Monday, June 18, 2007

Won't be Posting for a While

And not because the team has been playing so badly: I'm getting ready for a vacation and part of that requires me to get a lot of work done before I leave, as well as prepare for the trip, so I will probably not be posting anymore until July comes.

Some random thoughts before I go:

Lincecum is Fine

These fine blogs covered this situation fine I think - McCovey Chronicles, El Lefty Malo, and Baycity - but I just wanted to add my two centavos that Lincecum should stay up, as he has nothing to prove in AAA (when you give up only 1 run for the first month of the season, that pretty much says it all, don't it?), but a skipped start, a la Cain's in May, might be good in order to clear his mind after a bad stretch plus he's on pace for 211 IP, so it would be good to reduce the load on his arm, if only to stem potential critcism of the Giants management - they will be in for a load of criticism if this season doesn't turn around soon, no use adding abusing our top prospect's arm to the list.

Giants Season

Obviously it is not going as any of us hoped, though some have claimed that they saw this all along. Just like they said that they saw this all along in 2002 and 2003, except that they didn't, or that they saw it all along in 2004, except that they didn't that year either. And it doesn't take a Nobel Prize winner to see that 2005 was lost without Bonds. The real crux of the matter, I think, is that most of the "major" free agents passed on the Giants, so the Giants ended up signing the same old, same old, and thus the naysayers said, "See!" But even then, perhaps it's better that they passed.

A bigger project I was going to tackle but I'll just get into now with less details, is that people complain about the choices made but sometimes all the choices were bad. For example, the year we signed Alfonzo to play 3B, he was the best choice. There was him or David Bell or you could give the job to Pedro Feliz, who up to then showed no aptitude for hitting at the major league level. With all the problems Alfonzo had at the time of the signing, if you wanted to win the next season, you had to sign him. And Durham was a great signing, or so it seemed at the time, given his health and durability his whole career, and his offensive performance.

Same problem this year. None of the "top" free agents were worth getting, in my opinion, for the contracts they got, Zito included. The risk of so many years for stats lacking star quality made them risky - Pierre, Lee, Matthews - and personally, I think at least two of them (Lee and Matthews) were using the Giants to drive up the price for the team they really wanted to sign with, Lee in particular when the Giants told him they chould go higher and he told them not to bother.

In any case, I think the Giants won by losing those bids: Lee is only hitting .849 OPS - .757 on the road - and Pierre is his usual nice BA but no walks or power to speak of, and his OPS sunk low because he doesn't have a good home park to prop up his overall stats, he now hits in a pitchers park and in a key position in the Dodgers offense, 2nd and Matthews is not hitting anywhere near what he did last year, he's more around his career norms now, and still he's hitting abnormally high against RHP than before, and incredibly well at home, which is more of a pitcher's park, in that power is reduced significantly there, leading to a lowered run environment.

I thought that signing Roberts, Molina, and Durham to relatively short contracts, given that no one in our farm system was really shining - Frandsen is OK, but hardly a sure thing prospect - was the smart thing to do in order to have a relatively competitive offense to go with the stellar pitching that we potentially had and yet not hurt future development while trying to win. Zito is a great addition in concept to the rotation, but that contract is just so risky - I may find ways that Giants management might be justifying it, but it doesn't mean that I'm always comfortable with all their moves. I just hope that they are doing the right thing given their successes before.

And really, if you are going to sign Bonds, you have to do your best to win this season. There is no sense to trying to rebuild when you have Bonds on your team, it is just a waste of money. And Bonds wouldn't be happy either.

Still, I think the near final piece of the puzzle has been placed: Durham moved to batting 3rd, Klesko moved to hitting behind Bonds. I can see Molina earning the #5 spot for his hitting in runners on situations, but Klesko really should bat there, now that he is hitting over .900 OPS since May started. With teams intentionally walking Bonds still, Klesko is then coming up with one or two men on base, and he walks a lot so that leaves a lot of 2-3 runers on situations for Molina and Feliz batting after him. Feliz hits great with bases loaded, the other teams are clearly afraid of him at that point, and he hits a heck of a lot better (.868 OPS vs. about .720 OPS in all other situations). And Molina has - for his long career - hit significantly better with runners on than not, particularly with RISP and 2 outs plus bases loaded situations.

Just DL Durham Already

I just noticed that Durham is out of the lineup today. He's still having abdominal problems that has hampered his playing. Has he ever had an injury that hasn't lingered? He's the guy Sabean was thinking of when he was talking about players who don't follow the Giants recommendations. The Giants should have just DLed him when Roberts was DLed and let Frandsen play because he does nobody any good when he's not 100%. His OPS since May began is around .660, and that sucks coming any spot in the lineup, but particularly so from the #5 spot.

Despite our offensive problems, I think they should just DL Durham now, get him 100%, and let Frandsen play 2B. In games he has 3 or more plate appearances (AB+BB), he is batting .271/.328/.407/.735, which is not as good as Durham normally but better than Durham current .230/.297/.365/.662 since May started. And the average 2B since 2000 has hit .273/.335/.406/.741, so Frandsen is right in there, average hitting 2B.

The only problem with Frandsen playing is that this means Feliz probably is batting 6th and Klesko is batting 3rd. The only good news is that Feliz is finally adjusted to his new hitting philosophy and he has struck out only 16 times in his last 160 AB, for a 90% contact rate and BB/K ratio of 8:16 or 50%. That's pretty good and excellent for him. However, this has resulted in a big drop in power which was his only source of offensive value previously, though the good news is that he has boosted his power this month (at a cost of BB but not SO; admittedly small sampling). Hopefully he can start benefiting from his new hitting philosophy in the second half of this season.

I would prefer batting Frandsen 3rd and Klesko 5th, pushing Molina to 6th and Feliz 7th. The lineup calculator found that the 3rd hitter doesn't add as much to the overall offense as the 5th hitter, so you keep the two higher OBP 1/2 in Roberts and Winn, Frandsen 3rd, as his OBP is average, then Bonds, Klesko, Molina to drive in the runners, and Feliz to pick up the scraps sometimes. Vizquel can bat 8th and be the secondary leadoff off from the bottom of the lineup.

Giants Are Not Out of It Yet

There is still a lot of games to play, we have more weeks to play than games behind (Dusty's rule) so if we make up a game a week, we'll be fine. While we are very far behind, I think the Giants still can get moving with our rotation looking so good, even with the blips in performances, and our offense firming up with Klesko batting behind Bonds when Durham is in the lineup, or better yet, Durham out of the lineup until he heals. We still need Roberts to return to career norms - he's still hitting poorly, he probably could have used another week on the DL or avoided the good pitching of Haren, Dice-K and Wakefield - but for a short stretch there he was 5 for 14 so there's hope plus he's still getting on base OK, which is his main function, he's just not hitting for power: .200/.333/.280/.613.

I still think we can get a good winning streak going soon, with Durham out of the rotation in the key hitting spot, hopefully it starts soon. The other teams in the NL West are starting to falter, as I noted they should as soon as their pitching regresses to the mean, so the Giants need to take advantage. Unfortunately they drew the short straw and get to face Toronto, Boston, and New York, plus Oakland, whereas other teams get to face Tampa Bay and Baltimore instead.

But they will be done with the Yankees over the weekend, so they need to make their move starting next week at home against NL West opponents, the 'Dres and the D-Backs, then take on the Reds and Cards on the road just before the All-Star break, which is extra long this year for the Giants, I suppose since they need a day to reconfigure the park back for regular play after prettying it up for the All-Star game.

But there's little time left to make up such a large deficit, so they will definitely have to make some sort of move up the NL West before the All Star game to have any hope of competing for the title. And hope is coming up short for us for the meanwhile, the flame is a-flickering. But I think a winning streak is still possible with the pitching we have, we just need Roberts to get the offense started and Bonds, Klesko and Molina to drive them in.

Go Giants and see you all in a couple of weeks! Keep the faith!

15 comments:

  1. Frankly, it takes a little gall to tell people who are clearly right in their estimation of this team that they weren't really right because of their powers of insight but rather just because sour hearted bastards luck into being right sometimes, too, or that we're really wrong to be right or whatever it is you're trying to say. After all, optimism does not imply virtue nor does skepticism imply the lack of same. When you're wrong, say you're wrong, it's a useful part of a debate.

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  2. "optimism does not imply virtue"

    If it's good enough for the Prez's Iraq policy, why not for OGC?

    Don't you find he site's rose-colored background soothing?

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  3. > Don't you find he site's rose-colored background soothing?

    I do. Now, I don't really expect this team to crawl out of the abyss that is the NL West basement, but I can always hope they do.

    Part of being a fan is to have that eternal hope that your team can crawl out of it, no? What good is liking a team when you get all pissy and pessimistic when the team is doing poorly (again).

    Martin, while he's an optimist (like myself), is also a realist. You can't EXPECT this team to come back. That would be naive and it just sets you up to be disappointed. Now, HOPE is an entirely different story. You can always hope.

    I just don't understand why people have to go around pointing out the negatives to all of the people who choose to look past them and find some positives (or hope for positives). Are they trying to save us from disappointment? Trust me, it isn't necessary, and no, we don't need it.

    Besides, its easy to argue points from that side (the negative side when the team is losing) of the table. It's far tougher to find reasons for hope and reasons to cheer. Thats the route I take. Thats the route I think a fan SHOULD take.

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  4. Maybe I've said it the wrong way and offended people's sensitivities, but it's still too early to say "who's right" or "who's wrong". There is still time - which admittedly is dwindling fast - for the season to turn around. My point with my examples is that the pestimists can be wrong, so I guess if you have a problem being wrong I can see being perturbed.

    Just like I have a problem with people painting me as "rose-colored optimist". The team is playing horribly right now and things are sinking fast - I think anybody can see and say that. It doesn't take someone with insight to see that, and I guess maybe I should just say the obvious things and a lot more readers will be happy. I can wallow with the moaners and groaners and all will be well.

    However, there has been many teams who were able to come back from large deficits and win their particular divisional/league championship. The Boston Braves of 1914, for example, was 10 games back as late as July 30th and still came back to win the NL. They were 10 games back on June 19th, and was as far back as 15 games on July 4th.

    Assuming there are snickering about that example, a more recent example is the A's of 2005, they were still 10.5 games back on July 7th and came back to finish second in their division. On June 19th, they were 10 games back, 29-39, and they basically danced around the 10 games back mark from May 27 to July 7th, before making their move up the division. Not first, but still a very decent season.

    And I never said that this is a likely outcome, just that it is not over yet, the story is yet to unfold. What's the cliche, it is darkest before the dawn? Well, I know that the dawn sometimes never comes. But sometimes it does.

    Nobody "knows" what's going to happen next, I have certainly never said I did, I just like to point out the positives and negatives that I see and give my opinion on where things might go. I still see some positives to give hope. Whether that is a fool's hope or not is yet to unfold.

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  5. But sfgfan, why is it your place to determine the proper behavior for a fan? Do we need to root in one, officially sanctioned voice?

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  6. My intentions aren't to tell someone how to be a fan. Rereading my comment, it sure sounds like it is, and I apologize for that.

    What I was getting at is that there are two sides to every group of fans. If one half chooses to remain optimistic and believes in that optimism, so be it. If someone disagrees with that point of view, of course they could express their opinions. It is easy to explain their stance/point without making it sound like they demand the other side to "right" themselves.

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  7. Thanks for the plug Martin,

    Enjoy the vacation! And I like the optimism, it's much needed at the current time.

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  8. I don't think anyone can clain to have been "clearly right." First, those who thought the team would do poorly cited the Giants' players being over the hill and having nothing to contribute. The blogs were full of dire warnings about Molina, Lowry, Morris, Klesko, Bonds and Winn. Each of those guys has performed very, very well. They have performed far better than the detractors thought they would.
    Next, Feliz, we were told, would be worse than last year, and had nothing to offer. He has been better than last year, and clearly is not the cause of the poor play.
    It seems to me that 4 guys have significantly uderperformed - Roberts, Durham, Aurilia, Omar. Roberts and Aurilia have been hurt. The anti-Sabean members of the blogosphere tend to say it's cause they're old. Actually, I don't see where age is clearly a factor at all. I mean, every team has injuries, and some very young teams have had many more injuries than we have. But these two are important players who were counted on and for whom we have no comparable replacements. Personally, I thought both Durham and Omar would have slight declines from their outstanding years last year. Omar, in particular, has demonstrated an up and down pattern, one year to the next. I thought he would be good for 275-280. I never foresaw his precipitous decline. Could it be age related? Of course, but I don't know if that is certain. Durham, too, I thought would come in at 285 or so.
    I find it ironic that people now want a fire sale "so we can play prospects." Well, some of our problem traces directly to giving substantial playing time to Linden (clearly a prospect, clearly the type of player we will be getting back in trade) and, to a lesser extent, Niekro. Likewise, after a terrific opening series, Lewis went in the tank, Ort is not and never will be a starter. Frandsen has not seized the opportunity.
    I saw this team as an above 500 team in the off season. Despite their record, they have not statistically, shown to be nearly as bad as their current record. Clearly they were outplayed by Oalkand in the sweep and have been in the deepest of doldrums since. But, it is undeniable they have a very good pitching staff. Until the recent funk, they were leading the NL west in runs. For the month of June, they were 12-16; they scored 55 runs, gave up 46 (and the two blow outs equaled out, the 15-2 win over Colo, the 3-15 loss to Oak). They lost 3 one run games, lost 8 two run games, and lost 3 blow outs (4 or more runs); they won one 1 run game, 2 two run games and won 6 blow out games.
    My conclusion has nothing to do with age. I think they are not playing smart, not playing like veterans. I am in the camp that is mortified by the failure to move runner over, to have productive outs. They are 3-11 in games decided by 1 or 2 runs. That is playing good enough to lose, that is not playing as a team, not having an identity, what ever cliche you want to use. Sabean brings in veterans because the expectation is they are more impervious to the pressures of the game, more experienced, know the correct play, etc, etc. What I have seen is a team that does not play like veterans (Sweeney's failed run down, for one glaring example). They are just playing frustratingly poorly right now, but they do not have the God awful stats associated with a last place team.
    I would love to see a couple of beneficial trades, but I sure as hell we don't give away our players for the Elija Dukes and Lastings Milledges of the world. Truly, this team is a reversion to the mean (Roberts) and a solid #5 or 6 bat ( Durham if he reverts or some other hitter). On the other hand, I don't want panic, I don't want another HIllenbrand trade; I would love to keep our pitching unless we can get a young, proven, difference making starter. And, folks, there ain't many of them out there.

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  9. Thanks sfgfan for your backup, I appreciate it. That's something I should have noted, that I try to be a realist.

    I try to point out the good and the bad, and I take the stance that my readers are intelligent enough to see what the obvious is, so I try to focus on the harder parts, the things not so obvious or clear. The reality is that if anything, I'm a contrarian.

    I've been called rose-colored for a long time but it wasn't always like that. For example, when the Giants led from start to finish in 2003, I spent a lot of the season cautioning others that there is still a lot of games left, that things could turn and we could lose the lead. One called me Chicken Little for that one.

    If many years of watching Giants mediocrity didn't do it, the 1993 season certainly seared it into my soul that you just never know what will happen. I was so sure it was our season, up to about when it was announced that Salomon Torres was starting our most important game; I pretty much thought it was over then, just like when Livan was announced as the starter instead of Rueter for the 7th game.

    Unfortunately, no lead is ever really safe until you clinch the title, as Gene Mauch learned with the Phillies in the 60's, blowing a 6.5 game lead with 12 games left to play, going on a 10 game losing streak before winning 2, to finish tied for 2nd, 1 game behind the Cards.

    Likewise, that maxim is also true at the micro level, as no lead is ever really safe until you get the final out. I learned that early in my Giants love affair when they were losing by 6 runs, 7-1 against the Pirates and they scored 7 runs in the bottom of the ninth to win the game.

    It took all my strength to not scream out loud while secretly listening to the game with my transitor radio hidden under my pillow when I was suppose to be going to sleep. My strongest memories growing up was listening to my radio in bed like that.

    That lesson was reinforced greatly when, on my first date with the woman who eventually became my wife, I took her to a Giants game and the Giants scored 5 runs in the 9th to overcome the D-gers, who was leading 7-3 going into the 9th. I knew that had to be a good sign.

    Anyone who has been a Giants fan since at least 2002 has got to know that things don't always go your way, no matter how good things are going. Heck 2003 even, when Jose Cruz Jr. dropped that gimme fly ball that he caught 99 out of 100 times during the season but dropped it when it meant the most.

    It must be nice to just be either/or most of the time, I've thought, because I'm always conflicted. I wish I could be decisively one or the other as some people easily do. I'm wishy-washy often because I see so many damn sides, I recognize the feelings of the other side, I can see the good side of people who do bad things.

    That, funnily enough aside, was taught to me from a comic book, where the lead character was this bad guy who took a little boy hostage as he was making a break from prison (and his execution) but in the gun fight with the police, he saved the little boy when he was in harm's way, at the cost of his life, ironically at the time when he was suppose to be executed.

    That's the Ying and Yang of life. And that is my perspective. And I try to share that here on my blog, I don't go all rah-rah, we're the best, when we win a bunch - though I do enjoy it - and I don't form a lynch mob when we lose a bunch - though I hate losing with a passion.

    I have never said, and will rarely if ever say, that the Giants are the best team in the league, unless we are ever fortunate enough to win the World Series. If the team is mediocre, as they were in the 70's, I told all my Giants friends in elementary school (all of two of them; I grew up in the East Bay) that they weren't going to win or do much, while they thought "we're going all the way!"

    I did a lot of that over 30 years, so I was and still am appreciative of what Sabean has done for the Giants. The Giants were mediocre for most of the years before Sabean, from when I started in 1971 to 1997. There were pockets of goodness and pockets of badness, and a whole lot of mediocrity. And I like winning a whole lot better than mediocrity. I would rather lose big than to go through mediocrity again.

    I've said all along that this season is going to be a dogfight. It has been worse than I thought it would be, but I still see some glimmers of hope for a decent season. And as I showed above, that sometimes happens too.

    Am I guaranteeing it? No, I've just tried to list what needs to happen for us to start winning. Any one can see why we are losing.

    Can we end up in the cellar? Sure, I've never denied that but I figured there's enough people saying the obvious, I'm trying to bring what I think is a more balanced view.

    I hear this a lot about me so maybe I should be dumbing down my blog and bring the obvious into the equation. Perhaps I've been assuming too much about my readers.

    But I'm probably not changing. It doesn't interest me to write about the obvious, other than to acknowledge it. As I noted early in the season, the better way to enjoy this season - and as far as I'm concerned, I want to enjoy being a Giants fan, not pound my head into a rock - is to enjoy the bright spots as the season goes along, focus on the pitching staff and enjoy our young starters, enjoy each of Barry's homers. I thought that there was a good chance of being competitive, but unfortunately too many pieces of the puzzle has been underperforming, first one, then another, sometimes more than one.

    Sometimes a team is learning about itself during this early period and then start winning, like the 49ers did one season, winning out at the end of the season to squeak into the playoffs. Like the A's in 2005.

    And sometimes the team is just bad. But no one really knows, they make their guesses, and should the Giants do come back, I wouldn't say that I knew it, that "I'm foresighted".

    Personally, I doubt anybody is really foresighted, particularly anyone who says that he/she is. People make lucky guesses and can live off that one triumph, until the next foresighted person comes along.

    The best you can do is to present the whole story, best as you know it, and weave out potential scenarios of what's going to happen. You give signs of when a particular scenario will pan out out, signs when that scenario is not going to happen.

    And perhaps I have failed in doing that, but this has been my intention. To set expectations. To point out things others are not seeing. To point out the good when others only see bad, to point out the bad when others see only good. To be realistic as to our chances.

    We have a mountain to climb now, and it ain't no easy ride, but it is doable if things start clicking together. I think there's still time for Roberts to get on track and if he does, I think Roberts, Winn, Durham, Bonds, Klesko, Molina, Feliz, Vizquel, is a pretty good lineup, capable of scoring enough for the good pitching we have to win.

    But, to make those of you (and you know who you are) happy, it's not very likely and will take some doing. But it's still doable.

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  10. Honest to God, Martin, I really cannot put my finger on what is wrong with this team. I do think they have not found an identity, yet, as stupid as that sounds. Maybe a new manager takes some time to get to know his players, etc.
    I know baseball is 2/3 to 3/4 failure, but I don't understand how a veteran team has played so poorly (Sweeney's botched run down, Durham's botched run down, Figueroa's botched bunt, and, of course, the abysmal situational hitting.
    I already wrote to you about their league worst GO/AO ratio and how that leads to fewer SFs, fewer runners moved over, more GIDPs.
    I was looking at their results. They are 30-40. Of games where the winning margin is 3 or more, they are 15-15. In close games (games decided by 1 or 2 runs), they are 15-25,
    I looked at May, when they were 12-16. They scored 11 more runs than the opposition, for the month. In close games they were 3-11. This is unbelieveable. As I said, for the year, they are 15-25. This is partly bad luck (remember the Houston series, where Omar's potential game winning HR is 1 1/2 foul, and Pence hits one off the foul pole), partly lack of execution. Certainly we have been hurt by Durham's awful May/June, as well as Aurilia's. But Winn and Molina have overperformed, Klesko has been a contributor. Actually, I think things are more settled now: Klesko, Durham playing better, Feliz being adequate, Roberts back. And yet, we're winless on this road trip. Sorry for the rambling

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  11. Thanks for the good info Allfrank. It's OK, I ramble too (though paragraphs would be nice! :^)

    OK, one for the road before I go...

    Yeah, identity is what I would put it, except that the 15-25 record in close games is that identity. I've found that (unscientifically) that some team's season can be made or unmade by how they do in close games. That appears to be a random thing where the team would benefit one year and suffer from it in another. It appears to be our year for suffering, at least so far.

    Again, I would note that the bulk of that occcurred while Roberts was out on the DL. Outside of May, which covers much of his time off, the Giants are 12-14 in close games. One would think that someone like a Roberts would make a difference and he appears to be doing that. One could see immediate results of that, the two games we won, we won because of him getting us that one run that enables us to win.

    In addition, Bonds when through his long homerless streak during May. Obviously a homer here and there would have made the difference and enabled us to win or get a chance to win.

    The problem is that we have not had all wheels of our offense on at the same time. At various times, our leadoff, #2, #4, and #5 hitters were slumping badly in one way or another. But now we got them hitting OK, for the most part, in Roberts, Winn, Bonds, and Klesko.

    Then it doesn't help the offense to be facing so many good pitchers one after another. In each and every series recently, it seems like we face at least two very good starters (at least thus far this season), like we are facing each team's #1 and #2 starters when normally you get a break and face their #4 and #5 starters. Don't know if that changes soon, but that's what it seemed like.

    On top of that, as expected, our pitching has been looking more ordinary recently, the eventual regression to the mean. We knew Lowry and Morris wasn't THAT good, but Lincecum we had reasons to believe he was.

    And Zito has been up and down, unfortunately. As zen as he claims to be, he appears to be getting to amped up and unable to throw his curves effectively, something he has to be able to do in order to be effective. That happened to Morris last year, it appears. Carlos Beltran wasn't that good his first year of his free agent contract. And this year, Pierre and Lee aren't hitting their career norms, Lee more shockingly since Houston is such a hitters home, though he does have a lot of RBIs. One can only hope he can start feeling normal soon.

    With the road also hurting their chances, this upcoming homestand will give a clearer picture of what type of team and season we are going to have, will they get started or will they continue to scuffle and THAT would be the identity of this season.

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  12. I'll tell you what's wrong with this team, Frank. Quite simply, they suck. It's difficult for me to comprehend how you cannot see that.

    These guys can't do the basics, bunt a runner over, get a runner up a base with a ground ball, get a runner in from 3rd with less than 2 outs, play good defense, have effective relieiving, etc. Should I go on? Haven't you been paying attention to what has been happening game after game after game this season?

    The only bright light this season has been the starting pitching which has been pretty good on the whole. The rest of it is yesterday's garbage.

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  13. Good points Boof, but for me, you have to take things in context, not only of the season but of their past careers.

    Overall, yes, suck. But in what ways and will those ways continue? Some will regress to their career means, which means they make up things in a hurry. Others will regress to the mean for only the rest of the season, and that would be good, though their overall season stats will look bad. And some have not been healthy enough.

    And about the bullpen, that's youthful growing pains, you have to live with that if you want the team to rebuild with young players instead of signing up vets.

    And the defense, the main problems I've heard has been Bonds and Lewis, who else have been particularly bad? If you thow in Sweeney, well, that's why he's never been a starter despite his good bat. And Figueroa is a minor league lifer, so that's why he doesn't bunt that well, if he was any good he would have been up long ago.

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  14. Saying a player or a team "sucks" is just so much meaningless venom. This team clearly has not performed well, particularly over the last 25 games (6-19), but they were above 500 when they began this horrendous stretch. As I said above, I cannot identify why they have gone so to hell. True, they have failed to make the elementary plays, but it isn't like they could never execute run downs or never bunt or move runners over. I see no particularl explanation for why, suddenly, the ability to execute basic plays would have deserted (or is it 'desserted?') them. I gave a short analysis of what they did in May elsewhere on this blog, but now i have looked at some numbers for June. NOt surprislngly, the whole team has fallen into a slump. Well, all most. Only Bonds is clearly hitting better than he had (avg). Feliz has shown a slight improvement, but not enough to be significant. Frandsen has hit better/decently (281 for June) and Durham's June is about what his Apr + May was.
    Everyone else has REALLY fallen off: Winn (257), Omar (208), Molina (259), Aurilia (217, altho he had a very good April), Klesko (256), Roberts (184). Prior to these 25 games, Winn, Molina, Klesko were all over 300. Combine their cooling off with Omar, Aurilia, and Roberts being even worse in June than May and it is not hard to see why the run scoring has fallen off.
    I, personally, don't think a single one of these guys is "done," altho Omar could be. I don't necessarily expect them to hit above their career averages, but I do think each of them can rerasonably be expected to hit within 12 points of their career averages. By year's end, I am failrly confident that Winn, Roberts, Molina, Durahm, Aurilia (if he recovers from injury), will hit at or very near their career averages. But I am at a loss to explain why they all went cold - and forgot how to play - for this exteneded period of time. I am not making a polyanna prediction, I think overtaking anyone in the West, let alone all 4 of cour competitors, will be difficult and unlikely - unless they help us by going very cold themselves. Whether the team has ruined the season or not, I do not see all of these guys continuing to hit so far below their expected/career averages. I don't expect to see them play at a 24-42% win rate for the balance of the season.

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  15. I really think you've taken leave of your senses now, Frank. Roberts, for example, is currently hitting about .211. Do you realize that he would have to hit about .340 for the rest of the season to get to his career norm? It's not much different for a lot of the other hitters, but their problems go much deeper than that. Their inability to carry out basic elements of the game (bunting, moving runners over, inability to get a key hit, etc.) is a fatal flaw. This is a main reason why they are losing games. Other teams that are winning are able to execute the basics of good baseball. You are at a loss to explain their record because you refuse to recognize the facts about this team. These are players that are mostly past their prime useful days and it shows.

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