Wilson emphasized that regardless of who's in the opposing lineup, "it doesn't really change the approach you're going to take. You're still going to go out and pitch to your strengths."Besides, like many oversimplications, these characterizations aren't entirely accurate. The team that recorded the Majors' lowest ERA (3.41) and opponents' batting average (.233) last year was the Dodgers, not the Giants. "It's not like we decided we're going without any pitching," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said with a chuckle. "Do we have Tim Lincecum here? No. Not yet. But there are a lot of teams that don't have Tim Lincecum. Our pitching is more of a combination of parts for us." Colletti acknowledged that the Dodgers have obliterated their image as a club that thrived on winning low-scoring games.
"I think our team's a little bit different than what people will generally stereotypically consider the Dodgers," he said.Colletti noted that this stereotype included speed, which the Dodgers no longer possess in abundance. But, he pointed out, few teams have an appreciable amount of speed. "So it's not just the Dodgers that have changed," Colletti said. "The way the game is played has changed, too." The combination of pitching and defense remains essential, though. Monday's game, however meaningless it might have been, confirmed this. Six pitchers combined to limit Los Angeles to two runs, a Cactus League-low for San Francisco thus far. Kevin Frandsen and Buster Posey, stationed out of position at first base, contributed deft plays, and rookie right fielder Roger Kieschnick's strong one-hop throw retired Ronnie Belliard at home in the 10th. This reinforced the belief shared by Giants pitchers that they're the chief obstacle for any opponent. "If this guy can't do it, the next guy's going to give what he can," Wilson said. "Everybody's helping each other out." Then again, Zito reminded that even the best of reputations carries only so much weight. "Just because they talk about it doesn't mean we're going to win more games because of it," Zito said. "So we can't rest on that."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less