Giants-Pirates: What to watch for

April 13, 2012, 5:39 pm
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Programming note: Giants 2012 Opening Day coverage begins today at 12 p.m. with Giants Pregame Live, then Kruk and Kuip are behind the mic to call the Pirates vs. Giants at 1:30 p.m., only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area!

SAN FRANCISCO The Giants open their 13th season at AT&T Park, and there wont be a banner raising or a ring ceremony included in the pregame festivities. Instead, theres rain in the forecast.

The Giants do not expect dampened spirits from the stands, though. The club sold out every game last season and could do the same in 2012, even though last years team missed the playoffs and failed to defend its World Series title

Here are a few things to watch for when the anthems and flyovers are complete, and the Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates take the field:

NEW FACES

Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan, Ryan Theriot and Gregor Blanco will make their home debuts. With his fast start and the flair in his game, Cabrera could establish himself as a fan favorite. Blancos nickname, the White Shark, makes him a natural to be the next hot seller at the plush hat stands. Pagan has spoken with excitement about playing his home games at a ballpark packed with passionate fans. Bet you couldnt guess he was a Met last year.

And then youve got Buster Posey. Despite his case of the shingles, hes expected to start behind the plate. Expect the biggest ovation to be for the Giants beloved catcher, who will be playing his first regular-season game at China Basin since May 25 the night he was involved in a devastating collision near home plate.

SHIVER ME TIMBERS

The Giants havent mopped the poopdeck with the Pirates recently, capturing the season series just three times in the last eight years. Thats not a proud outcome against a franchise that hasnt posted a winning record since Barry Bonds left as a free agent after the 1992 season. (Yes, seriously.)

Last year, the Giants took two of three in PNC Park but lost two of three at home.
RELATED: Stat-Pack -- Giants 9-3 in AT&T Park openers

NO UMBRELLA GIVEAWAY

The weather calls for intermittent showers that should pass through the area by the mid-afternoon. There have been just five rainouts at AT&T Park since the Giants opened their waterfront home in 2000; the last one came April 12, 2006 vs. Houston.

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Right-hander James McDonald (0-0, 3.00 ERA) takes on Matt Cain (0-0, 7.50) on Friday. First pitch is at 1:35 p.m. PDT.

The Pirates havent announced a starter to oppose Barry Zito (1-0, 0.00) on Saturday (6:05 p.m. PDT).

Former Giants right-hander and 2011 NL All-Star Kevin Correia (0-0, 1.50) will face right-hander Ryan Vogelsong on Sunday (1:05 p.m.) Vogelsong came through his two rehab starts for Triple-A Fresno with no lower back problems and will be activated from the disabled list in time to make the start.

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