Today marks the start of the 2021 MLB season, which means it marks the start of a new year of San Francisco Giants baseball. The Giants have been transparent about their goal of becoming the first team in MLB history to go undefeated or, if failing at that, at least try to finish within 30 games of the two-headed behemoth that is the cream of the NL West’s crop.
Maybe we can find a middle ground in there.
Either way, the season is off and running, and I, for one, am excited and ready.
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Seattle Mariners
Where: T-Mobile Park, Seattle, Washington
When: Thursday (7:10 p.m.), Friday (7:10 p.m.), and Saturday (6:10 p.m.)
National broadcasts: None
Where they stand
San Francisco Giants
Record: 0-0, first in the NL West by a deafening margin
Record: 0-0, last in the AL West by an embarrassing margin
Three Giants to watch
Buster Posey: It’s been 550 days since we last saw Buster Posey play in a baseball game. That’s roughly 549 too many.
Posey is one of the most intriguing players to watch this year. How is his health? Did the year off help him, or is he just a year older?
We’ll all be keeping an eye on that for the next weeks and months, but for today, I don’t care how Posey does. I’m just happy to see him out there.
Brandon Belt: Belt only had 9 plate appearances all Spring Training, after getting a very late start due to foot surgery, a bout of the coronavirus, and a battle with mononucleosis. He seemed destined to start the year on the Injured List — as he did last year — but no. He’s here, and he’ll play.
Belt struggled out of the gates last year while dealing with a foot issue, and hit just .128/.227/.231 through his 14 games. We kind of forgot about that because he hit a staggering .373/.489/.718 the rest of the way out, and still managed to finish fourth in the NL in wRC+.
Hopefully we see that Belt this series.
Logan Webb: Webb was the best Giants pitcher in the spring, by a comfortable margin. His new changeup opened eyes, and his stat line will make you drool: 17 innings, 7 hits, 2 walks, 22 strikeouts, 1 earned run.
After starting camp as a fringe roster player, Webb now opens the year as the team’s third starter. Part of that is due to his performance and the team’s trust in him, but, as Andrew Baggarly notes, part of it is because the Giants want to let him ease into the season against a mediocre Mariners team, rather than throwing him to the wolves against the Padres next week.
Three Mariners to watch
Marco Gonzales: The Giants plan on being a very good offensive team this year, and their first test is the Mariners Opening Day starter. Gonzales is coming off of his best MLB season, when the lefty posted a 3.10 ERA and 3.32 FIP. He did a tremendous job suppressing walks last year (he led the league with 0.9 per nine innings), and we know how much the Giants want to work counts and draw free passes.
Ty France: ZiPS projects France to be the Mariners most valuable player this season after his breakout season in 2020, his second year in the big leagues. He swung a red-hot bat during Spring Training, so the Giants pitchers will want to pay him extra attention.
Kyle Seager: The Giants have had a close look at Seager’s brother Corey for many years now, and while Corey is definitely the better of the two, Kyle is a tremendous baseball player and the name scares me all the same.
Who wins the series?
This poll is closed
Giants win 2-1
Mariners win 2-1