If the Giants aren’t careful, Showtime’s “The Franchise” series — which airs a 30-minute preview episode tonight at 9:30 p.m. before running regularly in the summer and gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the world champs —may come off more like a sequel to “The Hangover.”
Has the fanfare of Opening Day, raising the World Series flag, receiving their championship rings and the tragic attack on Bryan Stow been a distraction? Sure, last weekend’s back-to-back walk-off wins against the St. Louis Cardinals rekindled the “Torture never felt so good” vibe, but overall the 2011 Giants have looked terribly ordinary.
In the first 10 games, San Francisco committed a league-high nine errors, stole only two bases and hit a mere .255.
For all the talk of continuity, the Giants made four major changes from last year’s postseason lineup. The most questionable move was handing the first base job to rookie Brandon Belt. Despite a strong spring training and a promising future, Belt began his big-league career 5-for-35 — that’s a .143 batting average for those scoring at home.
The thought here from the outset was that the Giants were asking him to do too much too soon. Don’t be surprised if Belt celebrates his 23rd birthday in Fresno next week when Cody Ross comes off the disabled list. Aubrey Huff would probably break out his retired red rally thong if he gets to return to first base.
Soon to be 37-year-old Miguel Tejada has shown decent bat speed, but no one’s getting “Jiggy with Miggy” when he’s ranging for grounders at shortstop. Aaron Rowand has been a pleasant surprise in the early going at the plate, but the Giants desperately need a healthy Andres Torres in center field and at the top of the batting order.
Equally significant, last year’s sensational midseason rookie call-ups Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner are both finding out that opposing teams now know what they are all about. Through the first nine games, Posey was batting only .250 with 10 strikeouts. Buster is better than that, but if asked to catch 150 games this season, he’ll be hard-pressed to match last year’s .305 average.
Bumgarner, 0-2, has given up eight earned runs in eight innings, and curiously in nine career starts at AT&T Park has a 1-4 record and an ERA over 5.50.
Throw in an erratic Jonathan Sanchez, who led the National League in walks last season and continues to struggle with his control, and the ever-inconsistent Barry Zito, and you have all the makings of major migraines for Giants fans when someone other than Tim Lincecum or Matt Cain is pitching.
Then again, that’s better than getting knocked out by Mike Tyson for locking up his tiger in your Las Vegas hotel room.
KGO (810 AM) Sports Director Rich Walcoff can be heard weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m. on the KGO morning news. He can be reached at RichWalcoff@gmail.com.