Archive for the 'Pablo Sandoval' Category
Sorry for the lack of posts.
As the SF Giants head into their defense of last year’s World Championship, I’ve been paying attention on the periphery, as work and family have kept me on my toes. I’m happy to see Brandon Belt looking like he’s ready for a breakout season. He could help alleviate some of the drop off that’s expected from players like Scutaro, who can’t possibly repeat last seasons scorching .360 batting average as a Giant.
But reading today’s little piece about Pablo Sandoval “accepting” his body weight for the next couple of seasons makes me more than a little worried:
…. Pablo Sandoval came to San Francisco Giants camp fat this year, like he does pretty much every year, because there are two truths about Pablo Sandoval, and one of them is he does not do skinny.
The other is that he’s a remarkable hitter, preternaturally gifted like only a handful of players, maybe less. At 5-foot-11 (give or take – no, take – two inches) and 262 pounds (give or take – no, give – 20 pounds), Sandoval hits everything everywhere anytime anywhere. If anyone in baseball today is going to stroke a single off a pitch that bounces before it reaches home plate, it’s him.
…. “I’ve got this year and next year to change all the things,” Sandoval said. “It’s going to take me a while, but I can do it. I know I can do it. You need to learn. You need to grow up. You need to step up and know the difference between what you can do and what you can’t.”
Yeah, well, I’m a bit skeptical. As the article points out, Pablo’s missed at least 45 games each of the last two seasons, and whether you think the weight is the reason or not, allowing yourself to just walk around 40 pounds overweight all the time…. as a professional athlete, that’s just something Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy must be concerned about.
You’re talking about defending a championship, every team in the league is coming after you. After what happened in 2011, everyone associated with the Giants has to be thinking about heading into the season with a different attitude. Roll with it might work when you’re trying to win a title, it doesn’t work when you’re defending it.
Hat Tip to Baseball Musings
Tom Verducci chose the 2010 San Francisco Giants as his Sportsmen of the Year:
…. In three homes over 52 seasons did San Francisco follow this serial in wait for a championship. The Giants lacked the historical and literary embellishments of Brooklyn, Boston and Chicago, and so their suffering went underplayed, though much suffering did they know. Five times in those years they played a Game 6 or Game 7 with a chance to win the series, and lost every one of those games, getting shut out in three of those five potential clinchers.
The agony began with a 1-0 loss to the Yankees in Game 7 of the 1962 World Series, which ended when Willie McCovey lined out to second base with the tying and winning runs in scoring position. In the 1987 NLCS, up three games to two, they were shut out in back-to-back losses to St. Louis. And in the 2002 World Series, up 5-0 on the Angels with one out and nobody on in the seventh, they managed the biggest collapse in a potential clincher in series history, followed by a 4-1 whimper of an elimination in Game 7.
This is all you need to know about the cruelty of Giants culture: Charlie Brown is a Giants fan. Two months after McCovey’s lineout, Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz, from Santa Rosa, drew a strip in which Charlie and Linus sit brooding silently for three panels, only to have Charlie wail in the fourth, “Why couldn’t McCovey have hit the ball just three feet higher?”
…. Not only did the Giants give their fans a winner, they also gave them an unforgettable one, one with a Playbill’s worth of characters who exuded joy and thankfulness about what was happening. They are now characters, and not unlike the misfits and urchins Dickens himself gave us, who are established eternally.
Wilson and that frightfully awful beard. Aubrey Huff and the red thong. Lincecum and the hair. Cody Ross, the greatest in-season claim in the history of waivers. The prenaturally cool Buster Posey. The unflappable Matt Cain. The very roundness of Pablo Sandoval and Juan Uribe. The redemption of prodigal Bay Area son Pat Burrell. Watching these Giants, you half expected Jean Valjean to pop up in the on-deck circle at any moment.
Well done, Tom.
Freddie Sanchez and Andres Torres were a combined 5 for 42 coming into tonight. Add in their 1 for 6 tonight, and the top of the Giants lineup is an offense-killing 6 for 48 (.125 average), all singles. Is it time for a change at the top of the lineup?
UPDATE: You don’t cut that throw off!
UPDATE: Well, errors, allowing the pitcher to get a hit with two strikes, pitchers missing their spots by a foot, no one ion the lineup other than Cody Ross hitting at all…. All in all, the Giants got their split. It’s on Cain, now.
I might also mention that maybe Torres needs to switch to a lighter bat. Just maybe.
UPDATE: It’s gotten to the point that they should just stop using Romo…. Uribe is a black hole…. Sandoval is utterly worthless…. The team as a whole could hardly look worse at the plate….
They’re lucky to be where they are.
Apparently, the Giants brain trust is actually exhibiting something resembling sanity. I just saw that the Giants were gonna swap Cain and Sanchez, allowing Cain to start Game Three (on I’m guessing four days rest?) at home, and having Sanchez pitch on his normal rest?
….There’s not much difference between Cain and Sanchez when it comes to who pitches better on longer rest, but Cain will wind up with 10 days off between appearances, double the norm. Sanchez will have six days of rest.
So, it appears it is simply a move to split up the lefty-righty starters, which (actually) makes sense. Anything you can do to derail the Phillies offense, which is outstanding.
Here’s Baggardly, for what it’s worth:
…. Plenty of reasons why this makes sense:
– Sanchez, not Cain will have to deal with Citizen’s Bank Ballpark, which is kind of a bandbox. The Phillies hit 94 homers at home this year, compared to 72 on the road…and Cain is slightly more of a flyball pitcher than Sanchez.
— Sanchez has been flat out better the last few weeks. He was 4-1 with a 1.01 ERA in Sept/Oct, compared to Cain’s 3-1, 3.29. Sanchez also struck out 11 and gave up just two hits over 7 1/3 in a 3-2 Game 3 win in Atlanta (although Cain was very good in Game 2, as well).
— Bochy’s also mentioned that he wanted to “break up the righties.”
— Sanchez won in Philly in August, allowing one earned and two hits over eight innings.
I’m trying to arrange to go to one of the games. At the moment, it looks like the Wednesday game would be the most likely, but, until I get to the weekend, I really can’t say. Anybody who has an idea where I might get some good seats for me and one friend for any one of these three games, send me an email or a comment. I’d appreciate it.
This has got to be one of the greatest in-season turnarounds in baseball history. A team that is essentially 35% different from the team that started the season, a team that was six games back in mid-August, a team that lost it’s offensive catalyst with two weeks to go in the season….
That team is now one win away from clinching the NL West, and possibly hosting a first round playoff series.
Oh, and by the way…. this team is featuring possibly the greatest young pitching staff of the last twenty years.
So, Giants’ fans…. Did you wish for the team to flounder so you could usher in a new regime? Or, did you do what I did, and stupidly scream, cajole and root for a win, night after night?
12 consecutive innings without a run.
I don’t remember the last time Huff didn’t have a 1-2 count. I don’t remember the last time Sandoval swung at a strike, and took a ball, instead of the other way around.
UPDATE: 14 straight. Eugenio Velkez and Mike Fontenont batting 1 and 2. Unbelievable.
UPDATE: 17 consecutive innings. Wow. At least we won.
I looked up Huff, he’s batting .250 since the start of August, with just 4 home runs in 148 at bats. Is he just exhausted? It sure seems that he has faced a ton of two strike at bats lately, ( I have no idea how to look that up without going through his game log, and I ain’t got the time for that). If that’s true, I’d guess that pitchers have either figured out he was taking a lot more pitches than he had historically, or he has stopped doing so (or a combination of the two, obviously). Either way, there’s no time for rest, so he’s gonna have to get it done whether he’s exhausted or whatever.
As for Pablo, after a sizzling August, he’s back to his old, undisciplined hackers mentality. He’s 3 for his last 32, and 0 for his last 15. He left something like 8 or 9 men on base last night, almost single-handedly deciding the game. Forget about how fat he is. He looks like he has no idea what he’s doing at the plate at all. None. What is Meulens doing with him?
On to the critical series of the year. Four games with the first-place Padres. Two wins isn’t enough. The Giants need to win at least three of four to have a realistic chance of catching San Diego.
Tonight, Matt Cain tries to continue the recent hot stretch by the starters, but the series will boil down to this:
Can the Giants get an early lead on the Padres, and make it stand up? The Padres bullpen has reduced the game to six-inning affair, not unlike the Yankees of 1996, with Mariano Rivera shutting down the seventh and eighth innings, and John Wettland closing out the ninth. If the Giants can get to Garland early tonight, it could set the tone for the whole series.
I’d love to see Sanchez on the bench tonight, maybe a lineup like this would be the way to go:
Or something like that. Maybe start Schierholz and have Guillen as a late inning, men on base pinch hitter. Freddie Sanchez should be the pinch hitter when the bases are empty, and for God’s sake, stop using Ishikawa with men on base. In fact, stop using him as a pinch hitter at all. He’s been cover-your-eyes awful.
It’d be nice if Posey got hot again, but the season might be starting to catch up with him.
Wow. What a stretch of awful baseball.
The Giants have scored 109 runs in 25 games in this month. They have pounded out 26 home runs, and 51 doubles. Of course, it’s been a little feast or famine, because 38 of those runs came in three games. Take those three games out, and it’s a very different story. Then we’re talking about 71 runs in 22 games, which is what a team scores when it is falling out of the race. That’s 3.27 runs per game, and when your pitchers are going through their worst stretch in two seasons, well, you know what’s gonna happen.
The pitching, the starters in particular, has been awful. Overall, they’ve allowed the fourth most run in the league, (127), so scoring 3.27 and allowing 5.08….
This is starting to look like a collapse, the kind that can cost people jobs. Sure, the players should be accountable. But the coaches and managers need to be held accountable, too.
The pitching coach has failed to correct major breakdowns in not one, not two, but three of the team’s young starters for going on five weeks now. The hitting coach has watched as the teams best young hitter endured a ten week homer-less drought, as he essentially swung at every pitch thrown to him for about 225 at-bats. And the manager, well, his failings are worthy of their own article. Allowing Aaron Rowand to stay at the top of the lineup for months wasn’t bad enough. No sooner did he finally get Rowand out of the lineup, he had to put Sanchez in the number two slot and watch as he killed two months worth of rallies. Not benching Sandoval for swinging at every pitch, or for being so fat and out of shape he can’t even bend down on a ground ball. He played the young catcher virtually every day during a staggeringly tough stretch of consecutive games (I think it was 28), until finally, he has broken down, as catchers do when you put them in the lineup for 30 straight days.
The GM? I’ll just point out one thing for now. The amount of money sitting on the bench or on the DL is staggering. Staggering.
Are you listening, Mr. Neukom? Do you really care?
Collapse? Or Playoffs? The matter is out of our hands now.
At the way I love baseball all the time….
Seriously, our friend Ernie thinks I’m drinking the Kool-Aid. Maybe I am:
…. Aubrey Huff was cut loose by Detroit (his 7th team in 9 years) after posting a 43 OPS+. To say his mind wasn’t in the game at the time is an understatement. Andres Torres had been released/free-agented 6 times in his 6 year career before being picked up for the league minimum by the Giants before the 2009 season. He spent most of it enjoying bus rides and economy class flights across the country touring the Pacific Coast League. Pat Burrell and his $9 Million were sent packing unconditionally by Tampa just 7 weeks into the 2010 season. He and his paycheck bopped out an embarrassing .629 / 69 OPS+ during that time, so Tampa decided it had seen enough.
So desperate were the Giants that all three were picked up for nothing, and all three had moved right into starting positions by this June. The heart of the batting order. So much for “Central Planning”. Huff replaced the injured DeRosa. Burrell has replaced the departed 28 year old career minor leaguer John Bowker and Posey has replaced Molina in the lineup but they are still not enough to offset the continuing presence of Aaron Rowand, Freddy Sanchez, and Edgar Renteria. Sandoval is under-performing about as well as Uribe is over-performing and each is still more valuable than the trio of Travis Ishikawa, Eli Whitesides, and Nate Scheirholtz who play merry-go-round in and out of the the line-up. There is just not a lot to work with.
…. Good teams cut their losses. I don’t eat 5 month old room temperature fillet mignon, just because it was $11.99 a pound. If I want fine dining, I’m going to throw out the mold-infested mess, break out the bank, go back to the meat market, and chalk it up as a cost of eating well. The problem with the Giants over the last few seasons is that they have not been replacing the old spoiled food with quality choice product. They merely add garnishment with players like Ryan Klesko, Mark Sweeney, Todd Greene, Steve Finley, Omar Vizquel, Randy Winn, and lots of other older guys.
This time, they got lucky with Huff, Burrell and Torres, who except for Torres, are eligible for free-agency after this season. There is no long-term solution in play. Posey is the first position player to come out of the system with a bang since Matt Williams. That was over twenty seasons ago, and if there were anything in the system that was even marginally better than some of the fellas on the Giants roster now, they would have already have been here.
So, OK, the Giants are less than established. They are less than solid. They are, in fact, a bunch of re-treads, has-beens and never-was’s. That’s true. But I still want to see them win. And therein lies the rub.
If they were to win, even one playoff series, Sabean would be here for another five years. If they make the playoffs, he’s gonna get another two years at least. If they contend right to the wire, he’ll get a chance to try again next season. And, Ernie’s right. Sabean caught lightning in a bottle, not once, or even twice, but three times. The players the Giants are paying top dollar for are either on the bench, or should be. Renteria, Sanchez, Rowand, DeRosa. That’s like $36 million dollars right there. $36 million dollars!
Where would this team be without Huff, Torres and Burrell right now? Ten games back? Fifteen?
There is nothing in the system. No more hitters, no more position players. No young, fast, healthy players. There is no plan to go out and get young, fast, healthy players. We never go after premiere free agents. We hear bullshit stories about how they don’t want to come here, but that all a lie. Sabean doesn’t want them. He’d rather pay $18 million dollars for a 36-year old centerfielder who made one single play in his entire career.
The reason the team has been wasting money on old, expensive players for the last decade had nothing to do with surrounding Bonds with talent, or keeping him happy. It has absolutely nothing to do with maintaining the team’s chances to make the postseason. It never did. The team has wasted millions upon millions of dollars the last ten seasons on old, constantly injured, replacement level production because of Sabean. He signed these players to these contracts because he thinks it is the right thing to do. He believes in this approach. This is his strategy.
So, baseball fans, San Francisco Giants fans; we are stuck. If we win, this inept front office will be rewarded with new contract extensions, and we will almost certainly see more of the same. We’ll see Sabean give soon to be 34-years old Pat Burrell a four-year, $25 million dollar contract for three months of hot baseball. Career journeyman Andres Torres will celebrate his 33rd birthday with a three year deal worth something like $15 million. And Aubrey Huff will get a Christmas/34th birthday combo deal of something like 4 years, $30 million.
Jose Guillen might hit ten home runs before the season ends. If he does, you can bet the Giants will sign him to a deal that makes the $55 million wasted on Aaron Rowand look like chicken feed.
Of course, the team could collapse. They could go on a ten game losing streak at any time. Burrell could pull a hamstring. He is, you know, old. So is pretty much every player on the field, save Posey and Sandoval.
Which would you rather see? Giants winning, and staying with Sabean for another three or four years? Or the kind of total collapse that gets heads rolling?
Once again, the Giants come up one run short of the Padres. Let’s see, who were the goats in this disgrace of a game…..
Jonathan Sanchez, who gift-wrapped two runs for the Padres in the top of the second, about ten seconds after the Giants ignited the crowd and took a two-run lead in the bottom of the first. Oh, and then failing to get down a bunt with runners at first and second and no out. Oh, and then allowing the Padres to score the go-ahead run with a double and a single on two pipeline, batting practice pitches to start the top of the sixth.
Pablo Sandoval, continuing his season-long exodus into flail-town. Here’s an idea…. Swing at strikes.
Bochy, allowing Freddie Sanchez to continue his season-long effort to kill the team. Here’s an idea…. Bench the worst regular in the lineup.
Aaron Rowand, for inexplicably running off second base right after Sanchez fucked up his bunt attempt, getting picked off and essentially ending a first and second, no out situation in three fucking seconds.
That is a buzz kill of a game. Fuck the Padres.
If I were the Giants, I’d be hitting somebody tomorrow.
UPDATE: What has to happen for Bochy to bench Sanchez? Sanchez is 22 for 106 since the All Star break, running out a .216/.277/.265 .542 OPS line, with just three extra base hits. During that time, he has scored 6 runs from the #2 slot while the Giants have posted their best offensive numbers in five years. By comparison, even with Sanchez doing everything he can to kill the team, Andres Torres has scored 20 runs, running out an outstanding .316/.370/.547 .917 OPS line, with 18 extra base hits. Put another way, Torres has almost as many extra base hits as Sanchez has hits.
Either he needs to be benched, or he needs to be dropped down in the lineup. Ideally, he needs to be sent down, but that’ll never happen. Sit him down.
UPDATE, Part II: Fontenot replaces Sanchez and goes 2 for 5, with a double, essentially making me look like Nostradamus.