Before I talk about the Giants, let’s take note of the latest on George Mitchell’s farce:
…. Possibly fearing another leak of confidential medical records to the government, Major League Baseball players have decided not to allow former Sen. George Mitchell’s staff access to anonymous records for his steroids probe, according to several lawyers familiar with the negotiations.
Oh, you mean, like when the players agreed to the anonymous survey tests that are now the subject of a lawsuit because the government has seized them in an effort to find out who tested positive? You mean, like that kind of confidential breach of trust?
On to the Giants….
The Rockies beat them 5-3. Noah Lowry pitched well enough to win, but the bullpen (again) and his defense (again) failed him. That’s becoming a common refrain, something Sabean and Bochy must be worrying about. Add in the 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position, as Ray Durham continues to struggle behind Bonds, and you’re gonna get your third straight loss.
Durham’s the main reason the Giants are having such a hard time scoring. By hitting behind Bonds, he’s coming up with a lot of baserunners; so it’s his at-bats that mean the most. He’s currently running out there with a .273/.336/.388 line, which is just not gonna get it done. He’s had 63 at-bats with runners on, and he’s gotten 18 hits, with just one home run. With runners on 1st and 2nd, and 1st and 3rd, he’s managed just 5 hits in 22 at-bats. He simply needs to do much better. He is the rally maker (or killer), now that Bonds’ walks are starting to pile up.
And last night, in the sixth, Kelsko walked, and was promptly thrown out in a botched hit and run. Now, I understand that Klesko’s fast for a guy his size, but he’s not fast. Bochy has got to stop running us out of innings. The next two guys reached, and we would have had a tie game if Klesko would have just sat there at first. I’ll say it again, THE GIANTS ARE OLD AND SLOW. Running like this is costing us runs, and wins. It has to stop. The Giants are 15 for 26 stealing. That’s 58%. Add in the 30 double plays we’ve grounded into, and that’s 41 lost baserunners, which is more than one per game, for you mathematically challenged fans. We don’t have the hitters to make up for that.
On the injury front, Dave Roberts (.216/.283/.371) will have arthroscopic surgery on his elbow, and head to the DL, for something like four to six weeks. This hurts the Giants defensively, but Roberts has done little to dispel my concern that he’s just not an everyday player. He’s been just slightly better than Linden and/or Neikro, who just finished playing their way out of the organization. Sure he’s 6 for 7 stealing, but the guy’s been on base only 30 times in 35 games, and he’s on pace to score about 70 runs, which is horrific.
He’s led off an inning 46 times, and reached base just 12 times, a .260 OBP. That’s really really bad, like Neifi Perez-bad, but, really, WHAT DID SABEAN EXPECT? He’s never scored 100 runs in a season, never mind that; his career-high is 80! His career OBP is just .342, which, for a leadoff man is completely inadequate. Of the 16 everyday leadoff hitters in the NL, Roberts is dead last in essentially every category, walks, runs, hits, OBP, average, you name it.
He’s a good defensive centerfielder, maybe even very good; but he’s a #8 hitter, not a leadoff man; but that’s hardly the only issue with the offense. Even if we figured out who to leadoff, we still need another power hitter to hit behind Bonds. Not to mention, Vizquel seems like he might have hit the wall, age-wise, so we need to figure out who’s gonna hit in the #2 slot. I guess Aurilia would be OK there, and maybe we could put Durham back in the leadoff slot, (maybe that’ll get him going again, I don’t know); but your best hitter’s supposed to bat third, and right now we’ve got Aurilia there, (.267/.315/.400) WHICH IS ABSURD.
The entire lineup needs to be reworked, but we have about six guys who should bat 6th, 7th or 8th, and essentially no one to go 1, 2, 3. We’re scoring 4.3 runs a game, which isn’t gonna get it done. No team is gonna run out an ERA much below 4 for a whole season, I mean, if we can finish the year anywhere around 4 we’re doing a great job. That means we’ve gotta find another run per game. Can we get Miguel Cabrera? Can we get a real leadoff hitter, a guy with a nice .400 OBP? Something’s gotta change.
Oh, and I guess I may as well tell you now. The Giants run of good pitching can’t continue like this. The recent trend of giving up 6 runs a game is a portend of things to come. We’re in the bottom five in strikeouts, and the top five in walks allowed, which is a devastatingly bad combination. In my opinion, it’s Rags, and the way he’s got these pitchers approaching the hitters; but I’m not opposed to the idea that some of these relievers are the problem, too. Benitez has been erratic all season, but he’s not alone. As a team, the Giants have only 8 saves, and according to ESPN’s stats, just 3 blown saves, but I can remember at least that many off the top of my head, (let me check).
Actually, we’ve blown a late-inning lead three times, twice the lead was 3 or more runs, and we’ve been tied going into the 8th twice and lost, so it seems worse than it is, I guess. Nonetheless, unless the pitchers quit nibbling and start going after guys, the team ERA is gonna keep going up.
UPDATE: El Lefty Malo noticed that, due to the season-ending surgery that BJ Ryan just underwent, the Blue Jays need a closer. I think we should do what Malo suggested, and see if they would like to get their hands on Benitez. Maybe we could swap Benitez for Vernon Wells…..
Sorry, couldn’t help myself. Seriously, the Jays have no outfielder worth trading for other than Wells, so any deal would have to be a multi-team trade. Alex also says the Tigers need a set-up man, so how about the Tigers? Not really. Both teams have good outfielders, but no one they could afford to give up. Who does? How about seeing if we could pull off a three-team deal with the Blue Jays or the Tigers? Well, Minnesota seems to facing the very real possibility that Torii Hunter is leaving at the end of the season. Well, Benitez is a free agent at the end of the season, too; and the only way Sabean signs him to an extension is if I can’t get my hands on a sniper rifle.
All that’s left is to see what the Tigers or the Jays could bring to the table for the Twins. What do the Twins need? Oh boy….. The Twins have one second basemen one the DL, and the other is listed as day to day, (not to mention both are horrible). So the Twins need a second baseman. Meanwhile, the Tigers have two, Omar Infante and Placido Planco. Infante is putting up a .333/.333/.424 line, while Polanco is running out at a sterling .348/.386/.415. Infante’s the backup, but he’s younger and cheaper, so both players have selling points.
Memo to Brian Sabean:
Armando Benitez to the Detroit Tigers for either Infante or Polanco, (whichever one you can get the Tigers to give up and the Twins to want), and then trade the second basemen for Hunter. Don’t worry about sending me a finders fee or anything like that. Just MAKE IT HAPPEN!! If Hunter loves it here, you can decide if you want to resign him at the end of the year. Meanwhile, Hunter immediately becomes our second best player, and solves our outfield worries with Robers gone for some six weeks. A projected lineup could look something like this: