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The week ahead: Five big things to watch

1. The decline and fall of the San Francisco Giants?

The World Series champs had the oldest Opening Day roster in the majors and right now they are looking every bit their age. They are 4-10, have lost nine of their past 10, have been outscored 62 to 37 and 10 of their 14 games have been against the Diamondbacks and Rockies, expected to battle for the NL West cellar. The Giants have three at home this week against the hot Dodgers, then three on the road against the Rockies. Their best pitcher has been rookie Chris Heston, with a 2-1 record and 0.87 ERA through three starts, and he's only in the rotation because of Jake Peavy's back injury and Ryan Vogelsong's ineffectiveness. Madison Bumgarner's velocity has been down a bit so far on all his pitches and Brandon Belt doesn't have an extra-base hit. Those latter two items can be viewed as reasons the Giants can turn things around -- along with the eventual return of Hunter Pence -- but they are already six games behind the Dodgers.

Oh, the pitching matchup of the week: On Wednesday, we get Clayton Kershaw versus Bumgarner.

2. Rookie watch: Kris Bryant, Carlos Rodon, Joc Pederson

Though Bryant arrived to much attention last Friday and struck out three times in his debut, I was impressed that he drew three walks in his second game on Saturday, showing a quick adjustment to laying off the off-speed pitches the Padres were feeding him. Though his first two hits on Saturday were a soft blooper to the outfield and an infield single (he showed some decent speed running to first), I still like the approach. I expect his first home run for the Chicago Cubs will come this week.

Across town, the Chicago White Sox have called up left-hander Carlos Rodon last year's third overall pick in the draft. After an impressive spring training, he fanned 13 in 10 innings at Triple-A and will initially work out of the bullpen. As Christina Kahrl wrote here, though Rodon will initially give the Sox a reliever who can provide multiple innings in relief, it shouldn't be too long before he enters the rotation in place of Hector Noesi or John Danks.

Pederson has been with the Los Angeles Dodgers and is quietly hitting .289/.438/.553, with two home runs and four doubles in 12 games. I like the power he generates from an easy swing, and though the strikeouts are a concern -- 17 already -- he has drawn 10 walks (although three were intentional). Don Mattingly has been batting him seventh or eighth to help ease him in, and though the high strikeout rate means he probably won't hit .289 all season, the patience at the plate means he's likely to produce an above-average OBP. He has also looked good in center field. Bryant will have his work cut out for him in the Rookie of the Year race.

3. The Ron Roenicke watch

And by "watch" we don't mean a special giveaway at a Milwaukee Brewers game. Roenicke's club is 2-10 and it's been a legitimate 2-10: They are last in the NL in runs and next-to-last in runs allowed. They have hit three home runs in 12 games after ranking fifth in the league a year ago. Jonathan Lucroy will hit better than .167, but Aramis Ramirez's slow start (.140, no walks, no home runs) is a cause for concern given his age. Meanwhile, the rotation outside of Jimmy Nelson has been a disaster. Roenicke's time as manager might be running short.

4. Who are these Detroit Tigers?

Shane Greene is 3-0. Jose Iglesias is batting .436. J.D. Martinez has five home runs. Anthony Gose is hitting .393. They haven't blown a save. They are second (!) in the majors in defensive runs saved. Shortstop Iglesias and center fielder Gose are each at +3 DRS so far. Hey, maybe the Tigers have a team instead of a collection of stars. They are 10-2 and the current homestand continues with series against the Yankees and Indians.

5. Series of the week: New York Mets at New York Yankees

The Mets enter the week at 10-3 and are riding an eight-game win streak. The Yankees enter the week riding the hot bat of ... Alex Rodriguez. The Mets, however, will be without David Wright (hamstring) and now catcher Travis d'Arnaud (fractured hand after being hit by a pitch on Sunday), who leads the team in RBIs. Regardless, the Mets are stealing the headlines in the New York tabloids, and a big week against the Braves and Yankees will solidify the view that they might finally be contenders. A-Rod is hitting .316/.447/.711 and is tied for second in the AL in walks. Give him this: The guy is a smart hitter and pitchers will have to earn their outs against him. Matt Harvey faces CC Sabathia on Saturday.