So much for the fantasy; Bonds leading the Giants back from the dead. What can you say? The horrible collapse by Armando Benitez absolutely took the winds out of the sails of a team beginning to believe. Now Giants fans know the pain of Mets fans, or Orioles fans, or even Yankee fans; Benitez can look like a million bucks on one pitch, and ten cents on the next. As Barry Bloom writes, the last two blown saves were only the tip of the iceberg:
…. It’s not significant games lost to injuries by veterans Barry Bonds, Moises Alou, J.T. Snow, Armando Benitez and Jason Schmidt. It’s the 23 blown saves — 51 over the last two seasons — that spells out why this team hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2003.
Benitez was doing the same thing before he came back (amazingly) from his horrible injury.
On April 12th, the team was 4-2, and he blew the first game of a rare, two-game series, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) in 1 2/3 innings. The Giants proceeded to lose 9 of 13, ensuring a slow start for the second year in a row. Blown saves derial even the best teams. It’s hard, regardless of how many games you play during the long season, to rebound from losing a game that was so close to a victory. Add in the fact that the Padres loss was worth two games with just 17 to play, and it seems every time the Giants were within striking distance of a winning streak, a blown save knocked them off the rail.
23 blown saves in one season, on the heels of 28 blown saves a year ago, I mean, man, that has to be exhausting. No wonder the team couldn’t absorb the losses of Bonds and Alou and Snow and the collapse and loss of team leader and winningest-lefty-in-SF Giants-history Kirk Rueter and Jerome Williams and the inexplicable faltering of Jason Schmidt, and the lost first half for Ray Durham and a 6 total home runs from Snow and Alfonzo, and Alou’s strange managing habits and the never-ending BALCO controversy.