Warning: Theriot's nascent mustache may contain side effects, such as creepy grins, awkward hugs, and a desire to buy an old van with curtains over the back windows.
All I wanted from the offseason was an average offense. I knew that the middle infield was going to struggle offensively, but with Posey back, and Cabrera and Pagan possibly helping out, I had secret, shameful hopes of a completely ordinary lineup. And check this out:
The players who were supposed to stink are stinking. But the rest of the lineup has been quite okay. Maybe not at the same time -- let's not just ignore the horrible slump from Nate Schierholtz -- but look at those above-average hitters. Six of them! Out of eight! It all adds up to a team OPS+ of 98. Well, alright. Average, baby.
But I didn't just throw a penny into the bottom of a mall fountain and make one wish. The hopes for an average offense were tethered to the hopes for continued pitching brilliance. And check this out:
I pretend that the Zito numbers and Lincecum numbers are switched. Helps with the dizziness and memory loss. Look at that, though: four of the five Giants starters have an ERA under 3.00. Combined with the perfectly acceptable offense up there, I would have guessed that the Giants were 20-10 through their first 30 games if I had seen these stats before the season started.
The hopes came true. Just in a damned monkey-paw way.
My point is this: I'm a little disappointed that the Giants are just .500. I'm still extremely disappointed that the Giants didn't address the shortstop position in the offseason. I'm livid that Carlos Beltran is going bonkers for the Cardinals on a short-term deal. I'm disgusted at Pablo Sandoval's traitorous hamate bones. But I'm not that down on the Giants.
My worries before the season, in relative order:
1. How will Buster Posey look at the plate and in the field?
2. Will the middle infield be a total offensive sinkhole?
3. What if Melky Cabrera was a complete and total fluke?
4. Will Brandon Belt get playing time?
5. Zito can't be that awful, right?
And of the five, only #2 is still as big of a worry as before. Now there are new worries -- Lincecum, Sandoval's injury, Brian Wilson, Hector Sanchez against lefties, the defense, hitting with runners in scoring position -- so it's not like everything's coming up Milhouse. But somehow the newer worries seem ... I don't know ... more manageable. And the old worries aren't as scary.
Except for the middle infield one. Maybe Joaquin Arias is the answer, but only if your question is "Hey, I'm writing a limerick. What rhymes with 'sparkling jelly ass?'" But I'm still pretty danged concerned about the lack of production at second and short, especially now that they can't field there, either. If there's any consolation, it's that the Giants are probably pretty concerned too. I also figure that a pitcher'll meet a pitcher coming through the rye, and that Zito and Lincecum will pass each other on the suck escalator soon.
But the Giants haven't had a bad start to the year. They've just had a really weird start to the year. The problems they have aren't ones I was expecting, and they're ones that might be fixable. Somewhat. Health issues aside, this isn't a bad way to be .500.
Now let's all sit back and wait for the 10-game losing streak because I deigned to express optimism.