Are we watching the ascension of Brett Tomko? The FSN gun had him ratcheting up to a suspicious 97 mph, and the location was excellent. His slider is staying low with little sign of fatigue toward the later innings. His fastball isn't deceptive enough to prevent the occasional hard contact, but this extended stretch looks for real. Tomko is going to be rich after this season. Not just rich: Jaret Wright rich.
When Tomko was initially signed by the Giants, it was an understandable move. He was basically the year's supply of Rice-a-Roni given to the loser in the Greg Maddux sweepstakes, and was the least offensive innings-eater left on the market. The rabid fanbase collectively shrugged their shoulders, and went back to their all-too-lurid Vladimir Guerrero dreams. No one ever mentioned his 95 mph fastball and subtle whiff of upside Tomko brought with him. We were treated to stories of how he could draw pictures of pirates and turtles from the backs of matchbooks, but the fastball was rarely mentioned.
He's winging it now, and with the positive developments in the Noah Lowry/Jason Schmidt situations, the rotation looks as if it could finally be the team strength hoped for in the offseason.
- Another San Jose game, another dominant start for Matt Kinney. There have been questions around here about what Kinney is doing in the low minors with few answers. Maybe -- and shoot me down if I'm way off here -- the Giants are jimmying with Kinney's mechanics or arsenal of pitches, and want him to do it at a level where his good fastball can help him maintain his confidence. Maybe. Kinney was once a top prospect, and still has the crisp arm. He was one of the better minor-league free agent gambles taken by the Giants this past offseason, very much in the spirit of the Tyler Walker acquisition.
- It is a bit of a buzzkill, but the reliance of the Giants on decent-or-worse prospects like Lance Niekro, Jason Ellison, and Brad Hennessey is starting to be a little reminiscent of the 2003 Diamondbacks, who took unexpected performances from Matt Kata, Robbie Hammock, Oscar Villarreal, Brandon Webb and Alex Cintron and turned it into a fair record. The comparison isn't perfect, but the veteran mixture of both teams lends some support to the idea.