Thursday, May 04, 2006


Split in Brew Town

Maybe my pessimism is getting out of hand.

When Mike Matheny came up with one on and the Giants down 5-2 in the 7th inning I was pretty much resigned to the fact that the inning was over, so I diverted my attention to other things (namely old men getting hit in the groin with footballs). Of course, when Matheny ended up lining a home run over the left field wall, I pumped my fist and yelled (always been behind ya, Mikey!).

Perhaps I've become jaded to the point where I can't even enthusiastically root for my team anymore. Has it gotten so bad that I just assume Giant hitters won't come through in key situations? And have these assumptions permanently impaired my ability to root on the Giants?
Maybe. Or maybe Matheny just plain sucks. The Giants ended up losing the game, but they at least showed some fight, coming back after being down 5-0. It would have been a much more deflating loss if they had simply rolled over without so much as a whimper. The fact that they came close to tying the game late is something to build on, at least.

The bottom of the order still can't hit worth beans. People, I'm not letting this go until we get it fixed. It's just interminable. The "Dump Lance Neikro" campaign seems to be collecting steam, and I'm certainly hopping aboard that bandwagon. The Giants' offensive woes are doubly problematic. One, bad offense means it's hard to win games, obviously. Two, it makes a team damned boring. If I'm going to have a bad team, give me a team with a good offense and bad pitching over the opposite. I mean, both scenarios are painful to watch, but a lineup full of bad hitters is excruciating. Seriously, how many Giants fans out there actually enjoy watching guys like Matheny and Pedro Feliz flail at crappy pitches?

Speaking of bad hitters: It's early, and Ray Durham is hurt, so there's no reason to harp about this too much, but Jose Vizcaino just should not be starting major league games with any sort of regularity, for any reason. Yes, he can walk, and those who read my stuff know that I'm all about guys who walk. But what the hell does it matter when you can't hit, and no manner of OBP is going to shield Vizcaino's hideous .485 OPS from our eyes.

Putting Todd Greene in the number three hole is the kind of creativity that I like to see from Felipe Alou. Unfortunately, it's still Todd Greene we're talking about here, and sure enough that whole brainstorm got shot to hell when Prince Fielder barreled into him in the second inning on a play at home plate. Again, Greene isn't Mike Piazza, or even Adam Melhuse, but heck, anything that gets him some more at bats in place of Matheny is fine by me, although with Matheny's fairy dust-filled glove, that probably won't happen.

On to better things, namely yesterday's 2-0 win, and Jason Schmidt's brilliance. Here is Schmidt's line from his last two starts, both wins:

16 IP, 2 runs, 10 hits, 16 K's, 2 BB.

What jumps out at you? For me, it's those two walks. Just from watching Schmidt in 2005 and his first few starts of this year, it looked like his troubles came from a lack of command. In 2003-04, when up in the count 1-2, Schmidt would either blow a fastball by a guy on the corner or get him swinging at a changeup just below the zone. 2005 Schmidt throws the fastball high and away or the changeup in the dirt on the way to a walk or a line drive hit.

In his first 27 innings, Schmidt walked 16 batters, and he was predictably struggling. Now he's seemingly regained his control, and it's been against two teams with above average offenses, not creampuffs like the Royals or something. Even when he was off, Schmidt could still limit hits and strike guys out. It was just the walks that were killing him. This new development is the most encouraging thing I've seen regarding Schmidt in quite some time.

The Giants face the Phils this weekend, a team likewise struggling to meet their high preseason expectations. Citizens Bank Park is a good place to get the bats going, although the same thing was said about Coors Field two weeks ago, and the Giants still found a way to screw that up.

Random YouTube stuff:

-This You Tube thing is my new drug of choice. You can find everything here, from ridiculous music videos from the 80's to baseball players karate kicking catchers.

For fun, here's some classic baseball brawlin', with our own Mike Krukow squaring off against Dave Winfield for good measure.

And because no one cares except me, here's the best scene from Pink Floyd: The Wall, featuring a couple of flowers, uh, mating.

And, before I go, God bless the person who put this on there.

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