The G-Men are out of the race and playing for honor
The Giants are now 21 games out of first place and tied with the Padres for last place in the NL West. With so many division games left in September (another series with the Padres and two series with the Dodgers, one there and one here) along with the AL East series against the Yankees the boys in Orange and Black have a chance to be a spoiler for the Yankees, and to salvage some pride against the Dodgers. The goal right now is to avoid being the second team in modern MLB history to win the world series and be last in their division the next year. The last team that did that was the 1998 Florida Marlins, who tanked the next year because all of team stars were sold off (that’s how we got Rob Nen BTW). We don’t have that excuse (it’s virtually the same team) so it’s very important to take some September games and to pull out of the cellar.
We should be able to pull ahead of the Padres and maybe the Rockies, who are only three games up on us. The Snakes are probably out of reach, at least based on tonight’s performance where Parra has thrown something like 4 base runner’s out with awesome throws from right field, and he should have gotten Panda at home. The Snakes are for real.
The Panda hit three home runs yesterday against the Padres and is looking good tonight offensively and defensively against the Snakes. He’s lost 20 pounds and is now eating much better (its reported that his brother now cooks all of his meals).
The rookies and September call-up’s are here so we can start to get a look at the future. Heath Hembree (who got Wilson’s number 38, a message from Mike Murphy), Juan Perez, Nick Noonan, Peguero, Adrianza (reputedly a shortstop as good or better than Crawford) and 11 year minor league veteran Johnny Monell (Crash Davis?). Angel Pagan is back and is looking like his old self. That is good for next year.
Hunter Pence is solid as a rock and we all pray he gets resigned (he’s a free agent this year). Buster Posey is performing at an MVP level (he plays tomorrow night) and his back up Hector Sanchez came off the DL and is starting to show the power that the G-Men expected from him. Scutaro and Crawford are playing like the pros they are and is it wonderful or what to see Belt hitting in the three-hole?
The starting pitchers are starting to look like Giants pitchers again. Matt Cain comes off the DL Sunday and may start, Vogelsong has had several good starts (although he got shelled in the 5th inning tonight). Madison Bumgarner is the Giants best pitcher but is simply not getting any run support and Gaudin is rehabbing from carpel tunnel syndrome. We may see him before the end of the year. Finally Timmy looks like he has solved his mental issues and is actually pitching. Lincecum is a Giant and may he stay one.
The relievers are decent but not up to last year. We haven’t seen much of Romo because there haven’t been many save situations (same with Casilla), and Affeldt is still on the DL. It’s hard to really evaluate relievers when the team is behind in most games and all they are playing for is a hold. There will be more about this in the closing blog when we see how September went.
The G-Men simply cannot hit with runners in scoring position or, it seems, with runners on base at all. We are all really tired of seeing inning opening triples and doubles and stranding the runners in game after game. In the Padres game on Tuesday the G-Men had 13 hits and stranded 13 runners. That was beyond painful to watch. I understand that Sabean chewed out the entire coaching staff until after midnight. They didn’t deserve the chewing out but the players sure did.
What is also painful to watch is Jean Machi. That man always allows inherited runners to score. I wonder why the starting pitchers tolerate it.
The G-Men have always been a finesse team, which is fine if you can get the timely hits and make the great defensive plays - - but they aren’t doing that right now. I don’t know why and I suspect that the Giants brain trust doesn’t know why either. My personal theory is that there is a coven of witches and warlocks in LA somewhere that has cast a spell and our job, like our children did with Tinkerbelle, is to believe and defeat the bad karma.
I’m not sure that this is really a negative but we have certainly seen the last of Barry Zito. In a way it’s a shame because he is a good man, was a good teammate and is a class act. I don’t feel too sorry for him because he got perhaps the biggest contract in Giants history for someone not named Barry Bonds, and he married Miss Missouri. Adios Barry, I’ll always honor number 75.
What will the off-season bring?
Perhaps the most important events will be free agency signings. Judging by the KNBR commercial quoting Brian Sabean saying “2 Cy Young’s, 2 World Series and the total love of fans – why wouldn’t Lincecum resign?” the Giants campaign to get Lincecum to re-sign has already started. How much money will be thrown at Tim? No one knows but I bet it will be a lot. Same with Pence, who is lusted after by most of the NL teams and a lot of the AL teams.
Next year the biggest need is for a power hitting left fielder. Torres is not coming back and maybe not Blanco (although he is a decent 4th outfielder). Who is out there (other than Barry Bonds – wouldn’t that be a hoot)? Time will tell.
The last blog of the season (before the Dodgers series) will dissect the team chemistry of the team that shall not be named which, it seems, is a pretty dysfunctional group of (unfortunately) very talented ballplayers.
To be continued…
Ciao, and GO GIANTS!