Giants stay hot down in Cactus League

The Giants started out spring training hitting hot and young arms stepping up.

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The San Francisco Giants just finished up their first weekend of Spring Training games. These first 3 games went exceptional for the Giants, who’re looking to start the season strong. The Giants improved their cactus League record to 3-0 with Sundays game against the Cincinnati Reds. With the disappointing 2016 season, the Giants will be looking for any stand out performances this spring. Equally important will be the look for the Giants starting left fielder and 3rd basemen for the 2017 season. Lets take a look at how the Giants first 3 games went in regards to these spring training priorities.

Friday 2/24 Reds @ Giants

The game started off rocky for starter Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner let a double, a walk, a hit by pitch and a single make for 2-0 lead for the Reds. Naturally of course this is Bumgarner’s first start since October so there is some leeway here in spring training. The game would go on to produce some stand out efforts made by some veteran and new members of the organization. Hunter Pence in an effort to showcase his readiness for spring after a injury scare doubled off the left field wall knocking in the Giants first run. Joe Panik scored the run after getting on base with a single.

Clayton Blackburn came in the game in the 3rd and pitched exceptionally well. He struck out 3 over 2 innings and forced ground outs for the rest of his outs. Blackburn will likely be trying to make the jump to the majors this season. His performance here will likely be noted and watched as spring advances. Other notables were Chris Marrero’s day at the yard. Over the course of the game Marrero got 2 hits and knocked in the game winning runs with a walk off homer. Marrero ended up knocking in 4 of the Giants 6 runs that day. The Giants total collected 12 hits over the game and showcased a strong display coming into their first game of spring.

Saturday 2/25 Cubs @ Giants 

The Chicago Cubs came to Scottsdale in what was likely a bittersweet game for most Giants fan. The Cubs had previously knocked the Giants out of the postseason in the 2016 season. Matt Cain got the start in what was his first outing since August 17th. Cain is likely the front runner for the 5th rotation spot, but if his old problems persist then that’ll likely change quickly. Cain pitched 2 innings and allowed 2 runs one of which was earned. Not quite the performance the Giants are hoping to see but its still early for Cain.

Off season signing Mark Melancon got his first outing as a Giant and pitched it beautifully. He induced 2 ground outs and a fly-out in a perfect 1 inning of work. Justin Ruggiano busted out the Giants first run of the game on a ground rule double. Ruggiano will likely be gunning for the back up outfielder spot this spring. Kelby Tomlinson singled in Ruggiano after Eduardo Nunez ground out to score a run. Tomlinson would go on to steal second base. Tomlinson proved in the last 2 season that he can be a threat of the bench as an ultra utility man in the infield.

The real showcase on Saturday was from newcomer Jae-gyun Hwang. Hwang is one of the front runners for 3rd base depending on his spring. Hwang came over from the KBO in South Korea this off season and has some power to show. In the Saturday game Hwang hit an opposite field three run homer that put the Giants up 7-3. If Hwang can continue that display of power than the Giants will likely find it more easy choosing their 3rd base option. The Giants would go on to beat the Cubs 8-6.

Sunday 2/26 Giants @ Reds

The Giants on Sunday traveled across town to face the Reds at their spring home. The Giants started the game with a bank on a Conor Gillaspie home run that drove in 2 runs. The veteran will be fighting for a 3rd base spot this spring with Hwang and Eduardo Nunez. Gillaspie spent quite a bit of time at 3rd last year and got hot at just the right times for the Giants. Gillaspie also provided the only runs in the NL Wild card game last season that the Giants went on to win. The organization likely hasn’t forgotten these contributions. The job will be tough with Hwang starting to heat up. Hwang drove in a RBI on a single in the game.

Matt Moore made his first spring start with the Giants. Moore only last 1.1 innings after allowing a run. Notable pitching game from top prospect Tyler Beede. Beede pitched 2 scoreless innings and only allowed 2 hits. The Giants front office has made it very clear that Beede will be coming to the majors sooner rather than later.

The Giants would continue to hit very well during the game. Both Jarret Parker and Joe Panik picked a home run, with the two of them driving in 2 runs. The Giants picked up 10 hits and won the game against the Reds 9-5.

Anaylsis

The Giants started out hitting spring training really well. Many question marks started turning it up on day one including Joe Panik and Hunter Pence who were both hurt throughout last season. Newcomer Hwang seems to be adjusting so far to playing in the US, but more will be needed from him as spring progressive. If he power continues to show throughout then it’ll be no brainer for him being at 3rd.

Pitching and more importantly the bullpen will be a big focus this spring. Mark Melancon represents a huge boost to the bullpen and fans will be looking to how his spring goes in relation to his success in 2017. His presence will likely bring the needed stability to a rocky bullpen. Some new younger arms seem to be emerging from the Giants minor league. Beede and Blackburn could be the future of the Giants pitching staff in and out of the bullpen. There will be many young pitchers over spring that the Giants will watch but these young ones are player for a job in the majors. With heir abilities starting to show, hopefully it’ll last and make the Giants job that much easier in cementing their pitching staff.

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