As the Marlins get set to play the San Francisco Giants at At&T Park, we reached out to the editor of Around the Foghorn, Melissa Felkins Pettitt, to get some insight on the NL West leading Giants. Around the Foghorn is one of the great Fansided sites, and they specialize in covering the Giants. Melissa was kind enough to answer some questions that we had regarding the Giants. Here was our conversation:
MM: The Giants are off to a hot start, what has helped them come out of the gate and take early control of the NL West?
Melissa: This is a different team than even the two World Series teams. I think the two biggest factors are health (so far) and power. The Giants aren’t known for being a power hitting, home run team, at least in recent years. This year, it’s coming together. They’re 3rd in home runs and Pablo Sandoval hasn’t even gotten hot.
MM: How big of a blow is the injury to Brandon Belt? How long do the Giants expect him to be out? Any other major injuries the Giants are dealing with?
Melissa: It’s a big deal. He’s our first baseman, and he’s the best one we have. He’s tied for team lead in home runs, and he’s just performed more consistently this year, so losing him hurt. We can’t replace his bat, and we haven’t replaced him with a “real” first baseman just yet. Timeframe is about 8 weeks from what they are saying. Typically, the injury is between 6-8 weeks. Angel Pagan has a bad knee right now, which requires some rest from time to time. Jeremy Affeldt will probably injure himself by the time I finish this so we can include him, too.
MM: Is there any player this series that Marlins players might not know about that will make a big impact?
Hicks basically shoved his way into the everyday 2B position in spring training. Hitting home runs off Clayton Kershaw will get you noticed. He already has 7 home runs, one of which was a bomb off a Kershaw curveball. He’s the only player to ever do that. It’s really make the loss of Marco Scutaro bearable.
Colvin is new, but he’s already jumped in the home run game and has some good numbers his first week. I’m eager to see what he can continue to do.
Mike Morse should also be mentioned here. He has proven to be a fantastic offseason pick-up and most fans didn’t expect much from him. He has some major power.
MM: Can you give us a quick scouting report on the pitchers the Marlins will be facing this series?
Cain is coming around but has struggled big time this season. His fastball isn’t quite there yet due to him recently cutting his finger, so he’s relying more on other pitches. He’s a fastball pitcher, and while he’s having good command with his other pitches, it’s still a struggle for him.
Hudson has been lights out this season. I never worry when he’s on the mound. He has the 5th lowest ERA in the NL and has only walked 4 batters all season. He’s really our “ace” right now.
Lincecum has pitched better than the past couple seasons. He’s maturing. He can still have command issues, but he continues to fight through it. It’s always a toss up with what kind of start you’ll get from him.
Vogelsong has been far better than last season. His ERA is lower than Cain’s right now. He seems much more focused this season. He’s not lights out by any means, but if he continue pitches all season like he has been, then I’ll be happy that we re-signed him as a #5 pitcher.
Overall, none of our pitchers are going blow one by you, except maybe Madison Bumgarner, who you won’t face. The Marlins will have plenty of opportunities to get hits, it will just depend on what they do with them.
MM: The Marlins have been abysmal on the road this season, any reason for us to believe they have a shot in this series? Any bold prediction for the series?
Melissa: It’s warmer than normal in San Francisco right now, so the ball will likely be carrying. I expect a handful of home runs from both teams if the temperature stays up. So yes, the Marlins have a shot. That said, the Giants have continued to be hot and fight through deficits. I predict the Giants will take 3 of 4, and the Marlins best shot will be against Cain. The Giants never score runs for Cain.
There you have it. We want to thank Melissa for giving us such great insight into the Giants, and remember to check out Around the Foghorn for all the latest Giants’ news and notes. Melissa also sent me some questions which I answered for her on AtF. Check them out here.