A lesser man would point out that a warning I issued in late May about Giant pitching went unheeded and is now costing the team games.
The message in that warning was simple: trying to replace injured starter Ryan Vogelsong with bullpen long man Chad Gaudin would be a mistake. Such a move, a) would needlessly put off what really needs to be done– trade for a starter to replace Vogelsong; and, b) could likely damage the bullpen.
Only a craven weasel would stoop so low as to point this out now that the bullpen is struggling and coughing up wins.
OK, I'm tired of stooping, can I get up now?
The MLB Amazing Quote of the Month has to be San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy's response to the question "what does the team need?", as reported recently by the SF Chronicle's John Shea. Bochy's response? "If you look in the bullpen, that's where we need some help" !
Well, sure, you decided to remove one of your best pitchers from the pen and now you're shocked, shocked to find that your bullpen is fading faster than Lindsay Lohan's attention span at an AA meeting.
All the while the team, the local sports media, and the clinically unstable sportstalk radio community continue to assert that pitching is this team's major problem. Don't get me wrong– San Francisco needs to deal for a legitimate starting pitching. They will pay a price in prospects and money but that move needs to happen very soon.
But the 2013 Giants aren't going anywhere without upgrading their run scoring, especially now that it appears they've lost Angel Pagan, one of their top players, for at least two months. If I hear one more fan say "we have enough offense" without any evidence other than they saw Gregor Blanco hit three singles in a game on TV last week I will need to triple my current medication.
I don't want to confuse the offense question with actual numbers, but:
> in the last 8 games (through the Sunday loss against the Marlins) the Giants averaged 2.5 runs per game;
> to date in June they're averaging 3.57 runs per game;
> in 12 of 21 June games played, the Giants scored 3 runs or less;
The Giants started the season without a run producing left fielder (the Andres Torres/Gregor Blanco platoon). Now that Pagan is down the outfield situation has grown darker and more ominous (I'm trying a Stephen King approach here).
It's been fun watching energetic 26 year old minor leaguer Juan Perez take off in center field. He has a ballistic arm (4 assists in 11 games) and has provided several key hits. But the .646 OPS and .313 OBP are indicators that he's not going to be the offensive difference-maker the team needs.
Keep in mind, Perez spent five years in the minor leagues (he was drafted in the 13th round of the 2008 amateur player draft) and this is his first call-up. We know it's highly unlikely GM Brian Sabean will rely on a mid-range minor leaguer to carry his team to the playoffs.
Great outfield defense is essential and it's exciting to see runners cut down on the base paths, but I'd rather have a merely good defender who is also an extra-base-hitting-RBI-monster. Let's call it The Nate Schierholtz Hypothesis.
So while Brian Sabean is looking for a starter, and Bruce Bochy wants another bullpen arm to replace the bullpen arm he had, runs will continue to not be scored.
Even if the Giants get a little hotter at the plate with the welcomed return of third baseman Pablo Sandoval from the DL and rehab, in the sage words of Mr. Winston Wolfe, "Let's not start sucking each other's d—k's quite yet."
We need that left field bopper I asked Santa Claus for last Christmas. And didn't get. (Talk about craven weasels… .)