With 11 games already in the books of their 2011 Cactus League schedule the San Francisco Giants have had success at the plate, on the mound, and in the field. And as Spring Training goes along, the G-Men are looking to gear up for back-to-back World Series titles for the first time since the New York Yankees in 1999 & 2000. To do so, the Giants will have to get the most out of their Spring Training in all aspects of the game.
With a record of 8-3 so far the Giants have obviously been playing winning baseball. They have scored more than five runs in 7 of their 11 games thus far and have given up more than five in only four. The offense has been led by guys like reigning Rookie o the Year Buster Posey, batting .643 (9-14) with three double, two home runs, and seven RBIs, Mark Derosa batting .500 (8-16) with a homer and 6 RBIs, and Pablo Sandoval batting .333 (8-24) with two doubles, two homers, and 7 RBI. Minor league phenom Brandon Belt is also hitting very well, batting .318 (7-22) with two doubles, a homer, and 6 RBIs. Really good to see Pablo and DeRosa swinging the lumber, they are guys the Giants are going to need to produce runs for their talented pitching staff.
Speaking of the pitching staff, the Giants' staff has been doing very well also. The stats for pitchers aren't really too important in spring training; coaches usually are looking to get their pitchers' arms ready for the season and throw as many strikes as possible. Two time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum has recorded one win in his three starts thus far and has given up eight hits, three earned runs, three walks, and 10 strikeouts in 8 and 1/3 innigns of work. The three walks and 10 K's are a good sign for Timmy, it shows that he has his command early in the preseason, which will hopefully roll over to the regular season. But the true story of the pitching staff in spring training is two guys trying to make the squad in veterans Ryan Vogelsong and Jeff Suppan. Both are sporting 0.00 ERAs and have showed a lot of promise,and both have won the games they have started. Suppan hasn't walked a batter yet in his 6 innings of work, a very good sign for him to make the regular season roster.
As for in the field their are some interesting moves that skipper Bruce Bochy is going to have to decide on before the regular season. Mark DeRosa is probably the hardest player to place as he can play third base, shortstop, second base, or left field on any given night. His breadth with his glove will likely have him as the utility guy for San Francisco. Pat Burrell, Cody Ross and Andres Torres are widely recognized to be the outfielders for the Giants, but with Aaron Rowand, Mark DeRosa, Travis Ishikawa, and Nate Schierholtz there's always competition. And if Brandon Belt can make the squad, he will have to fit in somewhere, likely splitting time with Aubrey Huff at first or in the outfield.
We all know that Spring Training is the time to shake out the cobwebs and prepare your body for the grind of the season. However, the Giants had the best record in the Cactus League last year, and look where that got us. Hopefully another strong preseason will equal another awesome regular season.