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Article:SF Giants Thriving At Home

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The difference between the Giants at home and the Giants on the road so far in 2009 has been night and day. After going win-less on their first 6-game trip of the season, the Giants returned home and shut down the D-Backs, taking 2 of 3 games and pitching terrifically in the process.

As a matter of fact, the three pitching performances the Giants got over the weekend showed people why their rotation was so highly thought of coming into the year. Jonathon Sanchez, the newly dubbed stopper of the Giants (not really, but he did end the [1] 6 game skid right) got it started by throwing 6 2/3 innings of shutout baseball and beat the 'snakes 2-0 Friday night. Unfortunately, the Giants offense couldn't do anything against Doug Davis on Saturday to support Tim Lincecum's masterpiece. Lincecum righted himself after a rough couple of starts, going 8 strong, matching a career-high with 13 strikeouts while not allowing a walk or a run. Lincecum was hit with the no-decision, but gave Giants fans who were worrying about the youngster a sigh of relief. Not even Lincecum's 13-strikeout performance could top what the Big Unit did on Sunday though. After a rough couple starts in his first starts as Giant, Randy Johnson looked like Randy Johnson on Sunday, holding his former ball-club hit-less into the 7th inning while leading the Giants to a much needed series victory. I know we aren't going to keep getting these shutout starts from these pitchers, as good as they may be, but it's great to see them get the monkey of their backs and start throwing the ball the way they're capable of. They need to be the straw that stirs the Giants' drink, and hopefully, the offense will come around.

Another guy along with Lincecum and Johnson, who had high expectations coming in and hadn't lived up to them in that first week is Pablo Sandoval. The third-basemen had his first 3-hit game of the season on Sunday and now has his average up to .244 after looking way out of sync through the season's first week. The Giants need Sandoval to be a steady offensive contributor in order to score consistently and I hate to put all this burden on the youngsters shoulders so soon, but he was a big reason why the Giants went 0-6 on that opening road trip. Sandy' went 3-22 with only 1 RBI and no extra-base hits. Not to mention, he looked just as out of sync at third base at times, than he did at the plate. Hopefully this 3-hit game will instill some confidence back into the Big Panda, cause I can't stress enough how important that guys bat is to this lineup.

The one unit on this team that has clearly done it's job has been the relievers. Only Alex Hinshaw is having trouble finding the strike zone, but that's not anything new around here. Bob Howry and Jeremy Affeldt have looked great so far and every bit worth the money they got this winter. Brian Wilson has only had 2 save opportunities and although he couldn't find the zone when the Giants needed him to on Saturday, he's been on top of his game here early on as well. I had begun to worry about the bullpen a bit because of all the work they've gotten here early on, but the starting pitchers gave them a nice break this weekend.

Trevor Cole The San Francisco Giants Blog

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