Issue: Identity crisis
Analysis: It’s early, but it’s not. It’s definitely not too early, after six weeks of spring training and a couple of weeks of regular-season games, for every team in big-league ball to have started to establish an identity.
But what is the Giants’ identity? Do you have any clue whatsoever? If you do, you’re seeing something most of us aren’t.
The assumption going into the season, as has been the case for the past several seasons, was that this was going to be a team whose sun is pitching — particularly starting pitching — and all other aspects of the game are mere moons.
You can’t say it’s a running team, despite positive signs regarding overall team speed and aggression on the bases.
You can’t say they’re an offensive juggernaut, despite similarly positive trends — particularly in relation to the pathetic showings of 2011.
You can’t say they’re a particularly strong defensive club, either. Lots of errors out there so far, and not just physical errors. The miscommunication between Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera on Monday was inexcusable for a pair of veterans, and it made things infinitely more difficult on an already-struggling Tim Lincecum.
Which brings us to pitching. Will this team ultimately be defined by its work on the mound? It better work out that way, because that’s quite clearly been the plan all along. If it doesn’t work out that way ... yikes.
But it hasn’t so far. Lincecum’s struggles are center stage, that first series against the Arizona Diamondbacks wigged everyone out beyond belief, and Brian Wilson’s elbow injury has created an understandable level of grave concern.
Recent developments, particularly the outings provided by Barry Zito, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, suggest better times are on the horizon, and Ryan Vogelsong’s debut was a touch of subtle security.
It’d be nice, though, if within the next couple of weeks we know exactly who this team is. Right now, we don’t.