Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Prepping For the Big Boys
After watching Eli Whiteside belt a decisive home run in today's game to propel the Giants to victory, I have to imagine that having the backup catcher smoke laser beam home runs off of you has to be pretty high on that list.
Backup catchers are, of course, just a notch above pitchers on the can't-hit scale. They're only in there because they can catch and throw and because the regular catcher can't do a day-after-night game. Their job is to play defense, call a good game, and stay out of the way. They're the guys that are hidden at the bottom of the lineup, with managers praying that they don't come up in a crucial situation. So today when Charlie Morton gave up a clout to Eli Whiteside, who has basically been an automatic out in his career, I could see him there on the mound probably wishing that were Pablo Sandoval at the plate, everything else being the same.
The Giants are 7-2, the offense looks (shockingly) good, and the talk show callers are adamant in their projections of an historic 117-win season. The team's early success, though, has been in part due to a pretty weak schedule. The Astros still haven't won a game and the Pirates are still unsuccessfully attempting their makeover after being the laughingstock of the '00s. Barry Zito and Matt Cain clearly weren't on their game in the first two Pittsburgh games. I wonder, against a real lineup, would their stat line have survived to come out respectable?
The Giants get their first true test this weekend, facing The Evil Ones in their volcanic pit. All hope abandon? Screw that noise. If there's one thing that gets us Giants fans revved up, it's the first series against the Dodgers, a means of setting the tone for the season. Or watching Orlando Hudson single-handedly embarrass us like last season. You know, whatever.
-Cheers to Aubrey Huff's awesome inside-the-park home run today that played out like it was happening in slow motion. Huff ran the bases like he was dragging a piano behind him, but he still managed to slide into home without a throw. Early returns on Huff are mixed. He's not great, but he's relatively patient and he'd have three homers by now if it weren't for that damned triple's alley.
-Jeers to the Giants' public relations staff and broadcasting crew for letting the Bengie Molina lovefest go so far that they completely ignored two of the greatest Giants catchers in their history. In their haste to anoint Molina as the franchise's RBI king at catcher, the team apparently forgot that Dick Dietz and Tom Haller were alive at one point and damn fine players as well. Molina isn't the all-time RBI leader for a Giants catcher; he's not even close. When called on the flub, Mike Krukow issued an on-air apologia. Embarrassing, to be sure, but Kruk and Kuip are so cool, who are we to truly complain?
As far as the Giants are concerned you're right on the dot, the Dodgers are the test because, they've been the class of this division, followed closely by Colorado. After Wellmeyer's how-not-to-pitch demo last night, I hope and trust that they can pull it together against our rivals this weekend.