Week in Review (4/18-4/24)

Results:

2-4 (10-11 overall; 4 GB)

8-1 W @ Col; 6-3 W @ Col; 10-2 L @ Col; 4-1 L vs.Atl; 5-2 L vs.Atl; 9-6 L v.Atl

It sure liked this was going to be a great week after Tuesday night’s game. Then it looked like a crappy week. Then on Sunday it looked like it might end well, then tragic, then magical, then really, really, really, depressingly awful. BUT, only 4 games back even with all that. Not much to be excited about though: only a few guys hitting, not a lot of great pitching, and more bad defense. That’s a 10-11 team.

Hitter of the Week:

I keep picking Pablo (this is not a bad thing) and he probably did have the best week of anyone in the lineup, but I’m going with Pat Burrell. I hate Pat Burrell. I love Pat Burrell. He’s been hitting for power all year, and this week he added some other kinds of hits (you know, singles and doubles) to raise the average. More importantly, he helped set the tone early against the Rockies with his big first inning homer last Monday. Line for the week: 5 runs, 1 HR, 4 RBI, .429 avg. Well done.

Pitcher of the Week:

Well, Tim Lincecum nearly threw a no-hitter in Coors so that should earn him pitcher of the month, right? However, the Giants played on national TV here in Boston on Saturday, which meant I got to watch the game live. Timmy kind of ruined my day with all his walks. My pitcher of the week is Ryan Vogelsong because we might hate this guy with a passion in another week or so depending on how he fares as a starter. But back in the day this guy was a top pick and future hope and then he magically turned in to Jason Schmidt via a trade. So, there’s something nostalgic about his return the Gigantes. And he may never get a chance to be the POTW again. This week he was good for 4 and 2/3 innings of shutout ball out of the ‘pen. Hopefully this is a sign of good things.

Looking Ahead:

I really, really hope I don’t have to write about Ryan Vogelsong and Pat Burrell next week. We need a Buster Posey/Aubrey Huff battle for hitter of the week and a Matt Cain/Madison Bumgarner  death match for the top pitcher prize.

The Bad news: Giants go on the road (actually ten games on the east coast). The Good news: Pirates and Nationals and Mets. Feels like a time to get some momentum. Also, the next time the Giants play a home game: May 6th against the Rockies. Lots of work to be done boys.

(-SB)

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Crowded in the Outfield

The Giants have a problem. Actually they have a few this season, but the one I’m most focused on has to do with having too many Outfielders and not nearly enough roster space.

The Legendary Cody Ross, he of last years NLCS MVP-ness, will quite obviously return to starting in Right Field once he comes off of the DL, so the question is then which Giant gets bumped for the roster space? This might not be a huge issue if Andres Torres ends up on the DL, but at some point in the near future,the Giants will have one player on the roster too many. So who loses out? Let’s take a look at some options.

Aaron Rowand: Going into the season, Rowand was nothing more than a 5th outfielder who was making way too much money and couldn’t hit to save Buster Posey’s life. At the start of the season he was my choice to be traded (or rather given away for a dozen bats or something) or just plain cut. However something has happened since then. He’s actually hitting. Not great, not outstanding, but he’s hitting, which is something the Giants as a whole are lacking right now. His defense isn’t there anymore, but is he on the chopping back?

Nate Schierholtz: 4th outfielder who isn’t hitting well, but is filling in as the Giants late innings defensive replacement. At this point no Giants fan sees Schierholtz as anything other than an extra defender, but that’s totally ok. He’s young, got good defense and has no more minor league options,which is a big issue to consider when thinking about who is leaving the team.

Pat Burrell: Oh Pat. Pat, Pat, Pat. Burrell has a lot of things going for him. Last years heroics, a really cheap contract…and actually that’s about it at this point. Pat may have 3* home runs, but his offense as a whole has been lacking. He’s not great in the outfield and, as stated above, he’s on a super cheap contract, which means the Giants wont be eating that much money if they cut him loose.

Brandon Belt: Calm down Giants Nation. Yes I am mentioning sending The Chosen One down to AAA as a possible fix for the outfield problem. Multiple reasons why I think this: First, his offense hasn’t been all that great. He’s totally shown potential and has shown flashes of brilliance but I don’t’ think it would kill him to season a bit at AAA for a while. Second, Aubrey Huff, by far, should be a first baseman, not an outfielder. This move would let Huff go back to first, opening up room in the outfield. Finally, Belt has minor league options remaining, which means the Giants wouldn’t lose anyone in the process.

Mark DeRosa: Will not happen since he is owed a good deal of money and can play pretty much any position.

So what do I think? Honestly at this point it’s down to trading/cutting Pat Burrell or sending down Belt. I think Burrell getting cut is the most likely, Belt being sent down makes the most sense to me. But what say you readers? Feel free to opine!

(-NW)

Quick Hit Opening Day Thoughts

– Lincecum looked good. Kershaw looked really good.

– Belt did not look like a rookie. Posey did.

– Sandoval had a couple of moments that made me say “this is a totally different player.” He had a few other moments where I thought it might have still been August 2010.

– Santiago Casilla did not inspire confidence that the bullpen can repeat last year’s performance. But, it was only one inning (sample size!).

– Every game I watch Pat Burrell play I look over at my wife at least once (probably more) and say: “I HATE Pat Burrell.” Usually, after I say this he does something beautiful (like hit a home run off Jonathan Broxton).

– No one likes to lose the first game, and no one ever wants to lose the Dodgers, but it was only one game, so no freaking out. Except for this…allow me to freak out over this: Are we really going to have to watch Tejada all season? There is no way he is the shortstop for 2011!

(-SB)

Scrap Heap Signings

Let’s reflect. Growing up, I was able to pick any cereal once a year on my birthday. This was a big deal in my 8-year-old world for three reasons:

  1. I never got to eat “sugar” cereal. Lots of bran and strong intestinal tracts in my family.
  2. Cereal was my favorite food.
  3. The potential for not only some good cereal, but a sweet toy that was hidden in the box/bag.

Looking up and down the aisle like a giddy schoolboy, I would pick the cereal with the best potential for tasty cereal and a worthy toy. I would often go for the knock off cereal like “Lieutenant Crunch” due to its larger size and toy potential.

We are in the time of the baseball year where teams are scrambling to patch the remaining holes in their roster with second-rate talent. As exciting as it is to see Craig Counsel sign for his 17th one year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers, it is a time when teams are hoping to find decent enough players to simply survive.

But underneath all the mundane signings, there is a tasty morsel of deliciousness that every MLB GM seeks to uncover. No, none of the GM’s will ever admit that any of these players will be “season changers” for their respective squad, but that doesn’t mean they still don’t hold out hope that their signing will be the one that everyone talks about. They will dig deep into that bag (because most generic cereals come in bags) of “Lieutenant Crunch” and try to unearth that toy that will revolutionize their season.

For every Craig Counsel, Fred Lewis, Terry Mulholland (yes, I just went late 80’s) and Garrett Atkins, there is a hidden jewel that is going to perform WAY over expectation and make every GM look like they have the foresight of an Old Testament prophet.

Enter the greatness that is Pat Burrell. He was sent to the scrap heap by Tampa Bay in the middle of 2010 and thought to be done. All the GM’s holding out to uncover the “toy” of greatness were scurrying around trying to find the piece that would send their team towards a second half playoff run. Initially signed to a minor league deal by the SF Giants, he became the power-bat-spark that played a huge role in getting the team to World Series.

I can still remember the scene of his clutch late inning HR against the Dodgers that stuck like an arrow in their heart. I was sitting on the patio of my buddy’s sunny Santa Cruz home drinking an adult beverage when David B. Flemming’s voice echoed through the Redwoods announcing the HR that we would never forget.

So, let’s sit back, nibble on some “Lieutenant Crunch” and watch all the GM’s scramble in the hopes that our team finds the hidden morsel of deliciousness that makes us say, “Brian Sabean is @%$W&* genius.”

(-JH)