Sunday, August 22, 2010
Why the Dark Before the Dawn?
On the way home, I had the misfortune of tuning in to the nonsensical bleating on KNBR. My brain, needless to say, is none the better for it. It was the usual knee-jerk, doom and gloom stuff, complete with inane trade talk and the calling out of players who don't deserve it. One guy suggested that the Giants should trade Barry Zito to the Cardinals for Albert Pujols this offseason. Great idea, except that I doubt that the Cardinals want to trade arguably the best player in the National League for the right to pay Zito $20 million for the next three years. Also, some guy called out Matt Cain for being "at the end of the day, just a .500 pitcher" and thought it advisable to trade him because of this fact. Just an epic facepalm.
Times seem tough for our heroes in the Orange in Black, but amidst the end-is-nigh woe from the KNBR whiners and their ilk, let me regale you with a story, from waaaaaay back in the year 2002. I personally attended this crappy game at Mays Field, a contest in which the Giants lost to the Vladimir Guerrero-led Expos and Livan Hernandez got his ample ass handed to him. At the end of the game, things looked grim. The Giants were 70-58, they were floundering around in third place, barely alive in both the division and the Wild Card race, and it looked like another disappointing season was in the works. Watching Livan pitch can kill your morale worse than being dumped, I tell you. This was in late August.
So what happened? The Giants immediately ripped off seven wins in a row and stormed to the Wild Card and eventually the pennant. They would overtake the Dodgers for good a mere two weeks later. Any thought of that dark day against Montreal has been wiped away in a sea of Kenny Lofton liners to the outfield.
Obviously the past week or so has been brutal, but let's put things in perspective here. The Giants just lost a tough series at home against the Padres. They didn't play well, and lost the series because of it. Fair enough. Then they had to embark on a brutal road swing against two of the better teams in the league, smack in the middle of the dog day of August. Few teams are going to come away from that unscathed.
Now they have nine straight at home, and their schedule from here on out includes a decent amount of subpar teams. Meanwhile, the Padres' schedule is about to get pretty rough, with most of their games against good teams, including a four-game set against St. Louis. Also, if the Milwaukee series is any indication, some of the good luck that San Diego's starting staff has been receiving all year may be running out.
The Giants have issues, moreso than can be solved by pointless acquisitions of Cody Ross. The defense is looking porous, the hitting is still shows up when it feels like, and the Tim Lincecum crisis has entered its third week. It's not time to panic, though. Even with the red hot Reds coming into town, I can definitely see a little home cooking touching off a nice winning streak. It's happened before this season, and there's no reason it can't happen now. With noted ".500 pitcher" Cain going tomorrow, I like the chances of getting this season back on the right foot. So please, fair KNBR callers, put a halt to the histrionics and stop rotting my brain.
--Regarding Cody Ross, I realize the Giants only have him because they put in a waiver claim to block San Diego from acquiring him (and because the perpetually cheap Marlins were all to happy to let the Giants take his salary off their hands). My question is: what evidence is there that Ross would have actually helped the Padres? He's basically Aaron Rowand with the bat, and his defense has not been particularly good the past two years, at least according to UZR and WAR. The Giants obviously wanted to prevent the Pads from upgrading more, and Ross is a potent bat against lefties, but now they just created a big roster fiasco, and I'm afraid our poor friend Nate Schierholtz, he of the great glove and cannon arm, might be forced out by this mess.