It may have come on the second game of spring training, but any win over the hated Dodgers (is that redundant) is worth celebrating. The Giants spoiled the spring managerial debut of Don Mattingly with a 8-3 win on Saturday. Let’s see if we can spoil his regular-season debut on March 31.
Again, it’s early. But Saturday’s win over the Dodgers was filled with some encouraging signs.
PANDA POWER: Pablo Sandoval slammed his first home run of the spring training. Given that one of the biggest pieces of Sandoval’s dissapointing 2010 season was his lack of power, this was an encouraging sign.
“When that happens, you get excited about what you do in the cage and all the work you do in the offseason,” Sandoval told the Associated Press.
Sandoval has been working on getting deeper into counts this spring. Yet his home run Saturday came on the first pitch from Oscar Villarreal in the fourth inning.
“He threw that same little cutter to (Aubrey) Huff and Andres (Torres),” Sandoval told the San Jose Mercury News. “I know sometimes I get in trouble when I swing at the first pitch. But I was looking for that pitch.”
That’s exactly what Sandoval should be doing on the first pitch — treat it like the count is 2-0. He should look for a particular pitch and a particular spot. If he doesn’t get that pitch, take it. If he does, hammer it. That’s what he did Saturday.
DEROSA IS RAKING: Mark DeRosa had three singles in three at-bats on Saturday, looking like the player the Giants hoped for when they signed him prior to the 2010 season. DeRosa missed most of 2010 after wrist surgery.
“(Fans) don’t care if you’re hurt,” DeRosa told the Mercury News. “They look for production and it wasn’t there. … Now I’m feeling good. I really do. I’m not having to cheat on fastballs, to do certain things to relieve the pain, to force-feed every pitch to right field.”
STRIKES FOR SANCHEZ: When we last saw Jonathan Sanchez in the postseason last fall, he was struggling to find the plate on a consistent basis, and therefore struggling to get outs.
Throwing strikes is a focus for Sanchez this spring. And early signs Saturday were good.
Sanchez walked one in 1 2/3 innings of work, giving up no runs on four hits.