Another day, another same ol' Giants team that can't get things done, to kick off another doomed season filled with disappointment and the eternal ire of its fans ... wait, that was just opening day. And the Giants are coming off a World Series win. I think we'll be OK right now, so long as the miscues and wasted opportunities doesn't seek to revive the "torture" moniker within days of the season having started. The fact remains that game one was simply ugly, and there isn't a better word to describe that.
Maybe horrendous, or perhaps even comical. Pat Burrell's bobbling in the outfield could be played on loop to "Yakkety Sax" and it would fit quite well, so comical probably does suffice. The point is that it probably isn't going to be a trend for this team. What remains is the fact that Thursday's opening day game was a game pitched by Tim Lincecum and Clayton Kershaw, and while Lincecum wasn't perfect, that game should have given way to the bullpens at 0-0, if not for the Giants' outfield. When a game is predicated on two pitches aces to get things done, you demand composure and cohesiveness throughout the rest of the roster, and they didn't get that.
Enter Chad Billingsley for the Dodgers, and the Giants have another great pitcher to deal with, playing on a $36M, three-year extension. He went 12-11 with a 3.57 ERA, and is 4-1 with a 1.30 ERA in his last six home outings against the Giants. For San Francisco, it could very well be the same song and dance as game one on their end, where they'll have to play things close and mistake-free, that's the only way they'll get through him to win a close game. If they don't, and they fall back to miscues and things of that nature yet again, it could be disastrous.
Especially with someone like Jonathan Sanchez pitching, who could either shut the Dodgers down entirely (2010) or let them shell him for at least one, maybe two million runs (2009). At one point, he sported an ERA of over 6.0 over the course of five or more games, but his last two outings were wins that he can hang his hat on. He needs to get things started his way and shut the Dodgers down, because Billingsley is more than capable of fanning San Francisco batters left and right. In regards to the title, he's not necessarily looking for consistency; he's looking to set a precedent for consistency, of the good variety.
This game is one that was a toss-up in a series of four that San Francisco was probably supposed to win convincingly. There's just much inconsistency from Sanchez and after game one, potential jitters and miscues from the rest of the lineup, which could be bad. Sanchez will need to control his velocity and limit those long, drawn-out innings that he has to force himself to get out of. The key is not to get himself out of jams, the key is to not get into them in the first place, if he can do that, then the Giants have a chance of winning a 1-0, 2-1 game.
Oh sure, the batters deserve a look or two. Brandon Belt had a good outing in his first major league game, grabbing a couple of hits and working a great at-bat that eventually ended in an out, but he showed a lot of poise out there where the rest of the team did not. Pablo Sandoval did not look very good, he continued to hack and showed a propensity for NOT taking pitches, much like last season. Miguel Tejada was less-than stellar, and from the onset this looks to be a love/hate relationship.