Originally posted on 22gigantes  |  Last updated 3/6/12

Jonathan who?

New acquisition Melky Cabrera is out to prove 2011 was no fluke. The 27-year-old outfielder quieted his critics when he smacked a towering leadoff home run in the first inning batting right and blasted another solo job in the sixth from the left side of the plate to help the San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 today at Camelback Ranch in Glendale. [box score] [video highlights]

Left-hander Barry Zito, slated to be the Giants’ fifth starter this year, didn’t look all that bad in his Cactus League debut. He tossed 35 pitches in his two-plus innings of work and struck out two of the first three batters he faced. Zito was hitting his spots in the strike zone (28 of his 35 pitches were strikes), even if his fastball was clocking in at a mild 82-83 mph. All told, Zeets allowed four hits and walked one. The Dodgers (1-1) got to him in the second inning on a home run by Andre Ethier and an RBI grounder by Jerry Sands.

But the story of the game was the Giants’ offense. San Francisco (2-2-1) pounded out 16 hits on the day, six in the first two innings alone against Dodgers starter Ted Lilly.

I’m no Paul DePodesta, but I’m fairly certain if you spot the Giants eight runs a game, they’ll probably be poised for another postseason run.

And Cabrera could be the (Melk) Man to get them back there.

The switch hitter, who was acquired by the Giants in a trade that sent Jonathan Sanchez to the Kansas City Royals in November, batted .305 with 18 HR and 87 RBI last season.

Many so-called “experts” (i.e., pimple-faced sabermetricians) said Cabrera’s 2011 season was an anomaly and that there’s no way he’ll put up those kinds of numbers again.

I say, “Suck it nerds!”

Those of us who actually watch the game know that what happens on paper is not always the same as what happens on the diamond.

Case in point? First baseman Brett Pill—another Giants player who supposedly had a fluke season (albeit brief) last year. But Pill also went deep today, hitting a two-run shot off Lilly after Emmanuel Burriss roped the first of two doubles this afternoon.

By the third inning, the Giants had collected eight hits. Basically, they smacked the Dodgers around like a red-headed saber-nerd who accidentally wandered into his high school football locker room.

Pardon me, but has Brian Sabean engineered another World Series team?

I know, I know. “Small sample size” yada, yada, yada…

Yes, it’ spring training. And, yes, Ted Lilly sucks. But let me break it down for you: The Giants now have two more bona fide run producers in Cabrera and Angel Pagan, both of whom I think have exactly what it takes to keep the Giants out of double play grounders, which in turn keeps innings lasting longer. They can also both bunt for a hit and steal a base.

See, you don’t always have to do it with the long ball (even though San Francisco blasted three of them today). The speed that Pagan and Cabrera bring should satisfy the 2011 Giants’ biggest weakness: scoring runs.

Burriss (who made an awesome defensive play in left field in the fourth inning) and Nate Schierholtz (who went 1-for-2 with a double and a stolen base) also have great speed. (Burriss, by the way, is my sleeper to nab the last utility spot on the Giants’ 25-man roster. He’s going to be an important cog in manager Bruce Bochy’s wheel of torture this season.)

Throw in a healthy Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez, a lean-mean-Pilates-machine named Aubrey Huff, and a budding, MVP candidate in Pablo Sandoval to support the Giants’ outstanding pitching, and you can see why I’m pretty optimistic about the 2012 season.

Top hitter: Cabrera (2-for-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI)
Top pitcher: Edlefsen (1.1 IP, 0 H, 1 K, 1 BB)
Key moment: Cabrera’s leadoff homer in the first inning, which sparked an offensive outburst by the Giants.

The Giants will host the Rockies tomorrow afternoon (12:05 p.m. PT) at Scottsdale Stadium. Tim Lincecum (0-0) goes up against Jeremy Guthrie, who will make his Cactus League debut. The game will be carried by the MLB Network.

NOTES: Cabrera is 5-for-9 (.556) with 2 HR, 2 doubles, and 3 RBI this spring … Hector Sanchez went 0-for-4. He came into the game batting .800 with a team-leading 4 RBI … Brandon Crawford went 1-for-2 with a walk and is batting .571 (4-for-7) this spring … The Giants were 5-for-13 with runners in scoring position today … Top Giants prospect Joe Panik singled in the 7th inning and tripled in the 9th. He’s 3-for-3 this spring … RHP Heath Hembree pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for the Giants.




I hope you enjoyed reading "Giants 8, Dodgers 4." I'm interested in your opinion on this article. Why not leave a comment at 22gigantes.com?


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