Dodged a bullet?: Giants either crafty or overmatched in season-opening weekend

Photo credit: @TwitVI

By Morris Phillips

If the Giants’ bats come around, they’ll laugh heartily about it.

If they don’t, the entire club will be visibly upset for the next six months.

It’s that serious–and that inconsequential–the Giants scored just two runs in four games to start the season in Dodger Stadium. Ultimately, what matters is what’s yet to come. But if the offense tanks, we’ll all remember the Giants started a subpar season with the most inept opening weekend in terms of offense in the last 30 seasons…

Of any team since the 1988 Orioles lost 12-0 on Opening Day–and 12-1 four days later on the way to 107 defeats–and after the two major upgrades in Longoria and McCutchen, all the faith invested in the holdovers, and the similarity to the last two campaigns, a collapse would be a mouthful to swallow.

Of course, this is a sobering juxtaposition. Could the Giants provide more of the same for a third straight year?

With the increasing ominous signs, it bears watching.

If not, the Giants may have shown that given their tenacity and level of engagement, they may have what it takes to compete. After all, the Giants assumed the most arduous opening of any team in the National League–on the road, against the penant winners with four different start times–and scraped together two, memorable, hard fought wins.

Without a couple of major pieces, that’s an accomplishment.  The precedent set by Joe Panik with his pair of solo shots says it best.

But if the Dodgers can claim the distinction of being the first team in baseball history to allow two or fewer runs in a season-opening four game series than that’s not good. Only one of the two runs were earned? That’s the Giants sending the competition off on their merry way brimming with confidence.

“They’ll get clicking,” Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s a matter of time. … They’re too good. We know that. Hopefully [during] this day off, they’ll get a chance to relax.”

Here’s a snapshot of the numbers from the weekend:

Evan Longoria started the National League portion of his career hitless. The former Tampa Bay Ray went 0 for 15, despite saying he saw some good pitches to hit.

Johnny Cueto was lights out on Friday night, allowing one hit over seven innings, no walks, with four strikeouts. So far no mention of reoccurring issues with blisters. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts astutely pointed that Cueto is especially tough with no baserunners pitching out of the stretch.

Joe Panik’s feat of solo homers in consecutive 1-0 wins is a once in the history of the sport achievement. Forget the distinction of Opening Day, no player has ever solo homered in consecutive games with that game result, period.

Opening the season with a pair of 1-0 wins? That’s been done before. 76 years ago by the Reds in wins over the Cardinals with a huge assist to Johnny VanderMeer. The Reds’ pitching staff one-upped the Giants by winning in extra innings both days, 21 innings total.

The Giants are hitting .192 as a team, ranking them 27th, just in case you mistakenly thought they generated a decent share of traffic on the basepaths, but couldn’t summon any big hits.

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