“I’m going to use him off the bench, [and with] double switches,” Bochy said.
“We needed Brandon,” he said. “When you’ve got the number of injuries we’ve had, the inventory gets a lot smaller.”
None of this makes a lick of sense. If anything, the Giants have a surfeit or outfielders: as it stands now, it’s tough finding at-bats for Schierholtz, Rowand, Burrell, Torres, and Ross.
Meanwhile Aubrey Huff is dead last among big-league first basemen in WAR — a full .5 wins behind the next guy, Daric Barton. Huff likely won’t continue this level of non-production for the whole year, and will probably bounce back and end up in positive WAR territory (he says, hopefully). But calling up Belt as a bench guy makes zero sense. The Giants’ injuries have depleted their infield depth at every infield position except first base.
The only way this makes sense is if Bochy’s story is a smoke screen to protect his struggling veteran; i.e. if the actual plan is to ease Belt in at first base if Huff continues to struggle. This cover story would allow Huff to save face and maybe keep him from pressing. Maybe I’m being naive and giving Bochy too much credit, but honestly, this is the only way to justify the Belt call-up.
The highlight of the baseball season so far was, without a doubt, watching second baseman Wilson Valdez pitch a clean top of the 19th and get the win against the Reds. That was quickly followed by the absolute nadir.
As you have no doubt heard by now, Giants’ catcher and reigning Rookie of the Year Buster Posey sustained a broken ankle and torn knee ligaments in a collision at the plate in last night’s game against the Marlins. Since apparently everyone on God’s green earth is required to have an opinion about the matter, here is mine.
So those are my thoughts. Now I’m curious to hear yours.
Giants-A’s at AT&T Park this weekend. Honestly, there’s not much of a rivalry feeling to these games, especially given the fact that the Giants just played two (albeit short) series against their actual division rivals, the Dodgers and the Rockies.
But this should be a helluva series based on the probably pitchers: you’ve got the best rotation in the AL vs. the third-best NL rotation (by FIP). Trevor Cahill is up against a resurgent (or incredibly fluky) Ryan Vogelsong tonight, and then we get Lincecum-Anderson on Saturday and Sanchez-Gonzalez to round out the series. Pretty stellar pitching matchups, and given the futility of the offenses in question, it’s never too early to start thinking about no-no’s and perfect games. (Having typed that, of course these games will all turn into slugfest routs, right?)
Even if you’re not a fan of either team, I encourage you to flip on the Saturday game. It’s a 7:10 EDT start on FOX, so watch it on mute if at all possible—otherwise Eric Karros will sodomize your earholes with his idiocy. But watch anyway to see two excellent pitchers ply their trade.
If I could turn back tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime …
It’s both perfectly logical and inconceivable that the Giants are back in first place again. Logical because they’re the defending world champions and have a rotation for the ages; inconceivable because they sport one of the worst offenses in recent memory. As good as the Giants’ pitching has been (#3 in FIP and #7 by WAR), their offense has been that bad (4th from the bottom in wRC+ and 5th-worst in wOBA).
One reason for the offensive ineptitude has been the black hole at shortstop named Miguel Tejada. Not getting on base, not making plays in the field, basically not doing anything of value. So far this season he’s put up -.5 WAR, bad enough for 8th worst among everyday players.
Giants fans are understandably pissed off about his lack of production. But looking again at the list of worst WAR performers we see another Giant — Mr. Rally Thong himself, Aubrey Huff — at fifth-worst with a dazzling -0.7. And yet Tejada is the lightning rod for all Giants-fan rage. What gives?
Well, there are a number of reasons I can think of. Huff is still riding high on a wave of goodwill from last year’s World Series win, while Tejada signed after the season as a free agent. Huff also took one for the team and was stationed out in right field to make room for Brandon Belt, where he had a series of misadventures not entirely of his own making. (His WAR may have taken a corresponding hit, although I haven’t looked at the data.) And while I don’t like to speculate about these motives so much, I can’t help but wonder if Huff’s being American-born and white plays a role. Not casting aspersions, just wondering aloud.
I’m not suggesting that we all start hatin’ on Huff, however. While Tejada and Huff are problems, neither is the problem. Cody Ross and Brandon Belt are both in negative WAR territory. Andres Torres, last year’s Giants WAR leader, has missed more than half the games this season due to injury. And 2011 WAR leader Pablo Sandoval has been sidelined for 3 weeks with a broken hamate bone, leaving only one hitter with a WAR over 1: the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year Buster Posey (who is hitting poorly by Buster Posey standards).
And yet Tejada continues to be the target of the call-in-show and message-board rage. Yes, it’s frustrating watching him flail at the plate and in the field, but what are the alternatives? There’s no Alcides Escobar or Starlin Castro waiting in the wings. The light-hitting and defensively inconsistent Manny Burriss ain’t the answer, as we’ve seen from his past big-league performance. Maybe when Pablo comes back Fontenot gets more starts at short? I dunno. Right now there’s no real answer. Just suck it up until Huff starts hitting again, I guess. But give poor Miguel Tejada a break. It’s not his fault he’s getting paid $6.5 million to do a job he’s ill-equipped to do; that responsibility lies with Giants management.
So why do we (specifically baseball fans, but human beings generally) need scapegoats? I guess it’s easier to get pissed off at one guy than to look at the entire situation and parse it out logically (as I’ve attempted to do here). Is that all it is? Human nature? What do you think? Comment about it!