The last time the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks played a meaningful game was back in September. San Francisco was forced to watch the D-Backs experience something that they did the year before, win the N.L. West.
After breezing through the last couple weeks of the regular season in 2011, the Diamondbacks will look to build on that success in 2012. Meanwhile, the Giants will just look to improve on the offensive side of the ball after having a historically bad offense in 2011. It’s no secret that a Tim Lincecum led rotation can pitch; it was their atrocious offense that hampered the G-Men from reaching the postseason.
Arizona was relatively quiet during the offseason. The headline was the acquisition of Trevor Cahill. D-Backs GM, Kevin Towers acquired Cahill in exchange for a bundle of young talent. In fact, many believe that they overpaid for Cahill. To add some depth to the outfield, Arizona reached an agreement with veteran free agent, Jason Kubel. Along with those two moves, Towers, assuming that Drew wasn’t going to be ready for opening day, brought back Willie Bloomquist, a player that was a crucial piece in Arizona’s success last season.
The Giants were the complete opposite. GM, Brian Sabean accomplished almost all of his goals. He locked up Tim Lincecum for two more years, signed Matt Cain to a long-term contract, acquired speed in Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan, and decided to have the young guys account for most of the 25-man roster. There is no doubt that their offense will be much better in 2012 with those additions.
Pitching Matchup: Ian Kennedy VS Tim Lincecum
Kennedy had a CY Young caliber year in 2011, and many fans thought he should have won the award. Nevertheless, he had a great year, posting a 21-4 record with a 2.88 ERA. The big question that Kennedy will have to answer is whether or not last year was a fluke. He has the stuff, but his numbers last year exceeded his career numbers by a landslide.
Many people think that Tim Lincecum had a mediocre 2011 campaign, but that is far from the truth. Yes he did finish the year with a 13-14 record, one game below .500, but his 2.74 ERA ranked among the league’s best. It was the Giants sub-par offense that prevented him from winning 20 games. Lincecum doesn’t do well when he pitches in the Arizona heat, so we will just have to see how he performs in game 1 of 162 for both of these teams.