For baseball fans, this is the best season of the year. Spring is right around the corner, teams are warming up in spring training, and Opening Day is less than a month away. I’m sitting at my computer watching the Giants and Rangers’ first game since the Series, and remembering how fun these teams are to watch. Do the Giants have a chance of repeating this year? It’s the question on everyone’s mind and still way too early to tell, but they’re definitely looking good.
Here’s what’s been going on in the first week or so of spring training games in Scottsdale, Arizona. This is San Francisco’s 12th game of the year, and they’re hoping to come out of it with a 9-3 record.
The good… With eight wins, five of them at home in Scottsdale Stadium, the Giants are definitely making their opponents work hard. Of course, pitching is always a key strength for San Francisco, but it’s nice to see the bats warming up, too. Seven of their eight wins were high scoring, with the Giants collecting five or more runs per game. Posey is leading the team with 6 runs and 7 RBIs in his 6 games, and Torres is close behind with 5 runs in 4 games, likely to pull out a few more tonight.
Shortstop Miguel Tejada is also proving his worth in the Giants camp, especially after he popped out a nice triple on Sunday afternoon, giving San Francisco a 3-run padding against the M’s.
The bad… Of the three losses the Giants have faced last week, only one was exceptionally painful, a 6-0 shutout by Oakland. As far as the A’s are concerned, it seems like what goes around comes around–the Giants beat the Mariners yesterday, 6-1, and the M’s did the same thing to Oakland this afternoon, with a 6-3 win. Like any loss in spring training, it’s a good chance to spot some possible inconsistencies in the team (4 errors in 7 innings) or simply dismiss it as a fluke.
Aside from the W-L record, injuries are also plaguing the team. Torres has a pulled muscle in his left side and is still unable to bat right-handed. Freddy Sanchez is working hard to get back to playing form after shoulder surgery. Brian Wilson’s stiff back kept him off the mound until Sunday. Still, Bochy is making sure everyone gets out there and shows their stuff, and even with a little stiffness and strained muscles, Torres and Sanchez and Wilson are all pulling their weight so far.
The ugly… Have you seen Brian Wilson’s beard? If you thought “Fear the Beard” was an anthem of days gone by, think again. The beard has had no relief in this offseason, and looks shaggier than ever. I’m just wondering if the furry menace that is Brian Wilson will be quite as imposing if he allows his locks to grow much longer.
Tomorrow we’ll check in with the M’s as they prepare to face the Giants for the last time this pre-season. Only 24 days left until Opening Day!