Pigs Airborne and Maintaining Altitude at Coors Field

Like I always say: when the $#&% hits the fan, send in Barry William Zito for a complete game shutout. Seriously, nobody could have forecasted his role as stopper after 14 earned runs in 3 games from Lincecum, Bumgarner & Cain. Zito flat-out shoved. And that’s just what the doctor ordered for the winless San Francisco Giants.

After being swept in Arizona in demoralizing fashion, the blue skies and brisk air of Colorado’s home opener proved welcoming for the orange and black. However, let’s try not to put too much stock in just one measly start in Zito’s illustrious career. It’s just one game. But no matter how you slice it, this was a much needed win and there’s good reason to be optimistic moving forward.

I’m not about to anoint this as Zito’s salvation, but to his credit he was attacking the strike zone and his famed curveball was working early. Any victory the Giants can scrounge with #75 on the mound and #28 on the bench should be considered a huge success. According to CSN’s Andrew Baggarly, Hector Sanchez will be catching all of Zito’s starts this year. Young Hector was swinging the bat with confidence today too, something nice to see from a 22 year-old. This battery might not be too shabby after all.

Not to bring all the Giants fanatics back down to earth, but Zito was 5-2 with a 2.60ERA (30ER, 104IP) and .208 batting average against (77-for-371) in 17 games (15 starts) against the Rockies leading up to this start. Which begs two questions:

1) Does Zito simply own the Rockies?

2) How good are the Rockies really?

Answer: it’s way too early to tell. The Rockies do have a formidable lineup, but Zito dealt against a team that just lost 2 of 3 to the lowly Houston Astros. So let’s collectively cool our jets on just one win. Circling back to the 3-game series against the Arizona DBags DBacks, the Giants got kicked in the groin three different times. I learned several things from the opening series in Phoenix:

1a. Paul Goldschmidt has Timmy’s number.
1b. Therefore, I hate Paul Goldschmidt. Go back to the frat from whence you came.
2. Melky Cabrera’s excellent 2011 season is proving to be more merited than mirage. His .368 OBP is a nice addition to the top of the order.
3. Brandon Belt is pressing. To clear his head, Bochy gave him the day off after his 5 strikeout performance over the weekend. Keep playing him.
4. Every time I see Brett Pill play, I like him more and more. The kid just puts in quality ABs dating back to last season. Might the Giants try the Pill to 2B experiment if Theriot falters..?
5. Panda is in mid-season form. He’s got two laser beam HRs under his belt already.
6. You can’t blow 6-run leads to anyone, especially division contenders. I don’t care what time of year it is, that series will come back to haunt the Giants.

Don’t fret just yet! I can pretty much promise you that the Giants’ version of the Big Three won’t be holding the team back for long. If the offense can maintain this unheralded 5.25 runs per game pace, the Giants will be in great shape. The fact of the matter is that its April. We’re four games into a 162-game season. It’s likely we’re all singing a different tune a month from now; good or bad. Prognosticating baseball in April is foolish. But since you asked, I’ll make some NL West predictions:

1. The Arizona Diamondbacks are for real. I think they win the division for the second consecutive season and give the Giants fits the rest of the way. Ryan Roberts, the mayor of Barstow, will continue to piss me off.
2. The Giants will finish 2nd, make the playoffs and nobody will want to play them. Sound familiar?
3. Today’s complete game shutout will be Zito’s last. Until he shows some consistency, I can only be a skeptic.
4. The Dodgers are a dangerous foe, but their lack of depth holds them back. An injury to Kershaw or Kemp and they are up a creek without a paddle. Enjoy the bronze medal, Tommy Lasorda.
5. The Rockies and Padres bring up the rear, hoping to play .500 baseball. Until the Rockies get rid of their mascot Dinger the Dinosaur, I cannot take them seriously. The Padres’ farm system is loaded.

The Giants’ arrow is pointing up this season. Freddy Sanchez is finally making strides in his rehabilitation as his health is the final fever dream in 2011’s ugly injury cloud that plagues the Giants. Keep in mind that its not only difficult but also irrational to make sense of a 1-3 record. In any event, I like my squad.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Bob Jordan on April 16, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    Good analysis, Sean. Now that the Giants have played nine games, I’m a little disappointed. They should not be 4 and 5. The opening day was awesome. Gaylord has changed so much from the time he helped me build the fence around Rozotties Field in Portola Valley in 1969, I think was. To see Big Mac in a wheelchair breaks my heart. I loved taking your dad and your uncle to games at Candelstick. Your mom was there the day of the 89 quake game with the A’s. Back to this year, I still think the Giants will beat out the D’backs. Maddy just signed a 5 year deal for $35M. You should have been a pitcher. Keep up the good work, Sean. GP


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