Greek Giant

Record-Breaking Long Balls

The Giants appear to be an all-or-nothing team offensively. After getting mostly shut down by Dylan Cease in the second game of the series the boys from San Francisco trounced the White Sox 16-6 yesterday, hitting five more home runs, one a grand slam by J. D. Davis, in the process.

With their grand total of 15 homers through six games the Giants not only lead the Major Leagues but broke a franchise record.

One thing’s for sure: This Giants team feasts on mediocre pitching and has its problems with quality starters. It’s only six games and the funny thing about breaking a franchise record is that the Giants emerged from this opening road trip with a 3-3 record (14 homers in three wins, one homer in the three losses). The Giants would launch 13 dingers in the Chicago series.

Yesterday it was Michael Conforto’s clutch three-run blast in the bottom of the first with two outs and facing a 1-2 count that got the party started. That bomb came off Lance Lynn, who was throwing 91 MPH puffballs down the middle of the plate all game and paid the price for it.

Yaz hit a bomb and is officially on fire as a hitter after a very Spring so cold you could ice skate on it. Blake Sabol hit his first Major League homer, a very long drive to the bushes beyond the center field wall, and received the requisite condiment/shaving cream/mouthwash shower in the clubhouse to celebrate.

One of the bigger hits in the game was Joc Pederson’s two-run single with two outs and the bases loaded and the score 4-2. The game was in doubt at that point and Pederson had a long and heroic at bat to give the Giants desperately-needed insurance runs.

Wilmer Flores also hit his first homer of the season, a rocket on a 96 MPH fastball on the outside part of the plate. It was some sensational hitting.

Alex Wood’s Debut Is a Short One

Alex Wood’s first start of the season did not last long, only three innings as he surrendered three runs (two of them unearned) on six hits. He was removed after 71 pitches in a move of aggressive managing by Gabe Kapler that I approve of. It was clear that the Pale Hose were not impressed by Wood’s offerings on this day, as the lefty retired only nine of the eighteen White Sox he faced.

Kapler’s Pitching Decisions REDUX

One of Gabe Kapler’s pitching decisions in yesterday’s rousing victory made no sense to me, and to most of the TWG commentariat. That was the choice to have Mat Beaty pitch the ninth inning. Never mind the stupid of risking a injury to a player who is not a pitcher. That’s bad enough. But pitchers like the Rogers twins and Camilo Doval, who have only seen one appearance so far through six games, could have benefitted from some more work and more familiarity pitching with the new clock. Come on Gabe! Do better. There is no analytics edge to saving your bullpen for one inning in the sixth game of the season. It’s just wrong to use a position player to pitch in this situation.

The Injuries to Slater and Haniger Could Be a Problem

Mitch Haniger, that big time free agent acquisition that was supposed to make Giants forget about Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa, has yet to play in a game in a Giants uniform because that “little tweak in his oblique” that was supposed to keep him out of action for a day or two during Spring Training has evolved into a back problem. This has been the knock on Haniger in his Seattle career: he spends more time on the Injured List than on the diamond. So far the Giants tenure is not going well.

Austin Slater is still out and this makes the Giants vulnerable to left-handed starting pitching, which they will see plenty of in the coming Kansas City and Dodger series at home.

The Home Opener

The Giants open their home season at Willie Mays Field today with an afternoon contest against the Kansas City Royals, a team in perpetual rebuild since their 2015 World Series championship. The starters are listed as Alex Cobb against Brad Keller of the Royals. Game time is 1:35 PM.