Baseball is back!
The San Francisco Giants had a successful Opening Day with a 6-5 win in extra innings over the Miami Marlins. Logan Webb pitched a commanding six innings of one-run ball and has stepped up as the team’s ace.
While the bullpen got off to a shaky start, Austin Slater’s heroics gave the Giants an Opening Day win at home for the first time since 2009.
Earlier today, the Giants big free agency splash Carlos Rodón (2 years/$55 million) made his debut for the orange and black. And what a debut it was. Rodón struck out 12 in first five innings only giving up one earned run. That’s the most by a Giants pitcher through five innings since 1974.
What’s going to be exciting in 2022 for the team by the Bay is their starting rotation having a pair of aces manager Gabe Kapler will be able to count on to lead his team. It’s a 1-2 punch that they haven’t had since in over a decade with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. I can go back even further to 1993 when they had John Burkett and Billy Swift.
“It’s as good as a Giants debut that any one of us could have hoped for,” said Kapler. “It gives us a lot of confidence that our starting rotation…if that’s the Webby (Webb) we get, if that’s the Carlos (Rodón) we get, and obviously we have a lot of faith in the next three guys in the rotation. It’s pretty promising.”
Despite the team winning a franchise record 107 games last year in 2021, it was a tale of two halves for San Francisco when it came to their rotation. Kevin Gausman was the ace in the first half of the season and then Webb emerged as the team’s number one late in the second half.
The great news is the both guys can just think about pitching in 2022 as the National League finally adopted the designated hitter. As weird as it’s going to see this year, not having the pitcher bat, it is what it is as the game tries to appeal to a younger audience.
That is another conversation for another time.
What’s important to know about 2022 is that this one of the best starting rotations the Giants have had since their World Series teams in the early 2010s.
The back end of the rotation that consists of Anthony DeSclafani, Alex Wood and Alex Cobb gives the Giants a solid starting five that Farhan Zaidi has assembled in being able to compete with the Los Angeles Dodgers for NL West supremacy.
Rodón said he appreciated Oracle Park’s passionate fans embracing from his first pitch to his last one he threw to end the top of the fifth.
“It was incredible. It was loud, I got amped up in the fifth (inning) there. That last out with guys on second and first. The crowd has a lot to do with it when they’re making noise like that. It’s nice to have that, especially during the regular season,” Rodón said.
The Giants added Joc Peterson for left-handed punch in the outfield and Darin Ruff already looks comfortable in his role as the DH. So, the Giants, which set a franchise record for home runs last season, will be able to put up some crooked numbers on the scoreboard this year despite the lack of offense in game two.
I’m not going to have any bold predictions and say this team will repeat last year’s win total, surpass it or even come close to it. Too many variables can happen in a 162-game season and every team gets the injury bug at some point during the season. While two games is way too small of a sample size to judge how successful the Giants will be in 2022, it is a nice glimpse in what fans can expect to see when they come to ballpark or watch them on their favorite device.
“I think I don’t have to tell our fans anything. Our fans are excited at what the saw (over this past two starts) with Webb and Rodón. I don’t want to put words in anybody’s mouth or feel for anybody else but it’s hard not to watch Webb go out and perform the way he did yesterday and the way Carlos (Rodón) performed the way he did today and not be totally enthusiastic the next time they make starts,” Kapler said.
As they say in poker, two aces are a great hand to play.
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Reliever Dominic Leone after the Giants 9-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 of the NLDS on October 9, 2021.
Third Baseman Kris Bryant sat down with the media before Sunday's game to discuss what it feels like to be traded to San Francisco.
Manager Bruce Bochy after the Giants 9-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 29, 2019. This was his final game as Giants manager.