The Final Countdown
With today’s rain-shortened exhibition loss against the Mariners complete, Spring Training officially comes to a close for the Giants. Tomorrow, they open the 2010 season on the road against the Houston Astros, with Timmy going to the hill.
On top of all this, the news broke today that John Bowker will be the starting right fielder over Nate Schierholtz, at least for the time being. Bowker now has one month to either hit well or be demoted to the bench assuming the Bruce Bochy system of player evaluation is still in place. The unfortunate side effect of this is that he has a very small sample size of at-bats to get comfortable before he’s forced to worry about being replaced. That said, from what I watched today his pitch selection and swing both look great, all while facing a left-handed pitcher in Jason Vargas. Point blank, this offense is exponentially better the more John Bowker plays, even taking into account his defensive shortcomings.
Some other new additions to the Opening Day roster include relievers Guillermo Mota and Waldis Joaquin, as well as outfielders Eugenio Velez and Andres Torres. The team will carry six outfielders, five infielders, two catchers, and a twelve man pitching staff going into the season, with Todd Wellemeyer winning the 5th starter role despite a rough outing today. Overall there aren’t a whole lot of snubs to speak of, with sweet justice being served in the form of John Bowker. The one exception of course is Buster Posey, but with Bengie Molina in the fold Posey’s better off getting regular at-bats at AAA than riding the pine in the bigs.
With Opening Day less than 24 hours away, the excitement is building for the long offseason wait to finally come to a close. All the analysis and speculation can fade away and be replaced by actual games that actually mean something. Not much else to do but wait in anticipation and hope to God that the pitching staff can build off of a phenomenal 2009 campaign, that the offense can improve off of an embarrassingly awful season, and that the rest of the NL West underperforms. I’m ready for some baseball. Are you?