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San Francisco Giants Predictions | 2011 Season Betting Preview

2011 MLB Team Preview: San Francisco Giants

Hard to believe, as some of us still have VERY cold temperatures outside, that the Boys of Summer are almost back. But it’s true; teams have started reporting to 2011 Major League Baseball training camps and it’s time to start our team-by-team baseball gambling previews for the year.

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Giants Calender

FEB. 1-18, 2011 – Salary arbitration hearings
FEB. 14, 2011 – Voluntary Spring Training reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players
FEB. 19, 2011 – Voluntary Spring Training reporting date for non-pitchers and catchers
FEB. 26, 2011 – Mandatory Spring Training reporting date for all players

Is it just me or is San Francisco still an underdog for 2011 despite winning the World Series? I haven’t gotten that feeling from a championship team since the New England Patriots after their first win with Tom Brady.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
World Series odds: +1500

Anyone doubting San Francisco’s chances to win the Fall Classic certainly can’t have a problem with the pitching staff. It’s easily the second-best in the majors behind Philadelphia’s kid-cheating-in-video-game rotation.

That Tim Lincecum’s 16 wins, 3.43 ERA and 231 strikeouts in 2010 qualified as his “off” year tells you all you need to know about him. The 26-year-old is still San Fran’s unquestioned ace and a perennial Cy Young contender. However, Matt Cain has finally stepped out from under Lincecum’s shadow over the last couple of seasons, finally getting some run support to back his fantastic numbers and establishing himself as a 1-B to Tiny Tim’s 1-A. Cain threw an unbelievable 21.1 scoreless innings over three starts in the 2010 playoffs.

There aren’t too many No. 3 starters in baseball who can strike out 200 guys per season but lefty Jonathan Sanchez is one of them. He still struggles with walks but, as he’s literally proven in the past, he has no-hitter-caliber stuff. Look for prospect Madison Bumgarner to spend all year with the big club. He brings a bulldog mentality to every start and seems ready to be a good to great MLB starter in his first full season. Barry Zito ain’t perfect he but he’s just fine as a (hilariously expensive) No. 5.

We all know what the Giants’ bullpen can do. When was the last time you saw a closer on the cover of a video game? Brian Wilson, San Francisco’s colourful, crazy ninth-inning stopper, accomplished that feat over the offseason. It’s a testament to how automatic he is with the game on the line. Wilson has tremendous support with guys like Sergio Romo, too.

Giants’ detractors point to their hitting, not their pitching, as their soft spot. I can see the argument. The only sure bet for elite production seems to be budding superstar catcher Buster Posey. But even Posey still has to worry about avoiding the sophomore slump. Pablo Sandoval seems poised for a bounce-back this season after dropping serious pounds. But can we be certain? Kung Fu Panda still swings at absolutely everything. At least Aubrey Huff is a reliable middle-of-the-order stalwart even if he isn’t an All-Star.

But the rest of San Fran’s lineup leaves plenty to be desired. Pat Burrell doesn’t look like an everyday player anymore. Cody Ross was a playoff hero but he rarely shows consistent ability over a full season. Same goes for Andres Torres. And Miguel Tejada, while a capable vet, is a shadow of his former self.

2011 OUTLOOK

Given Colorado’s potential pitching woes and Los Angeles’ potential hitting woes, I like San Francisco to repeat as National League West champs. The race should once again be close, however. And I don’t see the Giants as the top World Series contender this season. Everything clicked too perfectly last year. The odds of lightning striking twice seem slim.

Prediction: 1st, National League West

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About Shea Matthews

Shea Matthews the Senior Writer at CP. Lives and breathes sports. He made the transition from athlete to sports journalist at a young age, writing in TV & national papers. Shea applies his knowledge to sports betting + handicapping daily, and shares winning picks with the world.


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