It's Andres Torres in LF today, not Gregor Blanco. I'm not sure either of them can hit Clayton Kershaw, but then again, very few can. He's absolutely owned the Giants (118 IP, 77 H, 21 R, 127 K) in 16 starts yet is "only" 8-4, mostly because his teammates couldn't score enough runs. Of course, the San Francisco pitching staff has been pretty good these last few years. The Giants, collectively, are hitting .185/.237/.257 against the big southpaw, and it would be nice to see that change this season. The Dodgers are on everyone's pre-season pick list with their superstar-laden roster and bloated payroll. The Giants, meanwhile, are merely the defending champs, but that don't count for nothing once they throw the first pitch. I like to think the weight of expectations on the LA squad will take its toll. When daddy buys you the fastest car you should win all the races, right?
The Giants are only carrying four outfielders (Blanco, Torres, Angel Pagan, and Hunter Pence), but one presumes Brandon Belt will get some starts in left. After all, the team is carrying three catchers. Guillermo Quiroz is the backup for Hector Sanchez who is the backup for Buster Posey. Sign a guy for NINE YEARS and a zillion dollars and get him TWO backups? That's a valuable dude. But I defer to Boch & Sabes, they've got their reasons. And it's not like the team is short-handed somewhere. There's that great infield of Belt, Marco Scutaro, Brandon Crawford, and Pablo Sandoval. Joaquin Arias is the veteran utility guy and Nick Noonan is the rookie utility guy. Nice combo, eh? So that's four plus three plus six for 13 spots. That makes for a 12-man pitching staff with Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito, and Ryan Vogelsong doing the heavy lifting. The three lefties in the 'pen (Jose Mijares, Javier Lopez, and Jeremy Affeldt) balance out the three righties (George Kontos, Santiago Casilla, and Sergio Romo), and FNG righty Chad Gaudin gets the "last man" duties.
Last year the Giants opened in Arizona and lost three straight one-run games as Timmy, Maddy, and Matty each gave up two homers in their starts. The season turned out OK anyway. I'll try to remember that when I'm screaming at the TV this afternoon. It's a marathon, not a sprint, right? Still, spoiling the fun for all those fans in Chavez LAtrine would feel pretty good.
GO GIANTS! BEAT LA!