Thursday, June 18, 2009

You Win Some, You Lose Some: It Is What It Is

Yes, very disappointing to be swept after sweeping the A's. Particularly because we were set up to win the series, but it happens when you are dealing with a young team. They will have glitches sometimes. They had a big one in this series.

Still, we have some positive things to take away from the series. Schierholtz continued to hit OK. Ishikawa has continued to hit OK despite sitting on the bench for a long while. Sandoval is ready now to play 3B regularly, which is where he belongs right now. Downs had a nice debut.

For all the nice touchy-feely of Juan Uribe this season, his main value was his power and he has 1 HR in 122 AB and a 131 ISO. Not good, so he just belongs on the bench and allow us to play Ishikawa at 1B, Sandoval at 3B, and Downs/Frandsen at 2B.

It would be a bad sign to me (one that would influence me to vote no against Bochy) if Bochy continues to play Uribe more than occassionally, he should not play more than the young guys right now. The only reason he was playing was because we had nobody to play 3B. Even going forward, he should not be starting if 3B is free, Frandsen should be brought up to start at 3B in that case, he has proven himself in AAA to be healthy and back to where he was before offensively, if not better defensively.

Another thing I learned is that Sanchez should sit his next start. Partly because he hasn't done well. Mostly because that would mean that the A's would face Lincecum, Johnson and Cain instead of Sanchez, Lincecum, and Johnson. I would like to see the Giants sweep the A's again, and putting our three best starters against them would help with that. Plus, if we skip his next start after that, we get to pitch Lincecum in the St. Louis series, which is one of the better teams in the NL. Then put him back into the rotation after that, as we would be facing Houston, Florida, and San Diego before the All-Star break.

And that would give us one more Lincecum start that Sunday before the All-Star Game. That is good because 1) he will probably make the All-Star team, 2) if he starts that Sunday, he goes to the bottom of the list of pitchers to use for the NL manager, 3) I don't want him pitching in the game. More pitches on his arm and all that, plus if he pitches, then he might be affected physically since he would most likely be the first pitcher starting after the break.

Personally, I think he can do it, but why push it in this case? It is not like we are making the World Series, where it would matter. But the good news is that we have that Thursday off, so even if he does play, he would only go 1 inning and then pitch again 3 days later, instead of 2. So it is not bad if he plays, just ideal if he doesn't. But he probably wants the ball badly, and I suspect that the AL will tee off on him, as he has had the yips when he faces a new pressure situation, his first game in spring training, his first MLB start, his first opening day start, his adrenaline seems to get the best of him.

That is one reason why it would be great if we can get him into the playoffs this year. Even if we get in, we probably won't get deep into it, so if we can squeak in, then Lincecum could get the sensation of pitching in his first playoff game out of the way, and be dominant in seasons going forward. But I would not make any of the crazy trades that people are suggesting we do in order to win more games. 2009 is not about the playoffs, it is about seeing which prospect to keep going forward, and who to discard.

Right now, Sandoval is a clear keeper, but Lewis, Ishikawa, Frandsen, Sanchez, are all question marks. They all have done things in the past to deserve a chance to show what he can do, but all have been up and down, none has shown much (or enough in Lewis's case) consistency in performing at the major league level.

I think Lewis will eventually snap out of it, but meanwhile, give Schierholtz a chance to play while Fred rests and figures things out. Sanchez is ace material if he can put it together, so I'm giving him a long leash, though since stamina was an issue last year, skipping a few starts with him is OK with me. Ishikawa, we have nothing better, really, so just play him the rest of the season, unplatooned, and see what happens, mix in Frandsen at 3B and Sandoval at 1B whenever he is scuffling again. Frandsen, as I've written, deserves an extended chance to start, whether at 2B or 3B or even SS. But who knows, maybe he stinks in the majors. But we won't know unless we give them extended chances to start and fail.

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