Monday, May 09, 2011

How Sweet it Is to Sweep the D-Rox!

Wow, didn't think it would happen, mainly because I thought that there was no way Ryan Vogelsong could out-pitch de la Rosa, but he did it.  Hats off to Ryan!  And to think Cody Ross was da man again, finally, hopefully he is over his spring training of the past few weeks.

The sweep puts the Giants only one game back of the D-Rox and though the Giants get to face the D-backs next then the Cubs, two struggling clubs, the D-Rox has an even easier week, facing first the Mets then the 'Dres at home, so don't get any thoughts about passing them up  this week, just hope for keeping pace.

No need to preview the D-backs series much.  Got our top 3 going up against them - Lincecum, Sanchez, Cain - anytime we got that going, going to be an upset if we don't win the series.  D-backs have been about as well as I figured, staying close to .500, but still on the under, with Kirk Gibson managing.  They have some good pitchers and good hitters, but not enough to really challenge.  2011 should be about development for them, I mean, Ryan Roberts is their best hitter right now, keeping them as high as they are, and yet he's a journeyman player, at best, so the mean should regress hard with him and soon.

So, looking over the team, you have to wonder if Kevin Towers might want to trade Stephan Drew and/or Chris Young for a bunch of prospects, as they are getting old (28 and 27 respectively this season) and they are probably a year or two away from contention again.  The team, though,  is otherwise at the age generally where you would expect to be contending, in their late 20's and early 30's, Drew, Young, Miguel Montero, Saunders, others.

I think Justin Upton is part of the core for the next contending team, plus maybe Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson and Sam Demel, on the MLB team.  They should just kill the team by trading off Drew and Young for a big package of prospects who can help them compete in the 2013 timeframe with the core, plus then the losing would get them nice draft picks in 2012 and maybe 2013.  That would be the smart thing to do, I think, that's the basic idea behind my Phoenix Theory of Rebulding.

Giants Thoughts


How's that for a thought!  :^)

Need to keep the streak going, win the series against the D-backs to conclude a nice but short homestand before going on the road again for 3 against Cubs, then 2 each against D-Rox and D-gers.  The schedule makers must have been drunk when they made up our schedule (or sadistic), what a bleak trip, there are no days off except on Monday, to start the trip, the Giants has two short series against two key opponents on the road with no days off, and the next day off is May 23rd, two weeks from today, so they would return home with no rest either.  Guess I should be thankful they didn't make it a four-team trek on the road instead of three.

This is game 6 of the Mike "Hump it Up" Fontenot #3 hitter era and the Giants are 5-1 so far.  Coincidence?  For the most part, since he's really more of a weak-hitting utility middle infielder, but may as well ride his nice hot streak while there, until the Big Boys are ready to take over.  And he has done fine there, .263/.444/.579/1.023 with 5 RBI's, RBI's that were key to wins in three of the games, so he's been a huge part of our winning streak.

And he must love starting at SS, since he began that stretch as starter, he has been hitting .314/.419/.571/.990, which of course includes his stretch as #3 hitter.  I'm glad he was able to rise to the occasion as he only batted 3rd in one three-game series long ago in the majors, but I would also add that this role is not foreign to him either, because he used to bat third a lot when he was in college.

This is one reason I like Bochy as manager: his willingness to think outside the box sometimes.  Fans were all over him for batting Fontenot in the #3 spot, but there was no real answer for that given the rest of the lineup's cold hitting at that point, so why not give it to him, he was hitting nicely in his four start stretch with three multi-hit games under his belt there.  And since he's been doing well there, why not continue to let him until either he gets cold or Huff finally heats up?

One weird lineup is not going to make a huge difference in the team's Runs Scored average for the season, and I think from what I know of his history, his usage patterns suggest that he realizes that.  Fans don't get that one bad lineup dooms an entire season, it's a 162 game gauntlet that needs to be managed well.  But I'm sure some of these fans will hold the Fontenot batting 3rd against Bochy for the rest of his life.

And the way I see it, when you got a hot hand, may as well play it.  People didn't like Molina hitting fourth, but forgot that he was the team best power hitter for those first two seasons batting 4th.  And really, there was no better alternative during those two years, the lineup was just lacking all over.  And when there was options, in 2010, he did move back to his usual 6-7 lineup spots he held before.

What about Vogelsong?  As I mentioned early on, I'm worried about what happens when Zito returns, I hope he does not get lost to another team.  I would think that Mota, who is the current long reliever would lose his job to Vogelsong, assuming Ryan can continue pitching so well.  It was noted on ExtraBaggs by Carl Steward that he added a changeup that has helped him greatly (much like the changeup that changed Lincecum).

I also wondered on DrB's great site whether the Giants can DL Barry Zito all season if need be if he cannot get his velocity above the 83 MPH that he was at after his accident but before his injury (which I think has to be related to his accident).  Or if there is a way to, with Zito's permission, waiver him to the minors if he is still struggling at 83 MPH, there is no way he can compete in majors with that low a velocity; clearly, nobody would pick up his contract.

But perhaps taking the long relief job would be good enough a solution for keeping Vogelsong, I've never been that enamored with Mota on our team, I know we can do better.  Still, a long way to go before such a decision needs to be made.  I just like thinking ahead when I can.

Lastly, I'll note that both Andres Torres and Mark DeRosa are due off the DL for Tuesday's game.  I would expect that Darren Ford and Ryan Rohlinger will be the ones to go back down, and that Torres would take CF and DeRosa 3B and start regularly.

I hope Bochy will ease Torres back in by platooning him with Rowand in CF.  Frankly, Torres hasn't hit against LHP since 2009, while Rowand has been blasting them pretty well this season (which makes up for him being so poor last two seasons; small sample sizing always affect players' performances against LHP, but he has usually hit better and well against LHP).

I assume DeRosa, Tejada, and Fontenot will be sharing starts at SS and 3B for a while.  Both DeRosa and Tejada don't hit RHP that well, so I expect them to sit frequently against RHP with Fontenot starting.  But Fontenot has never been a great hitter overall, so I expect DeRosa and Tejada to get most of the ABs at 3B and SS, with occasional starts vs. RHP for Font.

With Ross maybe heating up, Pat Burrell plus Huff too (nice 5 games stretch with 4 XBHs), and Torres up top, the offense should start looking more like what we were hoping and expecting.  Hopefully the offense will be charged up and ready once we get to the next roadtrip, if not earlier.    With Bumgarner and Vogelsong leading off in Chicago, we probably can use all the offense we can get.


  1. Mota so far has been pitching nicely. I think Runzler has options, and being that Affeldt does not, when Zito comes back, if all others are healthy, Runzler should go down and train to be a future long relief guy or starter. If he gets healthy Casilla will be another option but right now, Vogelsong is too valuable. Mota is not expensive, he is effective, and does not walk a lot of batters.

  2. OGC,

    I've got nicknames for some of the NL West teams. It was the Rampaging Rockies until this past weekend. Now they are the Reeling Rockies! The Giants are playing the Dangerous D'Backs this week and the Pesky Padres are in last place but only 5 games out of first place as the Giants sweep of the Reeling Rockies made he division standings fold up like an accordian.

    The only name I can come up with for the Giants LA rivals is the Choking Dogs, but that isn't very original as it comes from LA Times columnist TJ Simers. ?Also, it doesn't alliterate. Maybe the Doomed Dodgers? Can't think of a good one for the Giants either.

  3. Anon, sorry, but I was thinking that Casilla would come back before Zito and thus Runzler would go down at that point.

    At that point, then Mota, to my eye, would appear to be the one to be DFAed. True, his stats are eye-opening right now, but relievers are notoriously subjected to SSS skewing. His numbers are great but he has never had such success in avoiding walks as he is this season. This is his best season in almost 10 years, if you are talking performing well for a full season, in 2003, he is already 37 YO, whereas Santiago is "only" 31 YO.

    Now, if it were possible to send back down Vogelsong without losing him, then I would do that first, but my assumption is that he would have to be waived to be sent back down to the minors. If I had to DFA someone between Vogelsong, Mota, and Casilla, I would dump Mota.

    He has not been striking out many batters in recent years, this year is his best in 3 seasons. K/BB ratio best ever, by almost double. Unless the Giants have taught him something to make him pitch like this always, then based on age and past performances, he should be the one to go.

  4. DrB, interesting, I noticed that you were doing that recently.

    Great Giants?
    Grand Giants?
    Once upon a time: Geriatric Giants :^)

    Dumb Dodgers?
    Dreck Dodgers?
    Drunk Dodgers?
    Daffy Dodgers?
    Downandout Dodgers?
    Damn Dodgers?
    Dumpy Dodgers?
    Dodgers Dump?
    Dowdy Dodgers?
    Dangling Dodgers?
    Divorced Dodgers?
    Draft Dodgers?

    If I think of any more, I'll post on your site...

  5. If Vogelsong continues to be effective, Zito may have a problem getting his spot in the rotation back.

  6. Hi,

    Thanks for keeping up your blog. I'll definitely make time to check it out more often.

    I’d also like to ask you about advertising on your website. I work for a company called Autofusion, which handles internet marketing for several car dealers. We have a client that would be interested in advertising on your site so any information you can provide me would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks again, and I hope to hear from you soon.




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