Post-Game Recap: The One True Opening Day

Tim Lincecum

photo by Dirk Hansen/Flickr

Oh? That’s it? The game is over? Why didn’t the Giants win? They outhit the Diamondbacks, with eleven hits to the D’backs’ seven. Of course, they also won the errors category, with three. Oh wait. That’s not winning the category. NVM. In the end, the Giants lost their Opening Day* game to the Diamondbacks by a score of 5 to 4. Tim Lincecum takes the loss, giving Ian Kennedy the win.

*the One True Opening Day, despite Bud Selig’s messed up 4 opening day schedule this season

Offensively, the Giants were not terribly offensive. They scored 4 runs, which last season would have made fans far and wide squeal with delight. Unfortunately, the Giants also gave up 5 runs, which doesn’t happen that often. And it certainly doesn’t happen that often when Tim Lincecum is pitching.

Let’s look at Tim’s final line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 1 BB and 7 K on 94 pitches. Tellingly, his fastball topped out at 91. Not very lincecumulent. We’ve seen Lincecum lose velocity on his fastball before, but he usually compensates with control. Not tonight. He only threw 54% of his 4-seam fastballs for strikes, and 57% of his 2-seamers for strikes (is it too early to panic? is it ever too early to panic?). Of course, it didn’t help when usually sure-handed defenders weren’t. Brandon Crawford booted a grounder; Buster Posey couldn’t scoop up a bunt in time to throw it to first; and Pablo Sandoval muffed a throw. And yet Lincecum still managed to rip of 5 Ks in a row at one point. Because he can.

On the plus side, the new guys on the team started off the season nicely. Angel Pagan contributed with a double in the 5th inning, while Melky Cabrera tossed in a double and a HR. Grego Blanco singled when he came in to pinch hit for the pitcher’s spot. Clay Hensley pitched 2/3 of a hitless inning in the 8th, striking out two.

Buster Posey matched Cabrera’s two hits, also drawing a walk for a very respectable return from his horrific injury. Pablo Sandoval was swinging at just about everything, and connected twice for a very pabloesque night at the plate. In fact, every position player in the starting line-up got at least one hit, except for Crawford.

Aubrey Huff had a tough night. He left 5 men on base, and although he managed a hit, he looked terribly off-balance at the plate. He was flailing at pitches all over the place, with no apparent regard to mechanics. To wit:

Yikes.

Bottom line: the Giants lost today. They made a few uncharacteristic errors. But they got in 11 hits and 4 runs. Posey is back. Belt was the starting 1B. Cabrera hit a homerun. The bullpen pitched 2 2/3 shutout innings, allowing just one hit. In general, I still have that wonderful sense of new season optimism. I like the new guys. I like the old guys. Mostly, I’m just glad to be watching actual baseball again. I can’t wait to watch the next 161 games (and perhaps even more after that).

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