Giants 2011 Freefall: the Walking Wounded Become the Living Dead

The San Francisco Giants saw last weekend’s critical three game home series with the NL West leading Arizona Diamondbacks as a way to reanimate their chances of making the 2011 MLB playoffs. No doubt filmmaker George Romero would have been proud– the reanimated Giants looked remarkably similar to many of the protagonists in Romero’s classic films.         

zombies_nightofthelivingdead -3-The horror of those three games, along with a three game sequel at San Diego, only underscored the team’s well chronicled failings: a viral inability to score runs, the walking dead infield defense, line-ups populated with slow moving non-threatening veterans.

The numbers generated in those two series tell the nightmarish story of how the Giants went from 6 games back on Thursday September 1st to 7 games back on Thursday September 8th. San Francisco is once again in sole possession of 30th place in MLB runs scored– 483 runs which averages to 3.38 per game.

The Giants actually out-scored the Padres and D’Backs 23 runs to 20, or an average of 3.83 runs per game, but only plated 4 runs in their three losses.

The bullpen was a just little off during the two series, pitching 12.1 innings, with 5 earned runs, a 3.72 ERA, and 17 strikeouts. Highlights included rookie first baseman Brett Pill’s smashing debut– a home run in his first Major League at bat on Tuesday September 6th followed with a 2 for 4 game the next day and another HR. Although Pill’s rookie status is undercut by his age (27), you can’t argue with a .429 average.

But game management and execution fell short at a time when there is little margin for mistakes. Somehow, and please don’t ask me to begin to explain why, center fielder Andres Torres was allowed to be present throughout the first four games, going 0-8 in a start and three other appearances. That brings Torres’ season totals to a .222 BA and 87 SOs in 315 ABs.

Just as amazing, shortstop Orlando Cabrera started five of the six games, going 3-18 at the plate with ever-diminishing range and a propensity to make simply awful errors. In the bottom of the 8th inning of Wednesday’s tight 2-1 pitching duel, Cabrera dropped a routine pop up allowing the Pad’s Will Venable to reach base. Cameron Maybin tripled Venable home and Heath Bell had a comfortable 3-1 cushion to notch his 36th save of the season.

Except for getting one start over the two series, slick fielding rookie Brandon Crawford sat in the dugout warming the pine as Cabrera’s batting stats as a San Francisco Giant dipped to .217AVG/.232OBP/.245SLG. Numbers which make merely bad look pretty damn good.

The breathless rush by the ever alert sportstalk radio community and a number of overheated bloggers to be the first to declare the Giants’ season dead in the water started about a week ago. And there’s certainly cause for concern: with 19 games left for each team, Arizona would have to go 8-11 and San Francisco 15-4 just to get to a 90-72 tie.

While others can’t wait to hear the fat lady sing, I’m going old school just this once. Only when the Giants are eliminated from contention via mathematics will you be able to pry that maplewood bat from my cold dead hands…

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