Disaster Amnesiac is not the biggest fan of Gary Radnich, who does mornings on the SF Giants flagship AM station, KNBR, but one of his lines has resonated with me for years. It's been a while since I heard him enunciate it, so paraphrasing is in order: baseball is like a friend that you hang out with for several months, providing intrigue, interest, and some form of companionship over that long stretch of time.
So far, the Giants 2014 has been surprisingly stellar. The team is not scheduled to play today, May 1st, but they are starting the month off in first place, 1.5 games up on the heavily favored LA Dodgers. It's a long season, and who knows if this will last, but Disaster Amnesiac really wants to chime in on what I've seen so far from the Orange and Black.
Pitching: So far, the Tim Hudson pickup has looked like a pretty genius move. He's been downright competitive in every start, eating up innings with his mature, crafty style. We'll see how far into the summer he can go, but, his wounds from last year seem to be a non-issue. As for the rest of the rotation, Bumgarner and Cain are their usual winning selves, even if the latter has been somewhat shaky at times. I'm sure Matt will get his rhythm going nicely. Lincecum and Vogelsong remain, just as it was last season, wild cards, and Giants fans will never be sure what they're going to get out of them, performance-wise. Games that they have started have been nail biters, if not outright massacres. It seems likely that we'll have to resign ourselves to absolute uncertainty with Timmy and Ryan on the mound. The bullpen has been outstanding: Sergio Romo has all but erased the hurts of Brian Wilson's departure. When the Banda music plays at AT&T during the top of late innings, Giants fans certainly feel alright.
Batting: Disaster Amnesiac has to say: THANK HEAVEN FOR MIKE MORSE! The Giants, after years in the wilderness in the power hitting department, finally have a guy who can hit for both power and average. It's also thrilling to have Angel Pagan back. His lead off prowess has been breath taking. Brandon Belt has gotten off to a great start, too, even though he's streaky. Buster Posey seems to be getting his batting chops to work, also, which is really no surprise. As for Pablo Sandoval, I can't figure out if he's slow to warm up, or if the NL just has THE BOOK on his proclivities in a definitive way now. Giants fans seem frustrated with him, now more than ever. What will Brian Sabean do with him? Lower in the order, Brandon Hicks and Hector Sanchez have come up big more than a few times, and Brandon Crawford is finely consistent. It feels safe to say that the Giants have real hitting in 2014!
Fielding: Errors have dogged the G-men somewhat so far, especially in San Diego. That said, the Hicks/Crawford tandem seems to be working really well generally. Posey is still masterful at stopping steals of second base; if only Hector Sanchez could learn a bit more from him! The rest of the infield is doing OK, even with Sandoval's inconsistencies. Morse's fielding is not great, but Bruce Bochy has been making astute moves when subbing for him in later innings.
Managing: It appears as though Bochy is pretty well pleased with his 2014 crop of Giants. Disaster Amnesiac can't help but wonder if he wants to bench Sandoval outright, and, at this point, give Yosmeiro Petit a guaranteed spot in the starting pitching rotation. He's known as a players' manager, but he's also dedicated to winning. It will be interesting to see what kinds of moves he makes within those two situations.
As the season moves into May, the Giants have to run a real gauntlet: the Braves, Pirates, and Dodgers will all play host. Every one of those teams could easily win these series or worse. That said, it's clear that the Giants are not to be taken lightly, even on the road. Hopefully Disaster Amnesiac's May roundup will not have me lamenting early May as a cataclysm for the Orange and Black. I want to hang out with them deeper into the summer, after all.