So is it Tim Hudson’s team? Is it the Brandopaloooza’s team? Michael Morse’s team? Or is this just another edition of Small Sample Size Theatre?
The last one is the right answer, of course, because among other things, the team’s magic number to clinch the National League West is still a fairly unwieldy 155.
But after Tuesday’s 7-3 dance over the Arizona Diamondbacks sent the Opening Day crowd of 42,166 into soul-destroying traffic with a song in their hearts and dreams of 2012 in their skulls, the Giants are giving the first hints that this might be their first offense-over-defense team since the apogee of the Bonds Era.
That seems odd, even bizarrely so, in a park that has come to represent the era of pitching primacy. They won two World Series without managing to score 700 runs, and if it weren’t for the stuffed animal concessions in the first floor retail outlets, the only Giants you would know about would be the pitchers.
There would be streets named after Jeremy Affeldt, boulevards after Matt Cain, parks after Madison Bumgarner, and the Golden Gate Bridge would be called Lincecum’s Moustache.
Hey, don’t think the marketing department hasn’t considered it. Those people are diabolical.
But off the five percent of the season to date, this Giants team may actually be one of those 700-run teams for a change, which would be the first time in eight years that they have managed such a feat. The park record of 925, set in its inaugural year, isn’t likely to be approached for a good long time, but this lineup could manage it.
[BAGGARLY: Giants offense backs Hudson in home-opening win]
The wild card, of course, would be convincing the pitching not to give up 701, and there are only so many Hudson starts to go around, you know.
Indeed, the Giants’ starters save Hudson (2-0, 1.15) and Bumgarner (1-0, 1.74) are a daily quandary. This would not seem to hold over the long haul unless you believe that Cain is now a league-average pitcher with a gift for giving up home runs, and there is no telling yet where Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong stand. This is a level of mystery that fans are not prepared to deal with over the long haul – they have always found greater comfort in showering all of their invective upon one pitcher (Barry Zito, mostly) and leaving the rest of the staff to Dave Righetti’s mercies.
But this imbalance may be addressed at last if Morse is only 75 percent as good as his current numbers suggest, or if Brandon Belt really is the new Paul Goldschmidt, or if Pagan is cured of all the things that ailed him.
Oh, and if Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval are planning to hit better than .143 between them. Sandoval has not exactly hit his walk year running, and general manager Brian Sabean has decided that any contract talks between the two sides have been tabled until Sandoval and/or his people come down in price and perhaps in years as well.
[RELATED: Sabean, Giants cut off contract talks with Pablo Sandoval]
But that’s 2015’s problem. The problem in 2014 is in defining this team, and nobody gets defined in any sensible way after eight games – even if six of them are wins, and especially if the Giants of all people have more home runs than any other team in the major leagues. The Giants are currently on pace for 243, which would be a franchise record. This would have value if we also noted that the Kansas City Royals are on pace to hit none at all, which would also be a franchise record.
And there’s the point. What Tuesday did was show the fan base was that the Giants are capable of being a different team than they have been in the Post-Bonds Era. Whether they in fact turn out to be different is another matter, and whether that difference is actually better or worse also remains to be determined.
Time’s a’wastin’, too. There are only 154 more games, and the Dodgers aren’t going anywhere.