SAN FRANCISCO -- Joe Panik and Matt Duffy weren't planning on repeating the Tortoise Race this year, instead focusing on total hits. They might have been dragged into a much bigger competition, though.
When Angel Pagan lined a solo homer in the fourth inning Sunday he became the eighth member of the starting lineup to hit a bomb. The Opening Day starter, Madison Bumgarner, also has a home run. Two of the four players on the bench -- Trevor Brown and Ehire Adrianza -- have gone deep in big spots. Brown's homer broke up a no-hitter, while Adrianza's was off Clayton Kershaw.
Eleven players have at least one home run, and Duffy, Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford are tied for the team lead with two apiece. So ... is a team-wide race on? This one is moving too quickly to be Tortoise Race 2.0, and Panik sees a problem with that concept anyway: Who exactly is going to tell Bumgarner that he's a tortoise?
"He could be in a Grizzly Race," Panik suggested.
All kidding aside, this has been a historically powerful week for the Giants. They have homered in seven straight to start the season, a franchise record. The 14 homers through seven games are the most for the Giants since 2003, when a Barry Bonds team had 16. Eight of the homers have come in just four games against the Dodgers, just two short of last year's total in 19 meetings.
"It's a team that's going to hit for more power, I believe," Bochy said. "That doesn't always mean home runs."
This is where there's always a disconnect between reality and those who scream for power every offseason. The Giants play their home games in a place that swallowed up Brandon Belt's 393-foot blast off Kershaw on Saturday and turned it into a harmless out. This park plays even smaller at night, especially when it's cold. That said, the Giants finished fourth in the National League last year with a .406 slugging percentage. They did drive the ball, even if it didn't always end up a souvenir. This year's group, at least early on, is providing more free baseballs.
"I'm not going to sit here and say we're a power-hitting team, but we've got some guys with some pop and if a pitcher makes a mistake, we're going to jump on it," Panik said.
This isn't a team likely to have a guy chasing the NL home run crown, but half the everyday lineup could hit 20 and you can picture six or seven guys getting to double-digits. (I don't know what the limit is in Bumgarner's 32 remaining starts.)
With three more homers Sunday, the Giants are off to a powerful start ... and now they get three games at Coors Field.
--- Bochy was asked before Sunday's game if Bumgarner is still a pinch-hit option after the rib irritation that slowed him in spring training. It turns out Bumgarner was actually getting ready to pinch-hit once already this week.
"He came up and said, you want me to get ready?" Bochy said. "I said, of course."
Bochy doesn't feel fully comfortable doing this because of the injury risk, but with a four-man bench this is the way the Giants will continue to go. "We're a little short-handed," Bochy said.
--- From yesterday, my game story on Johnny Cueto's wild day, the message from his lineup, and the takeaways from a fun four-game series.
--- Here is the link to subscribe to my podcast. If you haven't discovered it yet, there are interviews with George Kontos, Crawford and Duffy. The pod took an Opening Week hiatus, but I've got at least two lined up for this coming week. So, hop on board.
--- The Giants are working on getting a new plane (the old one didn't have WiFi or TV and it is 2016). It looks like the team across the bridge got their old one.