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2014 Seattle Gameday HQ

FIELDING As great as the pitching is, you’d think the fielders might also be grading out as excellent, but that is not so for a team that used to allow less than four runs per game. Yes, Posey is among the best behind the plate and, in the past, Crawford has been a good glove at short, but just too many batted balls in play find their way through holes for San Fran to feel comfortable with its defense (only .705, good for 20th in Baseball Prospectus’ Defensive Efficiency Ratings). The Giants need their shortstop, specifically, to return to 2012 form (Crawford committed 15 errors in 2013).. STARTING PITCHING This is the good part. In Madison Bumgarner (13-9, 2.77 ERA last season) and Matt Cain (36-26 last three seasons), the Giants have one of the best 1-2 pitching combos in baseball (and a lefty-righty, at that). In 38-year-old former Brave Tim Hudson (40-24 last three seasons) and 29-year-old Tim Lincecum (33-43 last three years), San Francisco has an additional two former aces, who are four and three years removed, respectively, from their All-Star days. Throw in Ryan Vogelsong (31- 22 last three seasons) for a song and you can see how the Giants might be able to pitch up yet another banner season in this dominant decade of theirs. RELIEF PITCHING The elite Giants’ bullpen didn’t miss a beat last April when former No. 1 reliever Brian Wilson went down—and later out—as Sergio Romo took command of the closer role, notching 38 saves and 5 wins, along with a 2.54 ERA and 1.077 WHIP. Romo’s pin-point control (team-best 1.8 walks per 9 innings pitched) makes him a natural for this position, a job he could hold due to his skill set for most of his 30-something years. Righties Javier Lopez, Santiago Casilla and lefty Jeremy Affeldt all have years of Giants experience holding down the fort for their closer. MANAGING Bruce Bochy, who has managed more postseason games (55) than any active skipper, didn’t do things much differently when he was managing two Giants’ World Series championship teams in 2012 and 2010. Those San Francisco teams were always built on pitching, pitching and relief pitching, as is the 2014 squad. GM Brian Sabean is banking on this staff being much healthier than last year’s and has backed up his desire with a $155 million payroll—$24 million more than the 2012 opening-day Giants. Such is the cost of business this decade when you want to keep Posey and Pence in house, while also retain Lincecum and acquire Hudson in hopes of returning to glory days. Buster Posey THEARON W. HENDERSON/GETTY IMAGES SPORT


2014 Seattle Gameday HQ
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