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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao brings some punch to the Giants

The San Francisco Giants have finally brought some much needed punch to the festivities at AT&T Park.

After scoring only four runs in the first three games of this home stand, the Giants have ventured out side of the baseball world and now have the reigning WBC Lightweight champion on their side.

Unfortunately he's just throwing out the first pitch Tuesday night. Something that the Giants have the horses already in place to do. And while Pacquiao won't be able to match the two other men on the mound Tuesday, Matt Cain and Jake Peavy, he will be warmly and unanimously welcomed by the crowd celebrating Filipino Heritage Night.

I imagine this is a role better suited for him. I don't think "Pacman" could hit big league pitching, but I thought the intimidation factor he would bring to the lineup could have impressive consequences.

Really there isn't much more to discuss regarding Pacman other then I wouln't mind having one of those bobble head dolls, so if you get your hands on one let me know.

As for the Giants, this past series with the D-backs did a bit to calm the worries about the starting pitching. Jonathan Sanchez, Tim Lincecum, and Randy Johnson each turned in outstanding starts blanking Arizona in every inning pitched by the trio.

On the other hand the offense continues to scare nobody save for Manager Bruce Bochy and GM Brian Sabean. The Giants are 25th in the majors with a team average of .235, 29th in runs (37, Astros are last with 36), 29th in homers (6, A's last with 3), and 30th in RBI's. In fact the Giants don't rank higher than 25th in any category with the exception of triples (10th) and stolen bases (13th).

Most troubling perhaps is the embarrassing ratio of strikeouts to walks. Giants batters have struck out 103 times in twelve games (more than 8.5 a game), and have only drawn 28 walks(2.3 a game). For comparisons sake the first place, ten and three Dodgers have drawn the same number of walks with only four of their players; Manny Ramirez (14), Orlando Hudson (8), Rafael Furcal (4), and their opening day starter, Chad Billingsley (2).

Carney Lansford has to officially be disgusted by his team, especially considering the type of hitter he was.

It is probably to soon to classify the pitching as "out of the woods" just yet. The past three starts by no means erase this rugged beginning to the season, but It was great to see Lincecum back to his dominant self and both Sanchez and Johnson rebound last weekend. Matt Cain continues to be his usual self in his first two starts, with the exception of one thing: he's already got a win under his belt. Cain's win against Milwaukee marked the first time in his career that he won his first decision of a season. Shows what a little run support will do.

So let's assume things with the rotation will continue to iron themselves out, and that the bullpen will improve once roles are solidified and Sergio Romo returns. Now we can turn our attention to the offense. The offensive struggles that the Giants have exhibited thus far don't come as a surprise, not at all. With very little imagination this is what should have been expected from this group of players.

In an absolute best case scenario Travis Ishikawa, Pablo Sandoval and Emmanuel Burriss experience no growing pains. Edgar Renteria and Aaron Rowand find the fountain of youth and look like the players they were in 2007. And Bengie Molina and Randy Winn aren't the team's best players, but they are, and the former items aren't.

Like Warrior fans found out this year, if Stephen Jackson is the third best player on a team, then that's a pretty good team. If he's the best player on a team, ugh. The same is true for Winn or Molina. You're not a very good team if either of those two guys are the cream of your crop. Now it's up to Bochy to not "Nelly" things up and keep the young guys out there. It will be ugly at times, but this season needs to serve a purpose beyond getting a manger's contract extended.


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