So Frustrating (Game 138 preview)

Today’s Game:  Cardinals (68-66) at Giants (53-84), 1:05 p.m. at AT & T Park

Lance Lynn (3-0, 2.45 ERA) vs. Jeff Samardzija (9-12, 4.37 ERA)

by Dr Lefty

Seriously Over It

When it comes to baseball, I generally have a sunny outlook. Baseball season is better than not baseball season. (Or, as Brian Wilson once put it, back before things got weird: “I don’t like the offseason. I like the onseason.”) Some Giants baseball is better than no Giants baseball, no matter how bad the team is. And for the record, I’ve always felt that way. I became a Giants fan starting in 1970. They won the NL West in 1971. Then there were 16 long years before we saw another Giants playoff game. I went from being an 11-year-old sixth-grader to a married 27-year-old with a master’s degree, expecting my first child, in those 16 years. That’s how long it was.  I know bad Giants baseball, and I stuck out the early 80s, the mid-90s, and the mid-00s, too.

This season is trying my soul. 1985 was a long time ago, and while I remember that being a terrible season, the details have mercifully blurred with time. Nothing is blurring 2017 right now. The starting pitchers who give up too many long balls (yes, even you, Johnny and Madison). The relievers who can’t get outs or hold leads. The offense that can’t do a damn thing. The abysmal outfield defense. It’s just so hard to watch.

This was from a couple weeks ago, but it still fits.

 

Last night’s game had its good moments, certainly through six innings and even into the seventh inning (Crick’s escape act). It was great to see Johnny back and looking healthy, and it was great to see the offense back…BUT. Per Grant Brisbee’s brutally honest reporting, the Giants have lost 15 games in which they’ve scored 5 runs or more. They’ve only scored 5 runs or more in 47 of their 137 games, and on those rare occasions when they’ve mustered some decent offense, they have lost more than one-third of them.  Just finding new ways to lose every night: the hallmark of a bad, bad team.

 

Management, Part 1

Management deserves some blame. Bochy mishandled last night’s game. Everyone blamed the pitchers, but no beat writer brought up Bochy slipping right into his bad 2016 habits that sunk the season–using five pitchers to get five outs in the sixth and seventh innings, leaving him with a guy, Melancon, who obviously, OBVIOUSLY, shouldn’t be pitching AT ALL. At. All. What choices did he have? Well, plenty actually. Okert came in to relieve Cueto in the sixth. He looked great facing his one hitter. He’s been pitching great in Sacramento. At that point, the Giants had a 5-2 lead, so why not let Okert try to get the third out there? Then you can start the seventh inning with Law or Crick, except that for some reason Bochy thinks Strickland should be the seventh-inning guy. Similarly, he could have kept going with Crick for the eighth–Crick is young, healthy, and a former starter. He was stretched out for several innings in AAA. Melancon had pitched poorly the night before, everyone knows he’s injured, and Bochy had been staying away from using him in back-to-back games…until he didn’t. So Bochy blew it, and it wasn’t all on the relievers.

 

Management, Part 2

What is up with this nonsense about not bringing anyone interesting up from AAA?  Why did they kick Hwang off the 40-man instead of putting Morse or Arroyo or Chase Johnson on the 60-day DL?  Here’s who should be up after Monday:

  • Reyes Moronta (on the 40)
  • Mac Williamson (on the 40)
  • DJ Snelten (not on the 40)
  • Chris Shaw (not on the 40)
  • Austin Slater (on the 40)
  • …and there’s an argument for Steven Duggar, if only so we don’t have to watch Span “play” CF for one more damn second.

Most of that list is obvious as to why, but here’s the argument for Shaw. This is his slash line across AA/AAA this year: .293/.347/.517/.865. He has 22 HRs and 35 doubles, and yes, he strikes out, but his strikeout rate is just above 25%, and as PJ would remind us, sluggers do strike out. Meanwhile, Parker’s injured (getting an MRI, probably an oblique, sounds like, likely done for the year or near so), and Jones is struggling, and they seem completely opposed to using Mac. So bring up Shaw and let him play LF. Let him play some 1B, even–why not?  He can platoon with Slater in left, or, even better, they can sit Pence most days–he’s playing with a bad hammy anyway–and let Slater play RF, which he’s perfectly capable of doing.  Yes, it would be accelerating Shaw’s clock by a few months, but so what? It’s not like there are stud prospects they’re going to lose in the Rule 5 draft.

 

Today’s Game

OK, enough ranting. Here are the lineups. Good luck to Chris Stratton, who’s been the intriguing sleeper story of the second half. [EDIT: Hahahaha, psyche! Stratton’s NOT pitching today after all! Or tomorrow! Because it’s more important to keep piling innings on Samardzija than to give a promising young starter more opportunities! Seriously, management: GET YOUR HEADS OUT OF YOUR…well, you know.]

I’ll mostly be watching my USC Trojans, who kick off around 2:30 today, but I’ll check in on the Giants and see you after the game.