*Photo credit: NBCS-Bay Area

**hat-tip to MrLefty for the title

🎶 Snelly Cat, Snelly Cat, what are they paying you?  Snelly Cat, Snelly Cat, it’s a rip off! 🎶–Lyrics by MrLefty, tune from “Friends” (video at the bottom)

 

by DrLefty

The greatest thing about the baseball season is that there’s a game just about everyday, the soothing friendly backdrop of spring and summer.

Snelly Cat Hat. Photo credit: MrLefty

 

The worst thing about the baseball season is that there’s another game the next day, so even when your team has their best game of the year, you can’t savor it for very long.

The Giants in 24 hours or so went from best to worst. After a transcendent three-hit shutout of a potent offense (as they would discover the next night), the Giants had their worst pitching performance in nearly five years. The last time they gave up this many runs was in May 2019, also against the Diamondbacks. After starter Blake Snelly Cat had his third awful start in a row and was booed off the mound, a parade of hapless rookies and then Designated Garbage Time Pitcher Tyler Fitzgerald gave up the rest of the runs. The offense? It consisted of a solo homer by Jorge Soler, which was the Giants’ first home run at Oracle Park this year and allowed them to (finally) set off their snazzy new light show. It was kind of cool, and I know they’ve got something special cued up for Camilo Doval, who hasn’t yet had a home save opportunity at night when they could use the lights.

Well, no one told me life was gonna be this way (right, Wilmer?).

 

Another Stinker from Snell

OK, I’m trying not to hate Snell. I was excited when I heard they’d signed him. I was patient but a little annoyed when he wasn’t ready to start the season in the rotation but took up a roster spot anyway. Logan Webb made three starts before Snell made his first. Opposite ends of a spectrum, for sure. After last night’s dud, Snell has now started three games and pitched a total of 11.2 innings. Last night was his longest outing (4.2 innings). Here are the ugly details so far:

  • 0-3, 15 earned runs
  • 18 hits
  • 5 walks
  • 1.97 WHIP, 11.57 ERA (which went down last night!).

The only good things you can say are that he has 12 strikeouts (so a little more than one per inning pitched) and that he actually got through two scoreless innings last night. He’s been terrible. “Weak link” is too kind of a way to describe what he’s doing to the team right now. In his last two starts, he’s followed up gems by Logan Webb with absolute disasters. His start last Sunday in Tampa was his worst since 2021. Considering that except for him, the rotation is basically carrying the team to the extent it’s being carried anywhere, it’s really, really, really bad. This makes Barry Zito’s not-very-good start to his Giants career in 2007 look pretty good, actually. And let’s remember that Snell is making $32 mil for the Giants this year. Had he pitched a full complement of starts, which he will not, that would have been a cool $1 mil per start. Well, now the Giants are down about $5 mil (two missed starts and three where he s**t the mound) and he’s given them nothing. Well, worse than nothing. He’s actively hurting the team right now.

So. Snell missed spring training, so we should give him a pass, or at least expect better soon, right? That’s what I thought, too, until last night. He was matched up against the other lefty Boras holdout, Jordan Montgomery, who signed even later than Snell did. Last night was Montgomery’s first start of the season for the Diamondbacks. And he pitched great–six efficient innings, one run. So the “no spring training” thing? Yeah, that doesn’t wash anymore.

What’s the difference? I don’t know what Snell’s and Montgomery’s workout regimens were when they were waiting to sign with someone, so I can’t compare those. But here’s something we know for sure: Montgomery agreed to go to AAA to make tune-up starts before joining the Diamondbacks. Snell did not. Asked about this after last night’s jarring contrast, Snell said this:

“I mean, it was definitely an option,” Snell said when asked if he thought about going to Triple-A to start the season. “But I didn’t think I needed it. I still don’t think I need it. Just better sequencing. The stuff is there, so it’s all sequencing and pitching like I know I can. Once I start doing that, then the what-ifs and all that will fade.”

Yeah, we look forward to you “pitching like I know I can,” Snelly Cat. In the meantime, those three games (and counting) where you pitched your team out of any chance to win the game still count in the standings.

So…yeah. I kinda hate him right now. I’m getting that Carlos Rodón “I’m not staying” vibe from Snell–except that Rodón was GOOD, really good, so good that he bamboozled the Yankees into giving him a truckload of money. Snell’s going to have to turn things around really quickly if he wants that kind of happily ever after. But maybe he’s good with just taking another $32 mil of the Giants’ money in 2025. Whatever.

 

Putrid 2024 Update

Last week I did an updated version of my 2023 Putrid Baseball column. Both columns had an immediate effect, specifically Webb pitching well and the Giants winning that day. Last year the Giants went on a six-game winning streak that started the day I called them out for being “putrid.” This year, they won behind Webb on Saturday, but uh oh, it’s Snelly Cat’s turn on Sunday, and we already went over that.

Anyway, the Giants went 4-3 this past week since I published the latest version of “Putrid Baseball.” That’s over .500 and better than they’ve played overall (they’re 9-12 as of this moment of writing). Except for, well, You-Know-Who, the starters did well this week, especially Webb and Keaton Winn, who pitched great in the final game in Miami. Can we move Snell to the bullpen instead of Winn when Alex Cobb is ready to come back?

The defense has been good, with some unsurprisingly stellar work at 3B by Matt Chapman, good outfield contributions by Jung Hoo Lee and especially Mike Yastrzemski, and Patrick Bailey looking a bit more solid behind the plate. The hitting?–Eh. Still no one really setting the world on fire. Michael Conforto had a good first week but hasn’t done much since (currently .264 with a .804 OPS, which is…OK, I guess). Here are some of the batting averages/OPS through last night’s game:

  • Austin Slater: .095/.364
  • Wilmer Flores: .229/.601
  • Soler: .240/.794
  • Chapman: .205/.677
  • Tom Murphy: .083/.310
  • Thairo Estrada: .228/.636
  • Yastrzemski: .135/.373

Last night’s picture was even made uglier by the fact that some of the better hitters thus far (LaMonte Wade Jr., hitting .370, Lee, .282, and Bailey, .283) sat last night against lefty Montgomery. I should give some credit, though, to Nick Ahmed, who’s not only playing a solid shortstop but is also hitting .271. But Ahmed is their #9 hitter and is on the team for his glove. The problem is that the guys they signed and are paying a lot of money to hit in the middle of the order are doing little to nothing so far, and long-time (relatively speaking) Giants such as Yaz, Slater, Estrada, and Flores are not giving them much production, either. They have a ways to go, and that’s putting it politely.

Except for last night, the bullpen’s been good, too. I’m just not going to count last night. What stinky, Snelly mess that was!

 

MyGuy™ 2024

Don’t forget to be researching the minor leaguers so that you can do your MyGuy™ ballot, which is due by Willie Mays’s birthday, May 6. You can read about the contest here, and  this is the link to the ballot. Remember that you can edit your picks up until the deadline, so save your email confirmation after you submit a ballot–you’ll follow the link in that ballot to make changes. Thanks as always to HaakAway for putting on this fun tradition for us.

 

Today’s Game

Diamondbacks at Giants, 1:05 p.m. at Oracle Park

Zac Gallen vs. Kyle Harrison

Tough pitching matchup in that Gallen’s off to a great start (imagine that!)–3-0 with a 1.64 ERA. It would have been nice if the guy with the highest salary on the team hadn’t not only torched their chances of winning last night but also forced manager Bob Melvin to burn a lot of bullpen resources. It hasn’t been Snelly Cat’s day, week, month, or even his year so far.

 

 

We’ll let Phoebe Buffay take us out today, but I’ll be there for you (next week). Lefty out.