Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Random Recap of the Day (or How I Learned to Stop Hating and Love Feliz)

The Giants won a thriller over the Padres last night 6-5, but in typical fashion, they didn't make it pretty. The Giants fell behind early before clawing back to take a 5-3 lead thanks to some horrendous Padres fielding. Armando Benitez then promptly came in and surrendered a game-tying homer to Phil Nevin. Do you think it's safe to say Benitez's 1.29 ERA last year was a fluke? After blowing just 4 saves all season in 2004, Benitez has blown two in the first month. J.T. Snow smacked his fourth hit of the contest to plate the game-winning run in the eigth, and Benitez closed out the game in the ninth. Of course, Benitez, apparently incapable of getting three outs without some kind of bizarre drama, strained a calf while covering first on the game's last play and went on the DL today. No word yet on who will pick up save opportunities in his absence, but, please, anybody but Matt Herges.

Just when you thought the Giants couldn't buy an easy win, they blast Tim Redding and the Pads today 10-3, behind a Pedro Feliz home run, three hits by Jason Ellison, and Kirk Rueter's second good start of the season.

Some random notes:
-I have this ongoing love/hate thing going with Pedro Feliz. On the one hand, I think the Giants should try to trade him while his value is still high to a team like the Devil Rays whose management is still in the statistical dark age. He has power, yes, but his selection at the plate is nonexistent and he simply swallows up too many outs to be a truly productive player. On the other hand, he just has to go and smack a single to put the Giants ahead in last night's game and then hit a 3-run bomb this afternoon to help give the Giants two big wins. His ability to play multiple positions is extremely valuable as well. When Bonds comes back, they need to find some way to keep him in the lineup, even if it means resurrecting the convoluted 1B/3B platoon they utilized last year. He may draw the ire of sabermatricians, but if Feliz can finish close to the .819 OBP he's sporting now, I won't complain.

-Do you think Jason Ellison is making some kind of statement? He had a perfect day today, going 3-3 with a walk and a triple and bumping his season average to .440, albeit in limited at-bats. He's certainly performed way better with the stick than anybody expected (Cody Ransom of the OF seemed to be the comparisons out of spring). Ellison didn't make any fans with his blunder against the Dodgers, but he's far from Jose Cruz Jr. territory. I'm not sure I'll go as far as to say that Ellison would be a better option now at center field than Grissom, but the difference isn't as big as you might think.

-Here's a story that has caught my interest because I'm an obsessive fan of the Mets of the 1980's. We all knew Lenny Dykstra was a bit of a sleazeball, but gambling on baseball would represent a new low. Nails is also suspected of taking designer steroids, which wouldn't be too surprising if you look at pictures of him with the Phillies as opposed to his younger days as a Met. With the Mets he was smallish and lean, albeit muscular. With the Phils, he suddenly became burly and ripped, with veins popping everywhere. Of course, avid weight lifting could be the the cause, but, as we know from Barry Bonds, that's not a good enough explanation in some cases.

-For gaming fans, here's a bizarre new XBOX game called "Raze's Hell", where you play as a monster who goes around blasting away at cute little creature things called Kewletts. It sounds depraved to be bludgeoning little forest creatures to death, until you realize that the Kewletts are trying to kill you and destroy your home, and they talk lots of trash and carry a shitload of heavy artillery while doing it. The game is a third person shooter that takes some getting used to, but it's pretty fun if you like non-stop blowing crap up and a lot of dark humor. Oh, and the plot is a none-too-subtle satire on Bush's Iraq war, making it a little more juicy, unless you're a flag-waving jingoist, in which case I direct you here for some mind-killing sustenance.

I've taken to leaving Feliz the heck alone. He finds a way to contribute despite his oft-questionable pitch recognition skills. But being able to play a competent LF, RF, 3B and 1B is indeed a plus, and when coupled with the fact that he is a very good mistake hitter, well, Feliz does have decent value.

And yes, Ellison is making a statement, but by the time the Giants realize that he's actually better than Grissom (which may not be saying all that much), it'll be June.
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