After a 1-3 start and a series loss to the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, it doesn't need to be said that the season didn't begin the way the San Francisco Giants hoped it would, following a 2010 World Series victory. Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez were handed losses despite pitching very well, being let down by errors all over the field - five of them over the first two games, to be exact. Barry Zito is Captain Inconsistency, and his game reflected that, something the Giants were certainly hoping he was over at that point. Good news is the fact that the Matt Cain is Matt Cain, while production came forward from guys on offense like Brandon Belt, Miguel Tejada, Mark DeRosa and even Aaron Rowand. Crazy, right?
You can read about me talking about what went wrong in the first series all day if you'd like, just give me a call, but I think it's probably easier if you just go and read our series recap right here. Now we're looking ahead, onward to the San Diego Padres, winners in two of their first three to start their 2011 campaign.
It's not all set in stone, but it looks like the Giants will send Madison Bumgarner to the mound in game one, while the Padres will send Aaron Harang. Neither has played yet this season, so it will be interesting to see how it goes. Bumgarner finished 2010 in style, making the playoff roster and throwing more pitches than many thought he had the stamina for and helping the Giants claim the aforementioned World Series title. Game two will likely see Tim Lincecum (0-1) return against Tim Stauffer.
Right now, the buzz is that Brian Wilson will look to return on Wednesday, which would line up with the Lincecum-Stauffer matchup, so that's one thing to keep your eyes on. The keys going forward for the Giants are to limit mistakes on defense and get the inconsistency out of the pitching staff. Aubrey Huff in right field will need a long look, as the Dodgers took advantage of him out there, forcing him to (try to) make catches on the run, something he was ... less than satisfactory at doing.
Freddy Sanchez will need to stay hot, Brandon Belt will need to keep things going in his rookie campaign. More than anything, the Giants just need to tighten their overall game, especially heading into a series against the Padres, a team that was a thorn in their side all the way until the final stretch of the 2010 season.