Friday, August 28, 2009

Behind the woodshed

We got taken out behind the woodshed last night for an ol' fashioned whuppin'. You have to love the website, calling it a "tough" loss. Sorry, but Monday's game was a tough loss. This one was over in the 2nd inning. The harsh glare of last night's ugliness shined on some uncomfortable numbers for me this lovely morning: we've played 40 games since the Break and we are 20-20. We were playing .557 ball then at 49-39, and we were 7 games behind 1st place and atop the WC by 2 games. Now we are 69-59 (.539) and 7 games back of first, but 3 games behind the WC. The Crockies managed to insert themselves between us and the LAtriners, taking advantage their lackluster play since the Break. The Smoggers regrouped in time to take 2 of 3 in Denver to keep some distance, but their once sure-thing lead has become precarious. We have 34 games left, 19 at home, including 6 against Colorado with the first 3-game set starting tonight. It doesn't take a genius to see that we have to put together a winnning run if we expect to be in the playoffs. I remember--mere months ago--laughing out loud at the notion of the 2009 Giants being a playoff team. And, unfortunately, our recent play has prompted a renewed skepticism about our chances. This team just does not hit well enough. With 514 runs scored we are keeping company with also-rans like Pittsburgh (513), Cincinnati (500), and San Diego (494). Our very impressive 488 runs allowed is actually second to LA's 486, but they complement that with 616 runs scored.

So--has the magic finally worn off? Is the luck we've enjoyed this season about to run out? Will the dog-eat-dog pennant-race climate of the season's dog days finally expose us as pretenders? Or do will still have that bottomless reservoir of pluck, grit, gamerosity, and clutchness? That full tank of intangibles? I'll tell you one thing, Tim Lincecum is the best pitcher in the universe, and if ever we needed him to remind the world of that, it is tonight.

Keep us in the race, bhoyo, and maybe the lads'll get some hits for ye.


Ron said...

What is our record since Randy Johnson got injured? He may not have had the greatest stats, but he was winning a few games & providing inspiration. The 5th starters we have run in in his place have not put much together.

The top 4 starters have done their job in that they keep us in every game. Even with our paltry attack, just keeping the opponents' run totals low gives us a shot. That is our modus operandi this season - without a 5th starter who can do the same, we are in trouble. Meanwhile, we have other options for #5 starter, but have not used them.

The F. Sanchez thing was predictable. We KNEW he was hurt when we acquired him - telling that he didn't even play for us for a few days - a weird move. 'Instant Upgrade' doesn't quite work, when 'instant' is missing. I like the guy & hope that we hold onto him for a few years, but, for 2009, I think that the Uribe-Velez-Rohlinger-Downs-etc. merry go-round will continue.

Tim has to take things into his own hands tonight - NO EXCUSES! He must do whatever it takes to win. I don't care if the Candlestick Fox re-appears, spooking one of our outfielders into a 4-run error - Tim must get it done. (In that case, HE would just have to hit a grand slam to counteract the fielding.) Tim, you are the Man, & tonight you must pick us up!

Ron said...

P.S. Do you have a 'thread' (is that the right blogging term?) for 'Nostalgic Trivia References'? I would add one for the Candlestick Fox reference in my last post.

Ooh ... I may have just created another possible thread - 'Question Within A Question'. If 'Dust Bunnies' can get one, why not that?

M.C. O'Connor said...

I must disagree with the 5th starter hypothesis. We have lost many games where we got good pitching and failed to hit. Matt and Tim have not gotten a win since the Break--and it is not due to poor pitcing but criminally poor hitting. In the 1st half we had lots of luck and played above our heads. Now the reality of our feeble attack is killing us. Our starters have to be close to perfect to win--that is not a recipe for success. A team cannot win with just pitching--check the standings if you don't believe me.

I'm not happy about the Sanchez deal. He's Aaron Rowand and Randy Winn and Ray Durham and Edgardo Alfonzo--good ballplayers but ridiculously over-valued by Brian Sabean. We will sign him for 3 years and pile of money and he will not be enough of an upgrade to make it worth it. The injury history is just icing on the cake--this guy is aging way too fast. We got nearly the same production from cheap-o micro-OBA Juan Uribe. Tim Alderson could have (should have) fetched more or he should not have been dealt, but I'm sick of beating that dead horse.

"Dust bunnies" is a good metaphor for nostalgic reminisces.

Ron said...

"We have lost many games where we got good pitching and failed to hit ... Our starters have to be close to perfect to win."

I agree with your 2 statements above, but we are really talking about a handful of potential wins here. The 2009 Giants will always lose some games when the starter is awesome - not a great recipe for success, but our 2009 recipe. What I am talking about is winning just a few of the others. Randy Johnson has 8 wins in 17 starts. That's about the same ratio of wins per start as Lincecum & Cain, even though his ERA is about double. Sadowski/Martinez have 4 wins in 11 starts (one of Martinez's wins was as a reliever). Something was getting done, when Johnson pitched.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I suppose if every single pitcher on your team is above average (and a few are very good-to-great) then you can be a championship team with a pathetic offense. We had a nice run with Johnson, several quality outings in a row (4-1 in June with a 3.25 ERA) before he went down. And, being 45 years old, we should have expected him not to last the season. It should be noted that RJ had 3 wins in May with a 5+ ERA. Clearly, he wasn't "winning" those games. (April, 19 IP, 13 ER, yuck).

In the real world, you will have "5th starters" and "mop-up men" and etc. Not every arm on your squad will be an All-Star. That's why you have to have at decent fielding and reasonable hitting. Balance wins. Great pitching still needs the other pieces. We've got the great pitching, and our fielding has been very good as well. Our hitting sucks. It doesn't need to be a Philly offense, but it has to be better than the bottom, which is where we are.