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…. Stumbling around

That’s what the Giants have been doing for most of the second half of the season. Win one, lose one has been their modus operandi since they finished that first half surge of .750 baseball. Yesterday’s 9-3 loss to Atlanta was the second Schmidt turn in a row that the team allowed 9 runs, only this time it was Jason and not Wayne Franklin getting pasted.

The good news is that the Cubs continued to lose, although the Padres and Dodgers wouldn’t return the favor. Actually, the good news was that Schmidt feels fine and should return to form. He reported that, if anything, he held back yesterday, something that shouldn’t be a problem in his next start.

Ricky Ledee broke a 17 at-bat hitless streak with a hit yesterday. Add that to his 22 at-bat streak when he first got here, and the player who we traded Felix Rodriguez for is 4 for 39 since we got him. That’s unbelievable, what a waste of one of the only real tradable commodities we had. Ainsworth for fat-boy Ponson, Ortiz for already out of baseball Moss, Nathan for Double Play AJ (major-league leading 22 double plays and counting)…. Sabean’s on a roll these last two seasons, and it ain’t a good one.

More an AJ Pierzynski, the SF Chronicle’s Mark May has column in which he attempts to spin AJ’s season as historically positive. In May’s laughable effort, he compares AJ to Yogi Berra, Tony Gwynn and George Brett. The fact that Pierzynksi has only struck out 18 times is laudable, other than that, AJ’s season is a bust. Here’s the Stats.com scouting report:

No way do you want your Little Leaguer watching Pierzynski’s plate habits. The catcher is overly aggressive, frequently swinging at balls well out of the strike zone. Unlike his impatient teammates, Pierzynski generally hits the bad pitches at which he’s hacking. He is a gap hitter who uses all fields. While he almost doubled his home-run total in 2003, he still hasn’t learned to pull inside pitches on a consistent basis. Team officials believed he could develop into a 25-plus home-run hitter.

Here’s my scouting report: There is no reason to throw him a strike. His career totals of 75 walks in 1803 at-bats (vs. his 57 GIDP) demonstrate that this catcher, (catcher!) has no command of the strike zone whatsoever. Add in the fact that he runs so slow he’s going backwards, and that he has essentially no power for a 6′ 3″ 245 pound athlete, and were I an opposing player, I’d punch my pitcher in the mouth if he threw him a strike.

What would the Giants record be of they still had Nathan and Torrealba had 400 at bats? Here’s the ESPN 162 game averages of the two catchers:

Torrealba 455 AB 118 H 26 2B 5 3B 9 HR 62 RBI 41 BB .260/.327/.400 SLG .727 OPS
Pierzinski 548 AB 164 H 40 2B 4 3B 11 HR 80 RBI 23 BB .300/.341/.448 .789 OPS

It’s not hard to imagine Torrealba’s production matching or even exceeding AJ’s if he were given the opportunity to play everyday. It’s also possible that he would be worse; that given the chance, teams would expose him, and then where would the Giants be? They’d probably be in better shape than they are now, that’s where. If you think the extra 40 hits and 2 home runs AJ’s contributing over Torrealba are worth Nathan, you ain’t here, that’s for sure. Add in the fact that AJ almost certainly won’t be here next season, and you have one more quality player traded away for nothing in return.

And while we’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt the Giants too much to sit Marquis Grissom against a right-handed pitcher now and again. Lost in the excitement of his .300 average last season was the fact that he gave up 100 points of OBP against righties, and that he hit home runs at four times the rate against lefties than righties. This year, he’s got 8 home runs in 114 at-bats against lefties and 9 home runs in 344 at-bats against righties. He’s giving up over 200 points of OPS in the platoon split as well, and he’s not doing as well against lefties as he did last season. His July and August production has flat-lined, as he is flailing away at just about any pitch he sees. Jeez, another guy with less than 30 walks, is Sabean just trying to prove that Billy Beane is insane? How many hitters can the Giants accumulate who simply have no idea of what the strike zone looks like?

Boy, am I bitchy today or what?


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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
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