…. Do the Giants trade away a starting pitcher for a bat that can get them closer to that 5.2 runs they had in 04 or even the more modest 4.8 that got them to the seventh game? Again, I have no idea.
I do. Currently, they are scoring 4.4 runs per game and allowing 4.15. That’s not nearly enough of a difference for a team to be a serious contender. That would run out to 709 runs this season, while allowing 670. You’ve gotta outscore the opposition by a 100-150 runs, minimum, to have a real chance at 90-plus wins; and more importantly, a championship. This is a .500 team right now.
In ’02, they scored 4.8 and allowed 3.8. In ’04, the offense was the best it’s been since I’ve been covering the team, scoring an outstanding 850 runs (5.2 per game), but they allowed 4.75. In both of those years, the team had the offense to be a legitimate contender, (’04 was a lost season because the Giants bullpen blew 28 saves that season, allowed 271 runs(!) –100 more than the Cardinals– and posted a collective 4.53 ERA, third worst in the NL).
No matter how you look at it, unless you go on some miracle run, like the Dodgers in ’88, you can’t seriously expect a team to win enough of the time outscoring their opponents by so little. It just doesn’t happen. Look at the Red Sox right now. They’ve score 267 runs and allowed 188. They’re already almost 100 runs on the plus side. The Mets look like the class of the NL right now, and they’ve scored 244 and allowed 187; that’s more than a run per game.
Winning baseball requires that you are better than your opponents over the long haul. That’s one of the reasons batting average captured the imagination of the fan and the sportswriter for so long. One game, one week is nothing in baseball. What do you do over the course of a month, two months, a year, that’s how success is measured.
We’re 50 games in. The bullpen has cost the team about 3 or 4 wins so far, but the offense has cost them more. The margin is too thin. Our starters have posted the third best ERA in the NL, but are just 3 games over .500. The pen –for those of you who think I’m being too hard on Benitez and company– has posted a 4.15 ERA, a full 2 runs worse than the Padres. We’re tenth in runs scored, a full run per game behind the Mets and the Phillies. You want to know why the team is treading water? It’s the offense. You think Matt Cain would’ve liked a run or two here and there? How about Lowry?
Morris is perhaps the most tradable commodity from the Giants perspective, if they’re gonna trade a starter, but I agree that there’s no such thing as a surplus of starters. Trade Benitez for a bat (which I’ve already proposed), and make Cain the closer. Or if that’s too radical, make Taschner the closer, or Hennessey. Or leave everything the way it is and trade minor leaguers for a hitter. The team needs about an extra 100 runs. It can’t be that hard to get.