Monday, May 04, 2009


Winning Ugly

The Giants offense sucks. Hell, you don't need me to tell you that. Right now, the chances of the team scoring more than one run in a game seem about as likely as me scoring with Megan Fox. They huff, they puff, they fail to get a runner home from third with nobody out. Well, instead of focusing on Aaron Rowand grounding into double play after double play and Randy Winn's continuing search party for his missing bat, let's praise some guys who are doing things right.

*Pablo Sandoval. His average is up to .322 and he's smoking everything, validating our hopes and dreams that this big guy can just flat out hit. He's still doesn't take many walks, but there's a difference between being a free swinger and being out of control, and to start the season Sandoval was definitely the latter. Now, he's laying off pitches in the dirt and pitches over his head, stuff that nobody in their right mind would swing at, he's getting better pitches to hit, and he's been red hot.

*Fred Lewis. Take his high batting average, mix it with his exorbitant strikeout totals, and you've got a recipe for a looming BABIP crisis. Still, Lewis is getting on base and is the most productive Giant beside Pablo thus far. But, please, Fred, cut down on the K's.

*Bengie. Okay, so the fact that he hasn't drawn a walk in 90 plate appearances is cute right now. If, however, at the end of the year, his OBP is still lower than his batting average, it's probably not going to be so charming, because it means the bottom has likely fallen out. As of now, though, he's getting it done, and watching him rumble his way to a triple last Wednesday was one of those great joys in life that only baseball can provide.

*Emmanuel Burriss. Ok, buddy, you say, how can a guy who came into the Wrigley series with a line of .216/.301/.241 be described as "doing things right"? Well, jerkface, it might be a stretch, but Burriss has actually shown competence at the plate in the past week, including the kind of patience we saw flashes of last season. There will never be any power, but if he hits like .280 with walks he's valuable because of his very solid defense, and he's showing signs of figuring it out.

So those are the players now who really can't be faulted for the team's slow offensive start. Everybody else is fair game, except Nate Schierholtz, who rotted on the bench all month before finally getting some much-deserved playing time when Winn was shaking off an injury.

Can the Giants keep winning with this miserable offense? Almost certainly not. Something has to happen to get this team scoring runs, whether that be by trade or by someone like Travis Ishikawa or Edgar Renteria suddenly coming to life. I'm confident that Winn can come out of his hitting doldrums; Rowand, not so much. Until that something to improve the offense happens, we just have to hold our noses and pray that the pitching will be good enough to tread water in a weak division.

--I wrote this last August about AAA veteran Matt Palmer, who was not impressive in a few spot starts with the Giants last year...

"Palmer is what they call an organizational soldier, and guys like this often don't get many chances to hang around. They're good enough to act as fodder to fill out a AAA roster, but rarely do they get more than one shot to stick with the big club...So let's raise a glass to Matt Palmer, because we probably won't ever see him again."

Well, let's just say that if Palmer has a Twitter, it most likely says: "@paulie: screw you dickhead. and u2 sux."

If you flip over to Baseball Reference and check out the Angels page, you'll see that Palmer is there, with two wins in two starts. His K:BB rate still stinks and he's probably not going to last long, but who cares? He showed he's resilient enough to hook on and pitch well for a team that won 100 games last year, right after being crapped out the back end of an also-ran that didn't see much in him for like seven years. Rock on, Matt Palmer. Rock on.

--So a lot of my time last week was spent cobbling something together for this silly Baseball Prospectus contest, the winner of which gets to write for them for a year. You have to submit a baseball-related article to them with a limit of 1500 words, and I figured I'd give it a shot. Since I'm not a hardcore stat cruncher at all, I sent them a sort of quirky thing that has some marginal insight (they say you can send in anything, from research to humor).

They'll post the winners on Friday. They'll also post, apparently, some that they thought were interesting, but just didn't make the cut, or some that were just uniquely terrible. If my submission doesn't fall into any of those categories, I'll post it here on Stankeye.

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