The San Francisco Giants are by no means the best team in the bigs, nor will they develop to be any time this season. Offensively, the Giants are atrocious, and it doesn’t seem like Brian Sabean is in a hurry to find us a big bat. But one thing the Giants are, is a surprise. I can’t speak for every San Fransican, but most of us thought we’d have a sub-par year and would not be in the mix for playoff contention. When the season began, I thought the best we can do is second to last in the division, but now I’ve totally changed my opinion on the Giants, I’ve done a complete 180. Now I think they are not only capable of reaching the playoffs, but getting deep into it as well. They are currently a game back from the streaking Colorado Rockies, but if all goes well, the Giants should be able to recapture the NL Wild Card lead, and ultimately get into the post-season. Once in, well … all bets are off. Like I said, the Giants aren’t the best team in Major League Baseball and come post-season time, they won’t metamorphisize into a far better unit, in fact, they’ll most likely resemble the team they are now, just with some slight improvements, but, the team they have now can make the World Series, and win it. It’s been proven that you don’t have to be the best overall team to win the pennant.
Why? In Real Estate (especially living in the Bay Area) it’s all about location, location, location. Well it’s the same in baseball, and we have some pitchers who can find that location. Pin point exact that is. Probably the best pitcher in baseball, Tim Lincecum is a freak of nature on the mound and he didn’t earn that nickname (The Freak) because of how intimidating he looks. I mean the kid reminds me of … well … a kid. His game mans up though, and that’s all that matters. The stuff he has is just flat out nasty. NASTY. Last season’s NL Cy Young award winner (perhaps a repeat this year) and this season’s NL All-Star starting pitcher is more than ready to anchor the Giants back into contention, but he has plenty of help. Matt Cain was on the verge of being a legitimate star, but a few minor set backs had his status descending last season. This year, what can I say? Welcome back Matt. He boasts an 11-2 record and was selected to his first All-Star game along with the “Freak” Lincecum, and his return to prominence gives us a Randy Johnson/Curt Schilling one-two combo that can prove to be unmatched come second season time. Speaking of Randy Johnson, we have him as well. He is obviously past his prime, but what he lacks in physical ability, he makes up for with wisdom and experience. You can never underestimate the importance of having a calming presence come crunch time, and Randy Johnson is definitely providing a bit of mentoring to the young Giants pitching staff, and most of it has nothing to do with pitching. Of course this is all pending his return, if he returns. The remaining two pitchers I’ll mention are considered bonus talk. I’m not counting on them to play up to the standards of the above mentioned, but any help they give is a bonus. Barry “The Bust” Zito. My Zito belief is on life support, and how it hasn’t died yet is beyond me. The fact that he continues to sprinkle good outings in the midst of terrible ones has me hanging on a thread. Like Randy Johnson, any good I say about Zito is on a pending status. Unlike Randy, I don’t think he has quite the mentoring effect on the other young pitchers. So, if Barry can show flashes of past brilliance on a consistent basis, then he helps the Giants out tremendously. If not, whatever. Zito is not far removed from his dominant days across the Bay Bridge in Oakland, so why, and how he’s fallen from grace so rapidly is beyond me. How about Jonathan Sanchez? I know he currently sits on what, a 3-8 record? Hardly impressive, but what is, was the no-no he threw earlier this month versus division rival San Diego. It’s easily the biggest story of his young career, but what stands out further in my mind, is the fact that he didn’t quit on himself when he was sent down to the Minors. That’s why I have such strong belief in this guy. That type of grit and determination would fit perfectly as our fourth starter (if Zito is sucking again), or middle releif during the playoffs.
*** While I’m here, I’ll take this moment to congragulate Mark Buhrle of the Chicago White Sox for pitching a perfect game yesterday! What a rare gem. It makes me think … DAMN URIBE! OK, beggers can’t be choosers, and I should just celebrate what Jonathan Sanchez accomplished that night, but I’m not going to lie. As happy as I was for Sanchez and his no-hitter, I was equally upset that he lost a perfect game in a manner that was not his own fault. ***
With everything said, the Giants play in a weak division. Many experts feel that no other division in baseball is worse than the NL West. I don’t agree, but it’s hard to argue against. Outside of the Dodgers, no one else really impresses much. It doesn’t matter, it’s been proven in baseball, in fact, in all sports really, championships are won on defense. Pitching is defense, and with our lineup (some in theory), we’ve got our own version of a Steel Curtain. I call it, the “Seal Curtain.”