In an effort to know thy enemy better, I have exchanged some questions with the esteemed blogger over at McCovey Chronicles, Grant. Here are his questions to my answers:
Q: The Giants seemed to trade for every second-division outfielder they could find this year. Which guys make the roster, and among those who gets the starting jobs?
A: Is the seventy-third division where they found Jose Guillen? Wait, I don't want to offend the seventy-fourth division by suggesting such a thing...
Cody Ross makes the roster, and Jose Guillen makes the roster. The real question is who starts? Guillen was Bochy's starter for most of September, but he's in a wretched slump. Ross has been hot, but even if he hadn't, he's twice the defender that Guillen is. Since the Braves are righty-heavy, though, you'll see more Guillen, who doesn't have pronounced platoon splits.
Q: Your most expensive starter is not slated to start any of the first three games. Barry Zito is your only starter with postseason experience, is it a mistake to keep him from starting one of the first three games?
A: Hahahahahaha. Hahahahahahahahahaha. Hahahahahahahahahahaha.
Seriously, though, if you reduced Jonathan Sanchez's strikeout rate by 33%, he'd be Barry Zito. So nuts to the price tag, go with the talent. I think it's fairly silly that a team could justifiably leave a league-average starter off the roster. That's the depth of the Giants' rotation, though.
Q: What can we expect from Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Jonathan Sanchez? What about them makes you think they'll be successful in the postseason or unsuccessful in the postseason?
A: I have absolutely no idea. That's what's so beautiful; that's what's so scary. Lincecum can get overamped for things like the All-Star Game, so I'm a little worried about his first playoff game. He's still Tim Lincecum, though. Matt Cain proved he could handle pressure when he shut down the Rockies in Colorado -- the meltdown against San Diego was the anomaly, not the other way around. Jonathan Sanchez might walk five, or he might strike out 12. He might do it in the same start. It's a talented staff, but they all have their quirks.
More after the jump...
Q: The crazy bearded one has your ninth inning covered, but do you feel confident in the rest of your bullpen to handle the earlier innings? Who are your key setup men?
A: I'm not sure if the bullpen has allowed an earned run since July. They've been freaky good.
Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez are the setup men. Romo has 83 different arm angles, and he can throw all sorts of different pitches with movement. He's had a fantastic year. Lopez is much better than I expected, though he'll be saved for lefty hitters only. Santiago Casilla throws 98 mph with a power curve, and his control has improved as the year has gone along.
Q: The Braves have had their share of injuries, but the Giants have been bitten by the injury bug too. Will the health status of any key players keep them off the roster or on the bench?
A: All things considered, the Giants have been pretty fortuitous with their injuries. Mark DeRosa went down with a melted wrist, but that only set the stage for Pat Burrell to come over. Aaron Rowand's broken face gave Andres Torres starts that he wouldn't have had at the start of the season. Edgar Renteria disintegrated, but that only allowed Juan Uribe to hit 24 home runs as the starting shortstop.
Maybe Renteria is too nicked up to be on the roster as a backup shortstop. Freddy Sanchez can't throw all that well right now, which might hurt when the Giants are trying to turn double plays. Other than that, the Giants are pretty healthy.
Q: Are you excited or afraid to be facing the Braves as opposed to the Reds, Phillies, or Padres?
A: I've always thought that kind of thing was nonsense. If a team wants to win the World Series, they have to beat three good teams. People need to quit worrying about which team was the juggernaut and which team limped in. In a short series, the Nationals are dangerous.
The Braves are a good team. I'm not excited to face them. I'm terrified, just as I would be with the Reds, Phillies, Rangers, Rays, Yankees, or Twins. It's not like the Giants are going to advance to the playoffs, look up, and see the Mariners roll into town.
Q: Make three predictions about this upcoming series?
A: 1. Loss of bladder control
2. Inappropriate words muttered in the general direction of Jose Guillen
3. Buster Posey and Jason Heyward will tie their wrists together and get into a knife fight, like those two guys in the "Beat It" video.