Giants & A’s

Matt Kawahara, Bay Area baseball beat writer

Leading Off: Plenty of questions, talent for Giants, A's

03/27/2013 12:00 AM

03/27/2013 7:11 AM

Today is the final day in Arizona for the Giants and A's before returning to the Bay Area for the three-game Bay Bridge series beginning Thursday, a day off Sunday, then their season openers Monday.

Question marks? For the Giants, start with Tim Lincecum. The beloved two-time Cy Young Award winner has fared poorly (10 2/3 innings, 17 hits, 13 earned runs, 10.97 ERA) this spring. With the rest of the rotation looking solid (though Matt Cain's WHIP of 1.45 is vexing), Lincecum is a puzzle. He could be out of the rotation before midseason – or earlier – if he doesn't come around.

The other is Pablo Sandoval. Sure, he's hitting over .400, but in how many at-bats? He is battling an elbow problem, the latest physical ailment on a growing list. And – news flash – he needs to lose weight. Here's a guy who has magic in his bat, but way too many carbs on his plate. The nature of the Giants' batting order changes dramatically if he is: a) out hurt, or b) playing poorly because he's out of shape.

And this: Can Sergio Romo go a full season effectively closing games with his slider and 88-mph fastball? Detroit may think so, but .

In Oakland, this could be a proving year for a pitching rotation that showed youthful (not you, Bartolo Colon) promise in 2012. Closer Grant Balfour was a sight to behold during the stretch run, and his fortunes this season will determine a lot.

The A's outfield of Coco Crisp, Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick could be among the league's most exciting; the infield could be a work in progress, though, especially if shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima doesn't pan out.

Prediction: The Bay Area will be home to contenders in both leagues, and one of the best places in the world to be a fan this season. Like last year.

Today's poll

Which team will have the best record in April?

A's

Giants

To vote, go to www.sacbee.com/sports

Tuesday's results

How far will FGCU advance in the NCAA Tournament?

Lose Sweet 16 game: 57%

Elite Eight: 26%

Final Four: 8%

Win championship: 9%

Total votes: 97

Call The Bee's Brian Blomster, (916) 326-5512. Follow him on Twitter @b_blomster.

About This Blog

Matt Kawahara has covered baseball for The Sacramento Bee for three years. Kawahara, a McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley graduate, joined The Bee in 2010. Before joining Sports, he was a general assignment news reporter. Reach Kawahara at mkawahara@sacbee.com. Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

Key links

World Series galleries, columns, live game blogs, scoreboard

World Series Guide: Scores, stats, matchups

Giants scores & stats

A's scores & stats

River Cats scores & stats

 

Join the Discussion

The Sacramento Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service