Sunday, August 01, 2010


Beaten LA

Remember like a month ago when the Giants had just been swept by the Dodgers, and were about to embark on a long road trip, and it looked like their season was in a tailspin? Yeah, I don't either. Whether it be the result of willpower or heavy drinking, I've completely blocked that pont of time out of my memory. Wouldn't you know it, now the Giants are on top of the world, having kicked a sullen Dodger team while they were down. They suddenly look, with their pitching and Buster Posey-led offensive rebirth, like a force to be reckoned with in the National League.

Any sweep is a thing of beauty, but the way the Giants applied the broom to the Dodgers this weekend was equivalent to picking up what's left on the newspaper and rubbing their noses in it. With the series on the verge of turning in LA's favor, Pat Burrell launched a go-ahead home run off of the obese and suddenly ineffective Jonathan Broxton, single-handedly pile-driving the knife into the Dodgers' deathly-black hearts. After that, Matt Cain's symbolic win (he'd never beaten the Dodgers before) was merely a formality.

Series kudos go to, of course, all three Giants starters, for pitching gems in each game. To Burrell, for that home run that provided yet another moment this year that had me leaping out of my chair. Pat the Bat is clearly not the same guy he was with the Phils, and his defense is horrid, but this is what he'll give you. He's a guy who can turn a game with one swing of the bat late in the game, something the Giants have pined for in recent years. Points also to Edgar Renteria for his big hit tonight, and to Aubrey Huff, for being awesome in general and continuing to make me look like an idiot and an asshole for ripping his signing earlier.

--The Giants pulled off two trades, of the minor sort. In order to bolster the bullpen a little (because any Denny Bautista appearance makes us all want to take up smoking, stat), the team acquired Ramon Ramirez from Boston and Javier Lopez from Pittsburgh.

Ramirez is a relative obscurity, having toiled in Kansas City for most of his successful career, but he has been a solid pitcher over the past two years. His down year in 2010 is largely driven by an increased home run rate, something that should be helped by his new home ballpark. He provides some depth and is essentially a better version of Guillermo Mota. The Giants traded Daniel Turpen, a 23-year-old pitcher with mediocre peripherals in AA. Prospect mavens don't seem excited about him at all, so I doubt he'll be missed.

The Lopez trade is a little more goofy. I generally consider LOOGYs to be a waste of a roster spot, since they're only good enough to face one batter per game, and have to be hidden from righties at all costs. So I'm doubly aghast when the Giants trade for one, when generally these guys can be found on the scrap heap (remember Scott Eyre or, hell, Rich Rodriguez?). Lopez has put too many runners on base for a reliever, and he's actually been better against right-handers this year (yeah yeah, I know it's a fluke). His sidewinding delivery is cool and all, but he almost pitched himself out of baseball after a miserable 2009 and could only hook on with the listless Pirates this season. Pointless, I say.

As for the players the Giants gave up, John Bowker is the one who may make this look bad. He's 26 and hasn't figured it out at the major league level, but on a rebuilding team I could see him throwing together a couple of solid power years and inevitably killing the Giants with a big home run down the road. I'll certainly be rooting for him.

Martinez, even though he's a minor hero in Giant fan circles for returning so swiftly after taking a liner to the eye last year, is basically AAA fodder. Even though Bowker and Martinez are nothing to write home about, I still can't help but wonder why the Giants felt the need to throw two players in to get a one-dimensional, highly interchangeable left-handed pitcher. Oh well. Did I mention the Giants swept the Dodgers?

Sabean went out and got what he was looking for, a loogy. He just gave up way too much in return. Bowker with power potential and under the giants control for cheap for several more years, was way too much to throw in on this trade, when Martinez might have been too much. A 27 year old pitcher, sinkerballer who can start, for a loogy.
It was too much for a mediocrity, but when all is said and done, I don't think this is one we'll be burning Sabean's house down for. If he had traded Jonathan Sanchez for Corey Hart, however...
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