the Giants-hating John Kruk last night predicted that the team will take the NL West.
Yesterday was a good day for Giants fans all around. The Padres and Rockies beat on one another into extra innings with the Padres falling in the end. And prior to Zito's first pitch against the Marlins, the Panda and the Comeback Kid shared a hug.