Will the naysayers please take a seat. After a less than impressive spring training, the 2014 World Champion San Francisco Giants kicked off the 2015 season with a solid 5-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
MVP Madison Bumgarner took control of the mound showing traits of his historic post-season, pitching seven strong innings allowing just one earned run before leaving in the eight with a 5-1 lead.
“What else can you say about Bum. This guy is special,” said Manager Bruce Bochy. “He did a terrific job against a tough line-up. His first start he throws a terrific game.”
“I felt pretty good, ” added Bumgarner. “Making pitches. The defense was great behind me. Picking me up several times.”
The new look top of the order also did their part against Josh Collmenter. Newcomer Nori Aoki, first time opening day starter Joe Panik, and Angel Pagan who missed much of last season, went a combined 8-for-9, scored four runs and drove in two to take a 5-1 lead into the 8th inning. Not bad considering the team is without injured Hunter Pence and departed slugger Pablo Sandoval.
“You always dream about opening day,” said Panik who had a three hit night. “You can’t wait to get on the field. All the excitement. We were feeling good. Then in the 8th inning things changed, but we have the guys who can finish the job and close the door.”
Yes, Giants “torture” made its comeback in the eight. With Bumgarner out of the game, the D-backs scored four quick runs off relievers, Javier Lopez, Jean Machi and Sergio Romo. Bochy then turned to Jeremy Affeldt for a critical out to end the dreaded inning. Santiago Casilla earned the save with lights out pitching in the 9th.It’s just one win, but Bochy was happy with the way his team battled and dismissed their spring training woes.
“They really did a nice job of getting on base,” said Bochy. “Aoki, Panik, and Angel, the top three guys put together a great game. They kept grinding and getting on base. You can throw away the spring training stats. When the bell rung, these guys answer it.”
The Giants did have to deal with some tough news on opening day concerning starters Matt Cain and Jake Peavy. Cain had an MRI Monday after experiencing tightness in his right forearm and may be unavailable for his Wednesday start. Peavy will miss his first start scheduled for Tuesday due to a sore back. Former starter Ryan Vogelsong will take Peavy’s spot in the desert against Rubby De La Rosa. The injuries raise red flags but if there is one thing the three time World Champions in five years have proven is that they should never be underestimated.