Monday, April 20, 2009


Free Andres Torres

This weekend, Giants starting pitchers surrendered exactly zero runs. None. Nada. Zilch. And yet they still managed to lose a game. Such is 2009 Giants baseball, I guess, where the offense makes a pitcher like Doug Davis look like a Hall-of-Famer, necessitating spotless performances from the starting pitchers day in, day out. Yesterday the winning runs came on a sacrifice fly and a double play ball with the bases loaded. Exciting! Pity the local sports newscasters who have to scramble together a highlight package from that.

The offense stinks right now, but it's worth it to remember that back in 2004 the Giants got off to a similar rough start, and it seemed like they were going to have trouble scoring runs all year behind their Neifi- and crotch-kicker-led attack. That team went on to win 92 games and score 850 runs. Now, this team as it is now won't even break 750 (and of course that '04 team had that guy named Bonds on it), but we shouldn't start drawing comparisons to the 1992 Angels after a slow two weeks. Guys get hot, batters will regress to the mean. They aren't this bad. Trust me.

So on to happier things, like the pitching. Jonathan Sanchez, Tim Lincecum and Randy Johnson all dominated, with only Lincecum getting the Matt Cain treatment. When Lincecum didn't come out for the ninth in Saturday's game, I could just hear the radio blowhards sharpening their pitchforks. Sure enough, the bullpen immediately came in and lost the game. I stayed far away from the KNBR dial on that afternoon, my friends.

What I didn't realize, until looking at the box score just now, is that Lincecum was only at 98 pitches, in which case the raving post-game callers may have had a point. Let me get this straight. Bruce Bochy ignores pitch counts in order to give Lincecum a shot at a meaningless shutout late in the season (with a big lead, no less), but bows to them in an extremely tight, early season game when the team isn't dead yet? I don't get it. I understand not trying to max him out early, but Lincecum was cruising, and he wasn't in a pitch count danger zone.

Also, pulling Randy Johnson after only 73 pitches was strange. Yes, the man is 45, but he was untouchable all game and didn't look tired at all. Maybe he asked out, I don't know, but I guess it was all rendered moot since Bob Howry and Brian Wilson made quick work of the DBacks to end the game. All in all, a good weekend and a series win, although it'd be nice if the hitting weren't so darned ugly.

Surprise of the weekend: How about Andres Torres? One week after Giants fans were baffled by the mere sight of his name on the Opening Day roster, they were cheering his name after he cracked a late-inning home run on Friday night, and it was no cheapie! It was only his second major league home run. He seemed like the first guy to Fresno when the Giants realize they need another catcher, but if he gets more big hits like that, he just may hang around some.

Hero of the Weekend: Giants starting pitchers. Duh. Now, if the starters can throw up a 0.00 ERA for the rest of the season, I smell rings, baby!

Zero of the Weekend: Travis Ishikawa. 0 for 9 in three games with six strikeouts. He looks absolutely horrible at the plate right now. How long do the Giants give him before their patience runs out? The end of the month? Two months? A youth movement obviously means giving these guys a chance, but he doesn't look like a major leaguer now.

Also, if not the Ish, then who? Shift Sandoval over and play (lord help us) Juan Uribe at third? Stick Eugenio Velez there and pray he learns how to field a routine ground ball? Unfortunately, it doesn't get any easier for Ishikawa with Jake Peavy and Chris Young coming to town this week. At least he's being given the chance to mess himself that poor Dan Ortmeier wasn't.

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