This is going to be a screed. Apart from Alex Cobb, the past weekend was nothing to write on TWG about.
The Giants lost yesterday, so did the Dodgers, The Dbacks, the Rockies and the Padres. The NL West is suddenly looking a bit mediocre. As for the Giants, their game, a very depressing loss it was, by a score of 8-3 against a faster, more disciplined and more balanced Baltimore Orioles team shows how obvious the Giant weaknesses are. The Orioles exploited all of them, as good teams do. They are not the kind of shortcomings that can be wall-papered over the way they were in 2021 by a dominant offense that could home runs like they were (insert simile here)… You get the idea.
Yesterday’s game was a real bummer because the Giants had Anthony Desclafani pitching to try to win a three-game series against a good American League squad after getting beat by the Pirates in two of three games. I don’t want to recap it. Far from it. All I want to say is Anthony Desclafani had a bad game to go with his so-so. May/June starts where his ERA is up over 4.10. The Giants lost two of thee for the second straight series at home. The boys suddenly look very mediocre.
If there is one common denominator to the Giants falling back to Earth after their hot streak that saw them win 11 of 14 it’s that the the starting pitching rotation is very iffy after Logan Webb and Alex Cobb make their turns. Desclafani is having a schizophrenic year. Alex Wood is back on the IL with a phantom injury, I think. He is not having a good season and has not pitched past the sixth inning yet this year. This means the Giants have two-three holes in their starting five. Trying to go with a bullpen game every fifth day is a problem apart from the general yuckiness of seeing John Brebbia start and pitch one or two-thirds of an inning.
Starting pitching is at a premium across MLB this season. It’s ironic isn’t it? Here we have the golden age of platoons, splits, DHs and relievers and the hottest commodity in baseball is a starting pitcher who can, A, stay healthy; B, pitch more than five innings without getting walloped, and C, give his team a chance in a postseason series. At some point, the game is going to involve into a place where a premium on starters is akin to the way the NFL values quarterbacks. We’re nearly there.
For the Giants, the future looks fairly bright with Carson Whisenhunt and Kyle Harrison on the pitching horizon. There are other promising young arms on the farms but the question of the day is this: Will any of them get promoted to the big club in time to get the Giants to the postseason and maybe even, a World Series?
In her Out of Left Field column yesterday Dr. Lefty mentioned something interesting: The Giants hitting attack is not as good as we think.
Major Bummer, says Johnny Black
The Giants now have a record of 29-30 as they start a new week. There are many ways to look at the journey of the team through 59 games of the season. One way is to see that they have persevered with a limited pitching rotation and some stopgap measures despite key injuries to players like Joc Pederson, Thairo Estrada, and Yaz. Not to mention, Stripling is hurt and Austin Slater has missed most of the season. So, that 29-30 record is not the end of the world and maybe when the team gets healthy and gets some new blood…
Which takes me to Interpretation scenario number 2; The Giants. youth movement will include new pitching to go with the Schmitt, Johnson and Bailey call-ups. See above, Whisenhunt? Harrison?
There’s another scenario: Maybe Farhan Zaidi is playing the long game and treading water while more young pitchers mature down on the farm. Maybe he deals players who have become redundant like Wilmer Flores and Joc Pederson, to teams in the playoff hunt in need of power. In those deals we could see the acquisition of more young pitching arms, maybe A-Level players but promising pitchers nonetheless.
Until then, the Giants will need their sluggers to slug a bit more to make up for the holes in the rotation.
Roger Craig, Rest in Peace, Forever Giant
On the news that Roger Craig passed away yesterday I felt like some of my youth went with him. Craig was the Manager when I saw my first Giants game in person in 1992, his last year as the Manager for our San Francisco ballclub. He was always one of my favorites for a variety of reasons, not least of which was his understanding of pitching and the way he handled the Giants young players. Remember all the greats that came up under his watch? How about Will Clark, Rob Thompson and Matt Williams? Craig had a huuuuge impact on the Giants and on baseball in general. He was known as the godfather of the splitter, being one of its early practitioners and proponents. He will be missed. His legacy as a Giants manager is secured and he oversaw pivotal moments and great teams.