Series Preview #5: Talking Giants with McCovey Chronicles

The Giants are one of the hottest teams in baseball, but how will they compete with a Brewer team on a season-high one game winning streak?

MILWAUKEE BREWERS
3-8 (5th place, NL Central)
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
9-4 (1st place, NL West)

GAME 1: April 16, 2013 @ 7:10 p.m. CDT
(TV: FS-Wisconsin; Radio: 620 WTMJ)

GAME 2
: April 17, 2013 @ 7:10 p.m. CDT
(TV: FS-Wisconsin; Radio: 620 WTMJ)

GAME 3: April 18, 2013 @ 12:10 p.m. CDT
(TV: FS-Wisconsin and MLB Network; Radio: 620 WTMJ)

Miller Park | Milwaukee, Wisconsin

A View from the Other Dugout: McCovey Chronicles

Game 1 Wily Peralta (0-1, 4.50) vs. Barry Zito (2-0, 0.00)
vs. Giants (0-0, ---) vs. Brewers (0-0, ---)
Game 2 Kyle Lohse (0-1, 2.08) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (1-1, 7.15)
vs. Giants (0-0, ---) vs. Brewers (0-0, ---)
Game 3 Yovani Gallardo (0-1, 6.61)
vs. Matt Cain (0-1, 5.94)
vs. Giants (0-0, ---)
vs. Brewers (0-0, ---)

While the Brewers and Giants prep for their first meeting of the season in Milwaukee, we took the opportunity to talk Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles and Baseball Nation about the Giants and their 2013 season:

BCB: Despite having outscored their opponents by just seven runs (including a three-run extra inning margin against the Cubs on Sunday), the Giants are 9-4 on the season and in first place in the NL West. What's gone right to get them to this point?

MC: Hitting, oddly enough. They've taken advantage of Rockies and Cubs pitching, which has allowed them to make several comebacks. Without looking, I'd guess that they have as many comebacks from three or more down as they did in 2009 or 2011.

BCB: This week the Brewers will face Barry Zito, who has yet to allow an earned run in 2013, and Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain, who have both been knocked around a bit. Are any of those trends likely to continue?

MC: Going to go on a limb and suggest that Zito might allow an earned ... you know what? Screw it. No, Zito is going to go all season without allowing an earned run. Book it. Done.

I'm not especially worried about Vogelsong or Cain -- certainly not Cain, who looked pretty good in his last start, at least after some initial struggles.

BCB: Brandon Belt is a guy who drew lots of attention in sabermetric circles while the Giants were largely refusing to play him everyday, but this year he's getting a full-time opportunity and entered play Sunday with a .171 OBP. Is there still as much optimism surrounding him as there has been?

MC: Yeah, I'm hoping to get something up today about the non-hits where he's been hosed. People will think it's me making excuses, but whatever. Line-drive outs make a difference over 50 at-bats. I'm still optimistic.

He isn't going to be the monster he was in spring, but he's not going to be the total bust he was in the first half of last season, either. Lyle Overbay's good years are what I'm hoping for, and I don't think that's too starry-eyed.

BCB: Meanwhile, reigning NL MVP and batting champion Buster Posey has caught eleven of the Giants' first 13 games in 2013. He just got a new contract that will keep him in San Francisco through 2021, but do the Giants need to consider getting him out from behind the plate to keep him healthy and productive for the full length of that deal?

MC: Eventually, sure. Not now, though. He gets every fifth day off (from catching duties, at least), which is about 130 games caught over a full season. That's a couple games fewer than Yadier Molina's workload, for example.

I'd say the Joe Torre path (shift to third when he's 30) is possible, but the Giants don't need to think about that now.

BCB: As mentioned earlier the Giants are off to a hot start, but the NL West as a division has been remarkably good in 2013 with the Dodgers, Rockies and Diamondbacks all also at or above seven wins. What do the Giants have to do to be the best team in this group?

MC: Pitch. I don't have a lot of confidence in Lincecum anymore, so the rest of the rotation can't take any steps back. Whatever's wrong with Vogelsong (if there is anything wrong) needs to get fixed, and Zito needs to continue his surprisingly valuable ways.

Cain, Bumgarner, and Vogelsong is a good front three, and if Zito can pitch like a #4 instead of a #5, the Giants should be okay.

Thanks again to Grant for taking the time, and check out McCovey Chronicles for more on the Giants!

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