It's so easy to fall into the trap of defining the Giants' season as quickly as possible. The 2009 Giants were the team that squandered a historically great pitching staff. The 2011 Giants were the team that suffered an unbearable injury, made an ill-advised trade, and melted in August. The 2010 and 2012 Giants were the ha ha ha ha what? teams.
And the 2013 Giants were almost certainly going to be the team that couldn't pitch. Or the team that couldn't win on the road. Or the team that couldn't pitch, win on the road, or catch, but they could hit a little, alright. Which made it all the more frustrating.
Hey, I love these labels. Makes it easy to pigeonhole them. I don't have to spend that many thinkcoins on this thing called baseball, and everything's just a little easier for me. Except, maybe it's a little premature to suggest the 2013 Giants are the team that can't pitch. It's sure looked like that at times this year -- they've allowed more runs than the Rockies, which is always a bad sign, regardless of what the Rockies' roster looks like -- but, wait, hear me out.
If Cain is back. And if Bumgarner is good. If Chad Gaudin and/or Ryan Vogelsong can do something close to what they (are doing/have done). And if Zito is Zito.
There are no accounting tricks in that last paragraph. There aren't any bits of speculation that would make you dismiss the idea out of hand. There also aren't any full sentences, but that's my problem. It's a host of reasonable suggestions, even if they're erring on the side of rose-colored glasses. You don't even have to mention Tim Lincecum's xFIP (excellent!) or anything.
Also, Tim Lincecum's xFIP is excellent, and that counts for something in this topsy-turvy world, dang it.
You can dream of stuff like that after a second consecutive solid start from Chad Gaudin. When the Giants signed Gaudin, I was a little too quick to tar him with the great-stuff/awful-results label, apparently. His stuff is still impressive. But he walked too many hitters. I don't know about you, but I've been waiting for the Jonathan Sanchez to start leaking out of Gaudin's pores.
Hasn't happened yet. If it doesn't, the Giants have found a pretty nifty bargain. For the second straight start, you've had to fight the urge to get Gaudin's face tattooed on your calf. Those were exceptionally well-timed performances by the journeyman.
Dunno. Going into a first-place lair and coming out with a series win is a great way to get optimistic. Chad Gaudin, you magnificent bastard.
Speaking of magnificent bastards, Marco Scutaro is apparently the best pure hitter in the major leagues. He's also 80 years old. This is counterintuitive.
As long as we're in the pie-in-the-sky mode and allocating all of the good things in the universe to the Giants, I have this vision of Scutaro's style of hitting -- so quick, so quiet, so direct -- influencing a new generation of hitters. It took him until his mid-30s to figure this out, but maybe he'll stick around the Giants' organization (THEY ARE GIVING AWAY RAIN GLOBES IN HIS HONOR, YOU KNOW) and learn the young fellers something fierce.
It feels like Scutaro has figured out the secret to hitting. Like, the game theory of hitting a baseball. The pitcher has this many options, I have this many options, and I'm going to win enough of the battles to help my team win.
Maybe it's a mirage left over from last year, but I don't think so. I felt like this about Moises Alou, actually, but his body betrayed him. Hopefully, Scutaro is a little more fortunate.
In Scottsdale each of the last two years, I've had different beat writers gush about Juan Perez to me. Maybe "gush" isn't the right word. Strongly intimate that he's capable of helping a major-league team at some point, including the Giants sooner than later. He's a right-handed hitter with speed and power -- a pretty good complement to the Blanco/Torres arrangement the Giants have right now.
Krukow: "They said this kid could go get it, and ..."
That's a great description for a center fielder. I don't know if that's Krukow's or scout-speak, but to say a center fielder can "go get it" is so simple, so descriptive. Now, he has the plate discipline of a drunk Eliezer Alfonzo, so don't get goofy, here. A guy who can do everything well is making $20 million a year. If Perez could do everything well, he wouldn't be available for the Giants at the back of their bench.
But considering what the Giants need, I'm pretty impressed. If you consider Joaquin Arias a part-time-first-baseman-if-needed-maybe, I'll argue for Perez on the roster over Pill.