So much to ponder as the death spirial reaches 10 losses in 12 games -- including five at home and the last four within the division. Jeez, Brian, is that what you had in mind when you told everyone not to panic?
First, a kind word about Madison Bumgarner. Yes, he's gotta learn to keep the ball in the yard -- but the truth is he didn't pitch badly. He gave the Giants a solid seven innings, which already putting him ahead of the incerasingly disappointing Jonathan Sanchez in my book.
The eventual go-head run was charged to MadBum, but let's be realistic. The middlle infield of Renteria and Uribe looked more like Abbott and Costello in that frame, with Rent-a-Wreck committing yet another bobble then compounding it with a bad throw to put the runner in scoring positon. Uribe followed with an absolute mental vapor lock on a ball behind second, and the Rockies got another freebie. Bumgarner allowed just one run in that frame despite the defense from Hell forcing him to get five outs. Kudos, kid.
The Buster Posey era began with a 2-for-4 night and an error on a play at the plate. Do I beleive the play should have been made? Yes, but it was a tough error. As for the stick, a single and a shot plus two outs that were absolute bullets. I like this kid.
Even Nate Scheirholtz got a start -- and a hit. So with plenty to like, what were the culprits as the Giants snatched defeat from the jaws of victory once again? The usual suspects: the aforementioned shoddy defense; a truly offensive offense that could only manage three runs in a launching pad (the big blow was a Rowand 47-hopper off the plate hard pack?) and a bullpen that once again took a one-run game and saw it blow up like Hiroshima.
So, our beloved G-men, still trying to taste vistory for the first time since Truman was popular, find themselves headed in the wrong direction. It seems only moments ago that they were nine games above ,500 and showing signs of life. Although I suspected it was made of smoke and mirrors, they were part of a real race. Today they're 40-38 and mired in fourth place, five and a half games behind the leaders.
Everything is just hunky dory, right Sabes?
Sabean did make one move I've beem clammoring for for weeks, the trade of Bengie Molina. However, in true Sabean fashion he screwed this one up, too. Am I really supposed to believe that Chris Ray and Michael Main were the best he could do? Brian, if you're going to spend the entire off-season and three months of the campain building Bengie up, you ruin what little credibility you still have by suddenly dealing him for a guy who is two steps removed from a job that requires a hair net and name tag.
Oh, and if case you missed it, Sabean also threw in cash. Yep, he ended up having to pay the Rangers to take the butterball off our hands.
Ray's numbers: 3.41 ERA, 16 strikeouts and 16 walks in 35 games -- totalling just 31.2 innings. Oh, and he's a 28-year-old coming off Tommy John surgery, like we didn't learn our lesson with DeRosa. The Giants do need help in middle relief (God, do they), but look at the numbers. We need THIS guy? We HAVE this guy. In fact we've got five of them. It's more of the same -- not an upgrade. And we saw what the studs in our pen did on this night.
Main, who was sent to AA, has great stats. A first-rounder in 2007 (the 20th pick), he pitched here in my home town of Bakersfield. I like him: good velocity with good command. But, I take exception with the idea that he's the real key to the trade. To that I have a two-word response: Merkin Valdez.
Now Bengie had to go. It was Posey's time, and the move strengthens the defense. Buster goes behind the plate where he belongs, Huff moves back to first where mobility isn't such an issue, and that opens up right field for Scheirholtz, who has waited long enough for his chance.
But the trade did NOTHING to address a couple of serious problems. First of all, what idiot decided to put Abbott and Costello up the middle together? Renteria is, well, Renteria. He's the guy the Giants should be paying someone to take. And apparently Bochy hasn't noticed that Uribe is built less like a middle infielder and more like a middle linebacker.
The team needs to spring for a membership at Jenny Craig. The slowest man in baseball is now a Ranger, but Uribe and Sandoval are going to eat their way into that category. I harp on their weight because it gets in the way of their talents. I appreciate what they do contribute, but I get the feeling they'd have more to give on the field if the were willing to take a little less from the buffett.
And of course, the biggest need is a stick so Sabean traded for two pitchers. Nice.
There is a core, and it's younger talent -- not old farts. Lincecum., Cain, Bumgarner, Wilson, Posey, Sandoval (with diet) -- these are guys you can build around. You can't do it with castoffs, perennial underachievers, career minor leaguers and damaged goods.
Officially the Giants have a month to make non-waiver deals but they have to be made quickly or they'll be in a hole so deep that no rope can reach the bottom. And it's obvious who needs to go packing.
Renteria is at the top of my list. His contract is up at the end of the season and I can't see any scenario under which he'd return. I can live with Uribe at short for the rest of the year, unless we can find a taker for him, too. Someone in need will take a flyer on either of these guys since they're only stuck with them short term. Get what you can.
Rowand needs a change of scenery. AT&T Park is death for this guy, and he's so mentally screwed up that I can't see the Giants riding out another two years on this guy at $12 million per. Adios, Aaron. The elephant in the room is the fact that he's so overpriced gthat the Giants are probably going to have to package him with someone else.
Enter Jonathan Sanchez.
I have no doubt about his talent, but his lack of mental composure and his repeated inability to find the strike zone make him a liability, Yet for some reason, he's got a nice rep. Perhaps those who like him see that opponents' batting average stat and miss the truth -- that he's so hard to hit because he has no more idea where the ball is going than the hitter does -- for the five innings it takes him to throw 110 times. That's opportunity for the Giants. Move him while he's still got value.
Now this kind of wholesale first drill probably dooms the 2010 Giants. Guess what? They're likely doomed already, or haven't you been watching the standings? Yet maybe the addition of a quality bat puts a charge into this unit. At worst, find yet another cog to build around. If all of those guys just yield just one bona fide stud, it was worth it.
Timmy on the hill in Game Two, trying to stop the bleeding. Given the lack of support the starters have received (offensivley and defensively) someone better stand by with the first aid kit.