Found April 06, 2012 on
Fox Sports Arizona:
PHOENIX (AP) -- The game between the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks has just about everything a season opener needs.
Rivals that expect to contend send a pair of the National League's best pitchers to the mound -- two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum for San Francisco and Ian Kennedy, 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA in a breakout season a year ago, for Arizona.
A capacity crowd at Chase Field will watch Friday evening's nationally televised contest, the opener of a three-game set that Lincecum says is not just any old series.
Arizona clinched the NL West with a victory last Sept. 23 over a San Francisco team that was coming off a World Series championship in 2010. The Giants remember watching that celebration.
"It's one of those things to maybe get some redemption early on if it falls that way, but it's still early on in the season to the point where we're going to run into them a bunch of times," Lincecum said. "It's not do or die but it's something where we want to make a statement."
Lincecum is coming off the first losing season of his major league career at 13-14, but he had a better ERA than Kennedy at 2.74. Against the Diamondbacks, though, the San Francisco ace had big trouble. In four starts against Arizona, he was 0-3 with a 4.32 ERA. Kennedy, on the other hand, was 3-0 with a 1.22 ERA in five starts against San Francisco.
Kennedy is Arizona's season-opening pitcher for the second year in a row and he wants to avoid the game's hype as much as possible.
"Because it's against the Giants, at home, it is going to be a little bit more for our players," Kennedy said. "For myself, I will try to keep it at a minimum. For myself, it is that first inning and trying to get through the first. I like pitching nice and cool and calm."
Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said he expects to limit Kennedy to about 90 pitches.
"I don't want to just go blow it out right now," Gibson said. "It's a long season. Our bullpen will be ready to throw."
San Francisco's expectations are bolstered by the return of catcher Buster Posey, the 2010 NL rookie of the year who was lost for the season last May 25 in a horrific home plate collision with Florida's Scott Cousins.
"You miss all of it," he said. "You miss being on the field, you miss the guys, you miss the crowd. You just miss the game in general. You miss everything about it."
Posey may not be 100 percent recovered from injuries to his left ankle and leg, but said he feels "really, really good."
So do the Diamondbacks, whose worst-to-first run last season earned manager of the year honors for Gibson in his first full season on the job. Now the challenge is to keep up the team's gritty, blue-collar, never-say-die attitude that led to a major-league best 48 come-from-behind wins last season.
"That's what we want to be," he said. "You get pressured. It depends upon how you react to it. That's what it's all about. It will be a great test of character."
Giants manager Bruce Bochy didn't want to make too much of the season-opening series. After all, there are 159 games to follow.
"To start with, it's going to create some interest really for both clubs," he said. "We think we're a better club, an improved club, and they are too. They had a great year last year. We look forward to getting the season going and the fact we're playing them, we know we're going to have to turn it up a notch because that's a very good ball club."
So good that some "experts" are picking Arizona to make it to the World Series.
"I hope they're right, but they don't know what they're talking about," Gibson said. "I mean, I don't know what I'm talking about. Nobody does. I'm here to tell you, think of all the people who make predictions. What percentage of them are right? It's fodder. It's fun.
"We would be lying if we didn't say it was a compliment to us. At the same time, we all understand that we're far from there. It's going to be a long, hard-fought battle."
BEST OF MAXIM
The San Francisco Giants made a bunch of decisions today regarding who will and won’t play on their professional baseball team. The roster moves that are especially interesting regard the Giants’ lineup.
Summary of lineup-related roster news:
Hector Sanchez made the opening day roster over Eli Whiteside and will backup Buster Posey at catcher, which should give Sanchez enough...
The San Francisco Giants have finally committed to Brandon Belt. Now the team has to figure out how to best use him.
After finishing 29th in runs last season, the Giants were in desperate need of some offense. While Belt’s transition to the majors last year wasn’t all that impressive, his .343/.457/.596 line in the minor leagues proved that he’s more than capable of being...
I have to say that for all the complaints we Giants fans may have from time to time, I cannot say that management is incompetent. Cheap? Sometimes. Gunshy of big free agents? Yes. But inept? Absolutely not. With the group that reported to Scottsdale this spring, I really believe the best 24 came back to The City with the team."But Dodgerhater, isn't it a 25 man roster, not...
Tim Lincecum loses to Arizona and Ian Kennedy beats San Francisco.
Those facts persisted through all of last season and carried over to the reigning NL West champion Diamondbacks' 5-4 season-opening victory over the Giants on Friday night.
Chris Young and Paul Goldschmidt hit first-inning home runs, then Ryan Roberts' two-run double broke a sixth-inning tie as Arizona defeated...
Willie Bloomquist, who really shouldn’t even be batting leadoff, hit a single off Tim Lincecum to get things going for the Diamondbacks. The next batter, Chris Young, hit a home run. And that pretty much set the tone for the game; Lincecum gave up a couple bombs in the first inning, and ultimately couldn’t get through six innings. His fastball velocity sat around 90, topping...
Because the Arizona Diamondbacks won the NL West in 2011, the road to the division crown in 2012 technically runs through them. But "technically" is about all the Giants, the D-backs' opponent on Opening Day, will concede.
As they await their season opener Friday at Chase Field, the Giants acknowledge the D-backs' place as NL West favorites by default, but they...
Opening Day is finally here for the Giants and with it the first installment of my attempts to handicap how the series will play out.
Normally for this I have the statistics from the season in progress to go off of when doing this but seeing as the season hasn't started yet, I will use the ZiPS Projections and the Baseball Musings Lineup Analysis tool with lineups...
PHOENIX -- Ian Kennedy knows how difficult it can be to win 20 games, having lived through it last year. So he limits his numerical goals to those more in his control, liking being in good enough condition to make every start and log 200 or more innings.
"It is something you can build off," Kennedy said last week.
The construction begins Friday, when Kennedy...
In 183 at-bats with the Giants last season, the 29-year-old (http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/stewach01.shtml) hit .204/.283/.309 with 3 HR and 10 RBI. He also threw out 39% of runners trying to steal. Cervelli threw out just 14% in each of the last two years.
Episode 72: We Are Young, So Let’s Set the World on Fire is out!
In the seventy-second episode, Thomas and Danny recap the final roster decisions and the new youth movement for the Giants, guess about Panda’s catching future, Nate’s lack of playing time and the Opening Day Second Baseman.
Click on the image below to find it on iTunes:
You can also find it on the RSS feed...
It’s about damn time. Why do the Giants have to wait so long to get their opening day? This just means the Giants can’t go wire-to-wire now.
I’m ready. Are you?
Fear the beard!
Not sure why Virgin Airlines would want you to fear traveling on its airplane, but apparently Giants’ closer Brian Wilson was the inspiration for Virgin to paint one of its planes in honor of Wilson and the Giants.
It’s been a long offseason, but the 2012 regular season is finally about to begin. The Giants will play their opener on the road, against Arizona; as of now, Tim Lincecum is set to start against Ian Kennedy. The Opening Day roster decisions will be announced tomorrow, prior to the team’s exhibition game against Oakland. Here’s my stab at what it’ll look like: