First thing’s first. I’m not going to delve into the SABR-world on this blog by any stretch of the imagination. I wouldn’t say it will be a welcome relief to statheads, because I’m a subscriber — as a follower and a reader. Not as one to opine based on them. It will be stuffed with Benitez pictures whenever possible, and I apologize in advance for the pedantic nature of this first post. Moving on…
There’s always something going on in Giants games that gives us reason to complain, whether in defeat or victory. Maybe that’s just who we are, but the more likely culprit is that this is simply a team chock-full of eccentricities.
Tonight what came to mind was the batting order. Boch is known for playing the hot hand and utilizing 385 lineups over a 162 game season, so it shouldn’t be too far fetched to ask for tweaked lineups on a semi-regular basis. We’ve seen many different lineups over the season, but a great number of those were put into motion through a bevy of injuries. So this is what I’m looking at tonight, and giving immediate thoughts based on the results and subjective interpretation of the at-bats as well as Vogelsong’s effort.
I have to echo what all of us have been saying since he was recalled. Belt needs to be playing. Not just playing, but starting games. Not in the same vein as Rowand getting starts based on splits; not in the same way that Ishikawa got starts in 2010; not even in the same way that Stewart gets a start over Whiteside, and vice versa. The kid needs to be playing every day, and Huff needs to be relegated to a very limited bench role. I’m bothered by the fact that it’s acceptable for Huff to do so much wrong in a game, on both sides of play, and still have a small handful (if that) of things that somehow justify not only his roster spot but an everyday starting role in this lineup.
Although the Giants were huge benefactors of this umpiring crew, there’s no denying that Rowand had a legitimately good hit that led to the first run (and sending him home isn’t his fault, though he was pretty decisively beat). Beyond that, it was just the Rowand we’ve all come to know and not love.
Sandoval is playing some inspired ball. He dominated at the plate, and the steal in the 10th was incredibly impressive. Changes the AB for that 2-2 count against Whiteside. I think Pablo is about to go on a monster tear if Beltran and whoever bats 5th can support.
Speaking of which, at this juncture, Ross belongs in the 5-hole no more than Huff deserves to be in the game period. You need a hitter behind Beltran and Sandoval that is in a daily state of mind that supports being able to come through when it counts. Sandoval and Beltran stand to be the most consistent contributors, and in the most consistent lineup slots, so you need to follow that with a reliable bat, whether it’s for power or not.
On a normal day, I would say that Nate has a good shot of being that 5-hole hitter, at least in this lineup. He put good wood on that liner to left in the 9th, which is convenient for my point. Call me crazy, but I might even like Keppinger there — he’s lacing balls all over the place tonight. As was often cited by other bloggers, he tends to not strike out. That may well be a quality choice, in my humble opinion.
Did I mention that Huff has no business in this lineup? I don’t give a damn that he scored the tying run in the 8th. Fact of the matter is, he didn’t belong on base in the first place with that dribbler check swing. I don’t give a damn that he got on in the 10th and extended the inning, because that was on Votto doing his best Huff impression at 1B. I don’t give a damn he stole second uncontested in the 10th, and they actually gave him the steal instead of indifference. Which is bogus.
Kudos to Whiteside, though. I have seen him drive up pitch counts of opposing pitchers in many of his games recently, which is productive in every sense of the word. I don’t have numbers behind this, but there have been a few games where he works multiple 7-10 pitch ABs, and whether that results in an out or getting on base, I’m impressed. The game-tying double was laced and that silver haired son of a bitch has my attention. His walk in the 10th was equally grand after going down two strikes. Whiteside working the count is clutch.
Why do we even have Belt on the bench, if we’re not going to use him in at the very least a PH situation? Fontenot, with the night he was having, should not have been hitting with the bases loaded. Period. Then they do use Belt in Mota’s spot and boom he’s out in one pitch. Guess he’s riding pine some more, cause he’s “struggling” with that one at bat and all.
Vogelsong did his best “Bad Jonathan” impression in the first, sans walking 36 guys anyway. As was noted on the broadcast, he did a fantastic job of locking it down after that in what seemed like a Halladay-crushing heat. I jokingly tweeted after the first that Bochy have Dusty Baker’d his starter for what was paced at a 279 pitch CG — but as the game went on, it became apparent that Vogelsong was determined to give the Giants a fair shot at winning this ballgame.
I have had my complaints about Boch and the pen, specifically who he uses (or doesn’t) and when, but tonight was not one of those games, especially as it went on into extras.
- Casilla came in and did exactly what his numbers would suggest.
- Romo fascinates me. Because of the insane movement on the frisbee, he can miss high with the heater and still get guys like Bruce to whiff. Then he goes right back down and mows ‘em down.
- Cairo deciding to try laying down a bunt against Romo is about as intelligent as sending Huff to try stealing second. What are you thinking? Cairo looked horrible fanning for that second K.
- Romo is disgusting. Let me say it again: Romo is disgusting. We really ought to see more of him; I know he’s an 8th inning guy, but there has to be a way to work him more, even in this stacked pen. Everyone gives embarrassing swings against that slider. If he can really work a change into the repertoire, things will get really bad for opposing hitters. The limp-skip-hop after landing is a concern, though.
- I actually like the Ram-Ram decision in the bottom of the 9th. I don’t like that this appearance disturbs his .200 BAA, .200 BAA v RHB, .200 BAA v LHB. Not cool, Boch. Shoulda let him ride that through the playoffs.
- I like that bunt even more, preventing Renteria from advancing to 2nd. That was a terrible bunt and shuffle to hit himself with it. Ram-Ram really got away with a few hanging pitches, I mean wow.
- Lopez in against Votto. I can dig it, Lopez destroys them lefties. Wait, no I don’t. I honestly don’t care for Lopez. Leadoff walk, great. The only thing he has against Phillips is SSS. And that worked out well. 1st and 3rd, no outs. But hey, he’s not a LOOGY, right? He’s a legit reliever. But now we’re back to a lefty again, so he stays. Numbers game.
- Mota coming in after Lopez borked the 10th is a meh decision, to me.
- That throw by Nate the Great saved the fuck out of that bullpen. End of story.
- Baffled: Mota gets three innings but Romo gets one? What the heck. We have hella arms in the pen. Mota has some nasty out pitches, though. Impressed.
- I was talking with Daniel Zarchy of GiantsPod as they brought in Wilson and told him I didn’t like it, unless it’d incite something from the lineup. Well, it never got that far. Don’t like closers in non-save situations but hey I’m no MLB manager so who am I to second guess it?