Archive for April, 2007
Another game, another one-run loss. For the third time in the series, the Giants lost with the tying run on, and another 9 men left on base. The Giants left a total of something like 35 men on base in the three games with the D’backs, which speaks volumes to their ability to get on base; but they have failed miserably to even get the occasional fly ball needed to score the one run that would have been the difference.
Which is my earlier point; their hitters spark no fear in their opponents. The D’backs relievers attacked and attacked every hitter but Bonds; with no concern for the possibility of a three-run home run, or even a big double They went right after every hitter, fearlessly. We need another hitter. How about prying Andruw Jones from the Braves?
The Giants lost to the Diamondbacks again, this time by a 5-4 score, as the bullpen let Matt Cain down. After Cain left with a 4-1 lead, having held the D’backs to one hit through six innings, Special Agent Jack Taschner combined with Vinnie Chulk to melt down in the seventh. The key hit of the game, and perhaps the series so far, came on a terrible two-strike slider that Taschner threw to Miguel Montero, immediately after Mike Krukow noticed that Montero had no chance to catch up to Taschner’s fastball. Montero dribbled it between Durham and Klesko to score the D’backs second run, put the tying run on base, and forced Bochy to bring in Chulk, who promptly ended the rally with a first-pitch, batting practice sinker that, after failing to sink, flew about 450 feet.
Reading the Chron, I got the feeling that Bochy and the Giants felt like the D’backs got a little lucky, and the relievers made a couple of mistakes. The mistake was the pitch call by Molina, a mistake so obvious the announcers calling the game saw it coming.
UPDATE: It was between Aurilia and Klesko. Durham had the day off. Doh! Thanks to Eddie for the correction.
Another is in the steroids spotlight, this time a former batboy for the Mets. Besides the simple issues to be found in these cases, I wonder how these guys come to the conclusion that cooperating is the answer, given the paltry sentences most of the people convicted end up with. What are their lawyers thinking? Victor Conte, the so-called “mastermind” of the BALCO scandal, got 9 months, for crying out loud. This batboy was threatened with 25 years?
Anyway, with more names coming out, what former Met do you think is the most likely to be outed?
Ray Durham stranded 8 baserunners, after the D’backs intentionally walked Bonds three times, leaving the tying run in scoring position in the ninth, on the way to a streak-breaking 3-2 loss. Zito pitched well enough to win, but the Giants were 0 for 10 with runners on. ‘Nuff said.
The streak was nice, but we still need a hitter. I’m not sure who he is, or where he’d play; but we need someone who can actually hit home runs behind Bonds. They’ll still walk him, that’s not the point. The point is that we have no one but Bonds who can go yard. You can’t sustain winning baseball scoring the fewest runs in the league.
The great writer died this past week. It is only fitting that he should be acknowledged by everyone, in all walks of life, writer or reader. He knew what to do with words, and when he focused his attention on a topic or a person, we all grew smarter. Here’s a taste of what he wrote about Bonds when Barry was on his way to 73:
…. There’s a wonderful story I know about a Yankee player of the ’20s (not Ruth), who was extremely hostile to the media throughout his career. And then late in his career, when his skills were fading, he was afraid of being cut loose.
So he started playing up to the beat reporters, hoping that they would write something nice about him and how good he still was, and it might induce management to keep him around for one or two more seasons. And one sportswriter, aware of what he was doing, wrote, “He only stopped to say hello when it was time to say goodbye.”
That’s the way I feel about the rehabilitation of Barry Bonds.
Or is it?
After last night’s gutty, come from behind, 5-4 win, which completed the revenge sweep; the Giants find themselves in a three way tie for first place, something even the most die-hard fan couldn’t have imagined ten days ago. They have pitched superbly, (notwithstanding Lowry and Ortiz’s struggles the last two nights), they have hit just enough, and they have played stellar defense. And that’s what it takes to go on a streak, a little of everything, including luck.
Whether it was luck or stupidity when the Dodgers tried their ill-fated suicide is debatable, with Ortiz on the ropes, there was no reason to even consider a trick play, but the move backfired. Ortiz got out of the jam, and the G-men slowly made their way back. On to Arizona, for some more NL West action.
…. So what do we make of (Bonds’) fantastic start?
We’re in the third year of serious drug testing, and no steroids or other PEDs turned up in Bonds. He allegedly tested positive for speed, but most don’t put uppers in the same category as steroids. There is the possibility that Bonds uses something that isn’t detectable. (Other than HGH. I hear now that HGH doesn’t build strength.) But we also need to consider the possibility that the test are correct, and Bonds is free of perfomance enhancers.
In other words, we have to consider that a forty-two year old man with two surgically repaired knees and a surgically repaired elbow can still hit with the all-time greats. If this is true, if he can put up numbers like this old and disabled, how much did performance enhancers really help him?
Hmmmm… A well-thought out, reasonable approach to the Bonds question. Now I’m amazed. ;-)
Leave it to David to come up with the most clear-headed ideas on the subject.
The Giants won their sixth straight, beating the Dodgers 5-3 behind another strong pitching performance by Matt Morris, lots of hits, and a stumbling, bumbling DL (didn’t lose) from Armando Benitez. Special Agent Jack Taschner came in, faced one batter, and got the biggest out of the game, (actually, outs, since it was a sweet double play with the tying run on base in the bottom of the eighth), and Omar Vizquel celebrated his 40th birthday with several superb defensive plays.
UPDATE: One of my loyal readers wondered why I’m giving Benitez such a hard time, as the two hits allowed were of the “seeing eye” variety. Well, first of all, they weren’t. Kent’s single was a clean knock, but that’s not my concern. My concern is that Benitez is missing his catcher’s glove, sometimes by as much as two feet; as opposed to, say, Taschner, who is exhibiting pinpoint control right now. Watching the two pitchers is a study in contrast. Taschner exhibits none of the ticks and facial quirks, none of the huffing and puffing and walking around the mound and all of the histrionics that have become commonplace for Benitez.
In point of fact, Benitez seems to be barely in control of his pitches, (not to mention his emotions). He is getting through the ninth by the slimmest of margins, and was lucky last night. That is what I am seeing. How many times have we seen the Giants completely derailed by a disastrous blown save? How close were we to seeing that happen last night? How much longer can we walk this tightrope?
Bochy has already indicated that he is losing patience with Pedro Feliz’s inability to lay off the pitch in the dirt, thank God. One can only hope that we don’t have to actually lose games for him to grow tired of the circus saves Benitez seems addicted to.
As in, here’s another puff piece by the local media, this time courtesy of Henry Schulman:
…. The 34-year-old lightning rod has allowed two runs in 5.3 innings with five walks and five strikeouts. He has made ninth innings interesting, but he has done the job.
“He’s getting better and better,” Bochy said. “Mechanically, he looks better.”
Yeah, he looks better. He’s not performing better, but he looks better.
Look, I’m not interested in spending all my time bashing the guys who have to come up with something, anything, to write about all season long. It’s a job I’m not the least bit interested in, and somebody’s got to do it; but, come on. Benitez has been getting out of the ninth on luck and guile, simple as that. There’s no way he can sustain this kind of success long-term, not with the kind of success hitters are having against him.
He’s faced 26 batters so far, and 10 of them have reached base, 5 walks and 5 hits. That’s not performing, simple as that. Stroking his ego is one thing, and if the manager wants to do that behind closed doors, as a strategy for getting the most out of a player, fine. But Schulman trying to tell the fans that is a complete joke. You’re telling me that I have to listen to this dribble?
…. “The manager knows what he has,” Benitez said. “He knows what you can do when you’re healthy. He doesn’t need to say anything. My confidence is real good. He has confidence in me to do well and I don’t want to disappoint him. Everybody in this room believes in me, these guys know how I pitch when I’m healthy. It’s more important when you have a group that supports you and is behind you. It’s great when you know everybody has your back. You don’t want to disappoint the guys in the dugout, yourself and the people in the stands, too.”
You want to talk about a reliever who is performing? Let’s talk about Special Agent Jack Taschner. Taschner has faced 17 hitters, and 4 have reached base, one home run and 3 walks. That’s right, he’s given up one hit so far this year. The difference between the two pitchers is striking, given how little each has worked:
Taschner .071/.222/.286 .514 OPS against
Benitez .238/.385/.476 .861 OPS against
Come on. If it’s not a matter of time before Bochy makes the switch, it’s either because he’s an idiot, or management won’t let him.
I’ve made some changes to the format of the left sidebar, as you may have noticed. Thought I’d simplify it a bit, and eliminate some stuff. More changes coming, as my tech team is working on moving me to WordPress, and a redesign, so if you are listed anywhere on the site and your link isn’t working, get me an email with the corrected address. Also, if you’ve asked to be linked and I failed to get it done, now’s the time to ask again.
As for the 25 man roster, I scrapped it in favor of a simpler, lineup card. Everyone who used to be on the bench will now be headlining my More Baseball section. Sorry if anyone is offended.
I’m not done yet, so if you have a suggestion that would make OBM easier to use or read, let me know.