I’m going to make a prediction here: the Giants will not go 0-162.
I know, I know. That’s a bold claim to make, but I’m going to stick with it. I just have a good feeling about this team.
So last night was the Giants 2011 opener, and it didn’t go so well. That’s an understatement, actually: it sucked. It sucked hard. Too many defensive mistakes, not enough hitting, and some questionable decisions all contributed to a 2-1 loss to the hated Dodgers.
Today’s a new day though, and the Giants have a chance to bounce back. Until then, here are a few thoughts on last night’s game:
- Buster Posey had a rough game behind the plate. Besides the passed ball, Posey made the ill-advised throw to third to try and pick off Matt Kemp, which sailed into left and gave the Dodgers their first run. The Dodgers stole a base off of him in the 8th, but it wasn’t Posey’s fault: Santiago Casilla seemed to completely forget a runner was on and didn’t pay any attention to him. Chalk Posey’s defensive performance up to Opening Day jitters- he’ll be fine.
- Posey’s struggles weren’t the only defensive problems the Giants had last night. Miguel Tejada made an errant throw on a force play at second, Pablo Sandoval called for Posey’s throw to third, Pat Burrell misplayed a ball in left that allowed the batter to take second, Fred Lewis dropped a routine fly… wait, that last one didn’t happen. Sorry, I immediately mention Lewis whenever I talk about the Giants struggling defensively. It’s a reflex action.
The Giants’ defense was a concern for many people coming into this season, and last night did nothing to quell their fears. Just like last year, they can’t afford to give away runs; they simply don’t have the offense to overcome that.
- Brandon Belt may have had a relatively quiet stat line, but he looked like a Major Leaguer at the plate and in the field. He made a few nice defensive plays at first, and held his own against Clayton Kershaw. His final at bat against Jonathan Broxton was a good battle, too. Belt didn’t look overmatched in any at bat, showed a good eye at the plate, and managed to work the count every time. All good signs.
- One thing I didn’t understand: after Mark DeRosa walked to lead off the eighth and Nate Schierholtz pinch ran for him, the Giants didn’t have Andres Torres sacrifice to get Schierholtz into scoring position. Considering that a) the Giants were down by a run at the time, and b) Torres is a terrible right handed hitter, it would’ve made sense to try and get the runner to second. In fact, I don’t understand why Schierholtz was running for DeRosa at all unless the plan was to get him into scoring position. Torres ended up having a long at bat, but ultimately had an unproductive one. Schierholtz stayed at first, and the Giants didn’t score in the inning.
- Tim Lincecum deserved a better fate. He locked in after a few stressful innings early on, and looked every bit as good as he did in last year’s playoffs. He looks poised to have a big year.
- Pat Burrell can still hit righties.
All in all, a disappointing way to start a World Series title defense. It’s one thing if the Giants get outplayed, but to hand the game over because of mistakes is tough to take. Good news, though: it’s a 162 game season and there’s another game tonight. The Giants will be fine.
- Few things: I’m writing for the Davis Sports Deli website, which is run by my old Fanball colleague Aaron Fischman. Every week I’ll take on a Dodgers writer head-to-head in the appropriately titled “California Hatin’” blog. Check out the first entry here.
- Spring Training may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning for next year. My friends over at Stadium Journey have an excellent overview of the Giants’ spring home, Scottsdale Stadium. Be sure to check it out here.