Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Fast Start

The Houston Astros remind me of the 2005-2007-era Giants. They're a franchise that has delusions of contention when it's clear to anyone with half of a working frontal lobe that they should be rebuilding. They have a couple of stars, but are hamstrung by a horrid farm system and their GM's bizarre middle reliever fetish. They have stocked their team with veteran retread free agents over the past couple of years in a vain attempt to win the NL Central, all the while spiraling down the path toward the inevitable nuclear option. Sounds all too familiar, right?

It comes as no surprise that the Giants won the opening series against Houston. They are the better team right, flaws and all? What was surprising that the Giants totally beat their brains out. I mean, forget the pitching. We pretty much expected Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito, and Matt Cain to carve up the crummy Houston lineup like an undead fiend in a shitty horror franchise reboot.

What was shocking was how effortlessly the offense racked up runs. The team was patient, they bunched hits together, they hit for power. It was sheer beauty, and it's not as if they were beating up on a bunch of low-end rotation nobodies; the only subpar starter they faced was wife-beating drunk Brett Myers. Suddenly, out of nowhere, there's a glimmer of hope that the Giants' offensive attack won't just consist of Pablo Sandoval trying to out-wacky the nine guys on the other side of the diamond. Maybe Hensley Meulens is a genius. Or maybe the Astros just stink.

-The shocker of the preseason was John Bowker, who rode a piping hot spring into a gig as the Giants' starting right fielder. Bowker gets minus points for being a Rio Americano alum (assholes had to use my high school's football field because they didn't have their own), but he has legitimate power, something the Giants desperately need. He still has a gigantic weakness for breaking balls in the dirt, and his defense was last described as undescribably bad, so skepticism is rampant, but I'm going to be an optimist and hope his success can be sustained.

Bonus Bowker points for this nugget of a story. I was watching a Giants game at the bar at a restaurant near my house last season when I mentioned something in passing about Bowker's local Sacramento roots. One of the bar waitresses overheard me and told me that her sister had dated Bowker in high school. This isn't particularly interesting, but suffice it to say, if the sister is anything as hot as this waitress was...more power to you, Bowk.

-Edgar Renteria had a game for the ages yesterday, going 5-5 with a walk. All spring we heard about how his elbow is feeling so much better after he had bone chips removed and now he can pull a baseball again. His swing does look much better, thank goodness, and Renteria is now the favorite in the race for the "Barry Zito Please God Can We Salvage Some Value From This Awful Contract" Award.

-I literally wasted my entire month of February hooked on the HBO show The Wire (and I'm preparing myself to be similarly obsessed with David Simon's new series, Treme), so it pleases me to no end to see this thread devolve into a discussion of that series, after Jeff Passan uses a terrible analogy equating Bodie Broadus's inner turmoil to that of a small market franchise in baseball. (If you haven't seen the whole series, though, don't read. Major spoilers.)

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