We start a 3 game series against the Giants at Rogers Centre Friday, so I sent off some questions to Grant from McCovey Chronicles SB Nation's great San Francisco Giants' site. I was going to save this for tomorrow, but I've decided to watch Greece and Nigeria play this morning, so I'm too preoccupied to come up with anything else this morning.
The Giants have had a great start to the season. What's going right?
Much to everyone's surprise, the pitching has carried the offense so far, though the offense is picking up just a touch.
Who has been the early MVP? Who has been the biggest surprise.?
Aubrey Huff has been a beast, and considering that I would have been thrilled with the PECOTA projection of 280/.345/.466, he's been a huge, pleasant surprise. But the correct answer is Andres Torres, who is both the best fielding center fielder and best leadoff man in the league right now, despite starting for the first time at age 32. He's been unreal.
Can you give us a quick scouting report on the starting pitchers the Jays will face this series? I'm glad to see we are missing Lincecum.
Lincecum has the highest ERA of the front four, so you might not be that lucky. Barry Zito still throws 85-88, but his curve is top-notch again, and his changeup is improving. He's moved from awful to competent to reliable in his Giants career.
Matt Cain's pitching as well as he ever has. It's easy to remember that he's only 25, and his ceiling could even be higher.
Jonathan Sanchez might be the dirtiest pitcher on the staff when his control is right. His fastball is really, really hard for hitters to pick up, and it plays like a 99-mph fastball even when it's coming in at 91.
Bruce Bochy is in his 4th year as manager there. What are his strengths and weaknesses?
He really manages the pitching staff well. He can overextend the starting pitchers a bit at times, but he does a good job of riding the hot hands in the bullpen. If a young or unproven pitcher starts proving himself, Bochy doesn't hesitate to move that pitcher into high-leverage situations.
He also has no idea what makes up a productive offense. He's in love with small samples, and he uses his eyes to confirm his established biases. A young player in a 3-for 20 slump? Problem with the young player. A veteran in a 3-for-20 slump? Well, a lot of the outs were well struck, so the veteran should turn the corner any day now.
Thanks for Fred Lewis, I don't suppose you could give us Buster Posey too? No? How is Posey doing?
Careful. My site is a magnet for Lewis zealots. Other than respecting his usefulness, I've never been a huge Lewis booster, but I'm glad he's found a home where he's appreciated.
If you guys still had Alex Rios, Sabean would probably consider a Posey-for-Rios swap. Posey is slumping (all the way down to .360), so now's the time to trade him for offense.
AT&T Park looks beautiful on TV. Is it as good a place to watch baseball as it seems?
Yes. An unqualified yes. It would be an amazing park even if the previous park wasn't a sewer, which it was.
Is there anything else us Blue Jay fans should know about the Giants?
We think it's funny that the Blue Jays have become a halfway house for wayward Giants. Brian Bocock, Merkin Valdez, Jeremy Accardo, Fred Lewis...and all we got was this lousy Eugenio Velez!
Thanks for this Grant.