Wow. Twenty eight batters to the plate -- 27 outs. A Nate Schierholtz single in the ninth avoided the dreaded 27 for 27 clip, and that was the offensive highlight in a 9-0 shellacking as the Giants dropped two of three to the Redbirds. On a day when the thermometer read like an oven set for London broil, St. Louis hurler Jaime Garcia never even broke a sweat.
This was the low point of the season, not to mention a stunning indictment of the Giants as a whole. No pitching, less offense, and a defensive showing that was horiffic enough to leave Freddy Krueger cowering in terror. But have no fear, Cody Ross will make it all better.
There are so many things wrong with the Gians right now that it's hard to know where to begin. I need something to take my mind off all of this. Anyone got Elin Woods' phone number?
Since the Giants drew to within striking distance of San Diego, it's been all down hill. They've played three series -- all against contenders -- and lost each of them. Going a collective 3-6 against the Padres, Phillies and Cardinals (with the NL Central-leading Reds on deck) has pretty much eliminated any thoughts of winning the division. San Diego is on pace for 97 wins, meaning the Giants have to win 28 of their remaining 37 games to tie. The wildcard is more realistic with three teams within two games, but the Giants' chief competitiors for that prize are the two squads that just cleaned their clock.
Pardon me for not being too excited about their chances. But did I mention, Cody Ross is coming to save us?
As a lifelong fan I can still hope the Giants right the ship, but the total collapse we've seen over the past few games makes it hard to keep whistling in the dark. So instead I want to take a look at what went so so horribly wrong.
I've had a number of targets over the plast 70-plus posts, but one has been consistent. In most operations, stuff rolls downhill as most of the excrement starts at the top. Here that means Brian Sabean (and isn't it appropriate his initials are "BS"?) Rather than spit venom -- I've done that enough already -- I want to take an unemotional, totally objective look at his performance in 2010.
He sucks. I mean, he really sucks. He really really really really really really really really really really really blows.
Look at the typical Giants line-up. None of the starting outfielders were there on Opening Day -- and the starting right fielder is now in Pittsburgh. His April first baseman spends half his time in the outfield. His big second base acquisition has been an offensive black hole. Shortstop is a revolving door. His starting catcher (signed in the off-season) is in Texas. The pen includes four mid-season acquisitions -- one of whom is on the DL. His off-season prize (DeRosa) was a no show. You can't blame Sabean for Sandoval's poor season -- although I think some pressure from the front office regrding conditioning was warranted -- so instead I'll blame him for global warming and soggy garlic fries.
So many moves is a tacit admission that the team he put together in spring trainng was less than up to snuff. You can say Sabean is making an effort to improve the squad (if you've been drinking heavily) but going into the season with the unit he did still means either he (a) didn't evaluate the team very well, (b) was lying his ass off when his said this was a better team than a year ago, or (c) he is just the unluckiest SOB on the planet and none of this is his fault.
Toss out Option C. No one is that unlucky seven years in a row, and that's the length of time the Giants are looking at since their last trip to the postseason. If it's B, shame on us for the same reason -- we didn't get the message the first six times? I opt for A.
Did I mention that he really really really really really really really really really really really sucks? But, he got us Cody Ross.
In case you missed it, Satan, uh Sabean, made no move at the trading deadline to bolster an offense that needed a shot of adrenaline directly to the heart. What we got was half a Red Bull as he systematically tried to corner the market on medicore outfielders and reserve infielders. Guillen, Fontenot, now Ross. My toes are tingling. Who needs another Clark-Williams-Bonds when we can have Moe, Larry and Curly? Dontrelle Willis will soon appear in the role of Schemp. Sabean has done everything but lift a torch in the harbor: "Give us your tired, your poor, your no longer useful." The Giants are the MLB equivalent of a rescue mission.
The acquisition of Ross on waivers from Florida brings the list of Giants outfielders to six (seven if you count the vagabond Huff). Bowker went bye-bye, Rowand just went south, and Scheirholz is currently in witness protection. The bright spot is Torres, and Burrell brings a professional approach to the plate but is a defensive liability more suitied to hit sixth on a contender. The latest additions (Guillen and Ross) are nothing more than grasping at straws with both players available only because their non-contending teams were willing to give them away.
As appalled as I was that the Giants signed a wretch like Jose "Molina Speed" Guillen (and changing your uniform number to ditch Bengie's old number "1" doesn't make you faster), it's the Cody Ross move that has finally pushed me over the edge.
Ross: .265 BA, 11HR, 58RBI. He doesn't stink, but he won't make anyone forget Barry Bonds -- or Mike Aldrete for that matter. He's yet another center fielder on a team that likes to play DHs at the corners. Someone needs to tell Sabean that MLB doesn't stand for Must Like Beer and he doesn't get to play a rover.
Worse, the repreated moves have done little to strengthen the offense but are crippling the defense. The Giants glove unit is about as loose as Paris Hilton's morals, and the video highlights aren't nearly as much fun. We can talk about the struggles of the pitching staff, a major concern, but a lot of innings are being extended by a defense that makes even routine plays an adventure unfit for anyone this side of Indiana Jones.
Numbers aside, here's my compalint. Sabean claimed Ross on waivers, obstensibly to keep him from getting to San Diego. But Ross doesn't help the Giants -- in fact his acquisition meant the Giants had to DFA middle infielder Matt Downs. Remember Downs? Earlier this year Sabean sang his praises. But, we clearly needed a sixth (or seventh) outfielder. Mission accomplished.
A similar move wasn't made when Derek Lee, an impact bat at a postion of need, hit the waiver wire. He was reportedly headed for Philadelphia or Atlanta. From Sabean? Crickets. Lee goes to Atlanta for three VERY minor leaguers, a used fungo and a rosin bag.
To recap: the Giants passed on a player they could use who was bound for teams they're likely battle for the wildcard but clamied a player they can't use to keep him from going to a team they have no hope of catching. Did I mention that Sabean really really really really really really really really really really really sucks?
Do you know who I really feel sorry for (besides the fans)? Nate Shierholtz. He's gotta be curled up in a corner wondering whether to laugh, cry, or put the barrell in his mouth and pull the trigger. The guy gets one AB a week and then is exiled back to the pine. Every roster move pushes the spring training "his job to lose" guy further down the depth chart. Through no fault of his own he's in a hole so deep he can't get out with pitons and a climbing rope.
This team is a mess. It was fun for awhile, but they're stuck in quicksand and every movve just makes them sink deeper into the muck. This is the time to stop struggling and hope someone tosses them a rope. The powers that be have to realize that what they're doing isn't working. That rope has to come from ownership -- and they need to hang Sabean with it.
The 2010 season is gone. Long live 2011 -- and the post-Sabean regime.