Author Archive

San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy Continues To Befuddle

The San Francisco Giants are one of the surprise teams in baseball this year. 

Even after Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the first place Atlanta Braves, the Giants sit comfortably in second place behind the San Diego Padres in the NL West race.

Not to mention, by virtue of being right behind the division leader, the Giants not only are in the Wild Card race but they lead it by a game and a half over both the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals.

Needless to say, the Giants are one of the popular choices to make the postseason at this point of the 162-game regular season schedule.

But just like how pitchers, quarterbacks, and goaltenders shouldn’t be credited with wins and losses, neither should big league managers.

Why? Because individuals don’t win games, and especially ones who aren’t even playing in the game.

Do they factor in? Of course they do. But just how like a pitcher’s ability to get credited with a “W” relies 100 percent on whether or not his team scores a run(s), managers get too much credit.

Now, most of us fans could go on and on about individual’s in a team sport not deserving wins and losses being attributed to their names.

However, the good news is that there really isn’t anyone on the other side of that argument.

Unfortunately, the bad news is that certain fans who aren’t able to watch a team consistently from game to game will look at their win-loss record and start throwing out mindless talk.

For instance, there are plenty of fans out there who will see the Giants with a 62-47 record at this point of the season and assume that their manager Bruce Bochy should be up for NL manager of the year.

After all, outside of the Bay Area, and even amongst many people in the Bay Area, no one expected the Giants to be playing this well this season.

So since their talent level suggests they shouldn’t be playing this well, and with last year’s team MVP Pablo Sandoval struggling all year long, Bochy should be considered for manager of the year, right?

Not so fast.

All season long, Bochy has been criticized for tactical lineup changes, and bullpen decisions.

I, for one, have taken more than my fair share of shots at the Giants manager.

However, one has to realize that no matter how vehemently you feel that a lineup decision or bullpen decision is wrong, there may be some unknown strategic ploy being used.

For example, perhaps the reliever you didn’t want to pitch is coming into the game because the better option is either hurt or in need of rest.

Or perhaps the position player who should take the day off against a left-handed starter actually has good numbers against the opposing pitcher.

Just playing some devil’s advocate here.

However, two recent moves of Bochy’s have no room for devil’s advocate as they were just plain inexcusable.

The first came on Wednesday in the second inning against Colorado. With Pat Burrell at first base and Pablo Sandoval at the plate with a 3-2 count and one out, Bochy elected to start the runner.

Burrell, the former long time Philly and first-year Giant, has below-average speed at best and Pablo Sandoval is a free swinger who’s having an awful season compared to his breakout 2009.

Oh yeah, and the pitcher on the mound was none other than Ubaldo Jimenez, a strikeout pitcher having a Cy Young-caliber season.

Sure, Sandoval is a big time threat to bounce into a double play, but this move had disaster written on it from the beginning.

With Burrell’s lack of speed, Sandoval’s tendency to strikeout, and Jimenez’s filthy stuff, Bochy ran his team unnecessarily into an extra out.

In all reality, the Giants would have had a better chance of Burrell taking out the infielder covering second or Sandoval beating out the back-end of 6-4-3 double play than Burrell reaching second safely after a Sandoval strikeout.

If Bochy’s reasoning in sending Burrell was more geared to scoring a run on a ball in the gap than staying out of the double play, then he still chose the wrong duo of players.

The chances Burrell scores from first on any type of double are remote at best, even at Coors Field.

Putting him in motion helps his chances but since he isn’t taking off to steal, he wouldn’t be getting the best jump.

Simply said, with the style of players involved in the play, making that call is much more risk than reward.

The chances Burrell takes a base more than he would have without being in motion aren’t very high with his lack of speed and the chances Sandoval were to strikeout with Jimenez pitching were very, very high.

Make no bones about it, sending Burrell was a severe case of bad judgment and a decision smart managers don’t make.

The second poor decision by Bochy in recent games is another critical base running mistake.

In the previously mentioned 3-2 loss to the Braves, the Giants had the tying run on first base in the ninth inning.

Leadoff hitter Andres Torres smacked a two-out single to keep the game alive for Freddy Sanchez.

Now everybody knows that this is a base stealing situation at any point of the game. With two outs and the lone base runner being a speedy leadoff man at first base, the chances a runner goes are normally high.

Even against pitchers who are quick to home plate and who have good pick-off moves, many times you still see a base stealer take off.

Well with Braves closer Billy Wagner on the mound, Bochy’s decision not to send Torres is absolutely inexcusable.

In this situation, the reward is gigantic, and the risk is minimal.

First of all, a fast runner in scoring position at second base with two outs is a almost an automatic run with a base hit to the outfield.

Secondly, it was clear as night and day to those watching the game from home as to when Wagner was going home and when he was going to first.

And even if Torres hadn’t seen film or been on first base against Wagner in previous games, a couple of throw overs during Sanchez’s five pitch at bat should have given him a good read on when Wagner would be throwing home.

Combine that with the fact Wagner’s delivery time was far below average at around 1.42 seconds, and Torres was bound to get a tremendous jump.

With the chances that Torres would get to second safely extremely high, and the benefit of having him there so valuable, one would have expected Torres to go.

After all the risk is rather low. The Giants were down a run and an out away from losing. At this point in the game, statistics tell us the Giants are going to lose anyway.

And with Torres staying at first San Francisco, in all practicality, would have needed at least two more base runners to reach in order to score the tying run.

But had Torres been on second, they would have needed just the one clutch hit to score the run.

The reward in this situation clearly outweighs the risk and Bochy failed to take the smart gamble in this situation.

So there you have it. Two base running choices, and two wrong decisions.

Bochy sent a slow runner in a 3-2, one out situation with a strikeout pitcher and strikeout batter, yet he didn’t send a fast runner in an obvious stealing situation against a pitcher with a slow delivery.

And some fans suggest he should be NL manager of the year?

With this type of decision making…not a chance.

Read more MLB news on

Bullpen Woes: San Francisco Giants In Need of Major Bullpen Overhaul

The San Francisco Giants have been playing some great baseball over the month of July. And while they still may seek an offensive addition at the trade deadline, they clearly have a more pressing issue.

San Francisco must fix the bridge to closer Brian Wilson.

It’s not just a maybe, it is a must fix problem or this current happy go-ride Giants fans are hoping ends in the postseason will completely fall apart.

Not only are the two (at times) intimidating southpaws in the San Francisco pen both on the DL for an extended period of time but two of the remaining righties are nothing but terrible journeyman relievers with zero clue of where the ball is going after they release a pitch.

Without the services of Jeremy Affeldt and Dan Runzler to face big-time left-handed batters like Andre Ethier, James Loney, and Adrian Gonzalez (to name a few the Giants face in the NL West) the Giants have a bullpen with 100% right-handed relievers.

And of those seven relievers, the only ones proving to the fan base that they are reliable this season are closer Brian Wilson and crafty right-hander Sergio Romo.

After that, the bullpen gets shaky and fast.

Midseason acquisition Chris Ray is a former closer for the Baltimore Orioles, but since coming over from Texas in the Bengie Molina trade, has been rather inconsistent.

He has walked four in 8 1/3 innings since the trade and just hasn’t been able to lock down a particular role in the pen.

Then there is Guillermo Mota who has been impressive in spurts but the overall numbers of a 3.58 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, and .249 BAA aren’t anything special.

So, at this point the Giants have four relievers, all of whom are right handed. Two are quality, two are average.

Everything is fine, an average bullpen so far.

But now here comes the point where the pen simply bottoms out.

Joe Martinez is the rookie spot starter long reliever who has been up and down a few times this season but has been called on for just three appearances, one of which was in starting action.

He could have been adequately used by the Giants all year long as an ideal long reliever (which for the most part they have not had at all) but since he has barely been used, he is essentially nowhere near ready to handle critical innings down the stretch.

Of course a 1.89 WHIP in nine innings doesn’t help his cause for more innings but how can you judge a kid on just nine innings ranging from a single start (Jun 19) to two relief appearances (Jun 23, Jul 10)?

That said, you can’t trust Martinez.

Nor can you trust the walk machines that are the final two pitchers in the Giants pen in Santiago Casilla and Denny Bautista.

Between the two of them, they have pitched a combined 52 1/3 innings for the Giants.

To be fair, they both have ERA’s under 3.50, but with relievers, you have to look much closer to gauge their production or lack there of.

And one major problem is that in those 52 1/3 innings, they have combined for 40 BBs!

That is correct, 40 walks in 52 2/3 innings.

In other words, per every nine innings pitched between the two of them, they walk nearly seven hitters.

Keep in mind that a quality WHIP mark for a reliever is 1.25, and Bautista is sporting a 1.43 mark and Casilla is a on a total new level of bad at 1.75.

These two have been with the Giants for most of the season now, and they have both been down right awful and hideous to watch at times.

Combine them with Martinez and the Giants have three relievers out of seven that they simply cannot trust to get the job done.

Wilson and Romo are excellent, Mota and Ray are solid but the Giants need more than that with Affeldt and Runzler on the shelf.

If San Francisco GM Brian Sabean knows what is best for his ball club, he will at the very least trade for one left handed reliever, and call up a lefty from Triple-A Fresno like Geno Espinelli, and send Casilla and Bautista back to the minors.

In an ideal world, the Giants would be able to trade for two established relievers, but at least one is a must-get before Saturday’s trade deadline.

While Affeldt and Runzler will be back eventually, the Giants cannot afford to let their bullpen rot with zero lefties and awful journeyman with no sense of the strike-zone.

Neither Bautista no Casilla belong in the major leagues.

Both need to be shown the exit from the 25 man roster if the Giants are smart. Could they make the playoffs with them continuing to walk hitter after hitter? Sure, but they would have a whole heck of a lot better chance with some new blood in the pen.

Read more MLB news on

San Francisco Giants: Why Edgar Renteria Is a Waste of a Roster Spot

The San Francisco Giants have been the talk of baseball over the month of July for many different reasons.

First and foremost is that prior to Monday night’s 4-3 loss against the Florida Marlins, the Giants had racked up 15 wins in their previous 18 games.

Secondly, the Giants aren’t just doing it with their pitching. San Francisco leads the majors in runs scored for the entire month and rookie sensation Buster Posey is riding a 19-game hitting streak, which has catapulted him to becoming the lead candidate for NL Rookie of the Year.

Yes, even ahead of Stephen Strasburg.

Furthermore, first baseman/outfielder Aubrey Huff is by far the best offseason offensive acquisition by any team in baseball.

When you consider that he is currently hitting:

.306/.390/.543/.946, 19 HR, 60 RBI, 49 BB, 47K

and is only being paid $3 million dollars in 2010, he is easily the best offensive addition any team has made. No other first year player for any of the other 29 teams has provided as much bang for his buck as Huff has for the Giants.

Combine the new offensive might from the Giants with the best starting rotation in baseball (sorry Cardinals fans, think what you want, but your rotation is second fiddle because it is top heavy).

And with the Cardinals’ Brad Penny hurt, it is obvious the Giants have the dirtiest rotation in baseball with all five starters capable of being No. 2s, and three of whom are legitimate No. 1’s.

But while the Giants have a dominant rotation, and a much improved offense from last season, the little things can still cost this team in a playoff race that will come down to the very last week of the season, if not the final series of the season.

That said, the way San Francisco lost to the Marlins on Monday night was only eerily reminiscent of recent losing seasons by the bay.

Washed up, overpaid veterans failing to produce is only all too familiar for Giants fans and the fact that their starting shortstop on Monday night couldn’t even make solid contact once in five at-bats is downright pathetic.

It’s partially the fault of the manager Bruce Bochy, who inserted Renteria in the lineup and in the two hole despite his being 0-15 against the Marlins’ starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco heading into the game. The Giants suffered from gut-wrenchingly ugly at-bats all game long from their soon to be 35-year-old shortstop.

Not only did Renteria finish the game 0-5 with three Ks and three runners LOB, but in both the seventh and ninth innings, Renteria had the tying run in scoring position with two outs and struck out both times.

But the manner in which both strikeouts occurred was absolutely appalling. In the seventh, Renteria couldn’t make any contact on two straight high-80’s fastballs as he swung through both without even tipping either one.

And in the ninth, he swung and missed on ball four in the dirt for the final out of the game.

What does an awful game at the plate like this tell us? It tells us that the player doesn’t have anything left.

Despite what he might have told San Jose Mercury News beat writer Andrew Baggarly a couple of weeks ago, Renteria has nothing left.

Not only can he not come through when his team needs him at the plate, but he is a liability defensively as well. He is in the bottom-fourth, if not bottom-fifth, of all big league shortstops when it comes to range, and he has a noodle for an arm.

He doesn’t steal bases (just three on the year, two fewer than Aubrey Huff), he can’t beat out infield hits, and he can’t hit a home run to save his life (just one homer on the season back during San Francisco’s home opener).

His extremely pronounced closed stance prevents him from pulling any pitch down the left field line. Seventy-five percent of his swings look to be at half speed, and despite an above-average on base percentage of .356, his inability to hit for any type of consistency or drive in any runs ruins the few good numbers Renteria has established this season.

All you really need to know is this: Despite having a superior OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) to that of teammate and fellow middle infielder Freddy Sanchez (.721 to .660), 99 percent of Giants fans would tell you they would rather have Sanchez at the plate in a crucial RBI situation than Renteria.

Why is that the case? There aren’t any numbers that support that case, so how can that be?

The reason behind Giants fans wanting Sanchez at the plate over Renteria is because of Sanchez’ extended hot streak earlier this season and the sustainable fact that he is fun to watch play the game.

Sure, Sanchez’ current slump has seen his numbers drop lower than those of Renteria, but Sanchez can hit the ball to all fields; he doesn’t get overpowered by any pitcher’s fastball, and he smiles.

The guy shows a personality on the field and in interviews with which it is easy to fall in love. You can see him making adjustments, having fun, and making difficult plays in the field seem routine.

With Renteria, it’s just the complete opposite. He has a blank stare on his face, never seems to be enjoying the game, and doesn’t give off a fun personality to the fanbase.

Therefore, when Renteria falls into a slump, it’s easy for fans to bag on him because he always looks mopey and depressed out on the field.

Now are smiling and having a bounce in your step prerequisites to being a productive major leaguer?

No, of course not. But the fact that Renteria is now one of the league’s worst defensive shortstops and is nothing but a mediocre .250 singles hitter with average speed, means the Giants could do better without him.

San Francisco would do a world of wonder for themselves if they were to eat the rest of his $9 million dollar salary and give his platoon shortstop role over to the younger and faster Emmanuel Burriss.

Even though Burriss has just a .262 career average and .629 career OPS, the 25-year-old would immediately become one of the best defensive shortstops in the game, as he sports a cannon of an arm with tremendous range, and would give the Giants an added dimension to their roster: speed off the bench.

The only other true base stealing threat on the 25 man roster is starting outfielder and leadoff hitter Andres Torres. With Burriss added to the mix, the Giants would have a better ability to give Torres days off (since Burriss is by far the next best option to hit leadoff) and the rest of the time, Burriss would provide the role of a perfect late innings pinch runner.

Any lack of offense Burriss would bring, compared to Renteria, would be made up with Burriss’ defense and base stealing speed, and by going this route, the Giants can have so many different looks.

Not only can Burriss hit leadoff when Torres needs a day off, but instead of Sanchez, Rowand, Uribe, or Renteria batting eighth, the Giants could hit Burriss in that spot. If a starting infielder needs a day off, Burriss could hit in front of the pitcher and possibly move up two bases in one at-bat. A straight steal of second and then the pitcher sacrificing him over to third is just one of the possibilities with Burriss’ speed.

This move simply makes too much sense not to happen, because while maybe Burriss wouldn’t have done any better at the plate than Renteria did on Monday night, Burriss would have certainly thrown out Dan Uggla on a routine grounder to save a run.

Instead, Renteria’s noodle arm let Uggla beat out an infield hit and the Marlins’ second baseman came around to score later that inning.

Baseball games are won on both offense and defense, and Burriss clearly brings more tools in helping the Giants win than Renteria at this point in their careers.

Read more MLB news on

San Francisco Giants: Trade Targets Should Play Corner Infield

As the San Francisco Giants open up the second half of the 2010 season with a 2-0 victory over the New York Mets on Thursday, the rumors of trading for a big bat still grabbed more attention.

Whether it is more talk about Milwaukee Brewers’ outfielder Corey Hart, Kansas City Royals’ outfielder Jose Guillen, or even what the minor league signing of pitcher Dontrelle Willis’ means to trading for a bat, the buzz about the Giants is centering around improving the offense.

Despite the fact Tim Lincecum was at his filthiest on Thursday, dominating the Metropolitans for a complete game shutout, and despite the fact both the young studs Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey drove in big runs, the news still centered around possible trade acquisitions.

And in all fairness, discussing potential offensive upgrades to the Giants is only far too easy.

Obviously, the biggest issue with the Giants not being able to truly contend in recent seasons has been their lack of offensive talent.

However, the problem is that the most popular rumors are dealing with corner outfielders and not corner infielders.

Which is the heart of the problem.

San Francisco already owns a glut of outfielders.

Aaron Rowand has been struggling throughout the season and as much as fans rejoice in his lack of playing time, his $12 million per year contract must see to it that he plays at least every now and then as well as everyday when he gets on a hot streak.

Then there is Rowand’s main replacement in Andres Torres, the speedy center fielder who is currently sidelined with a minor injury (no DL necessary as of yet) but has given the Giants the prototypical leadoff man they have been missing for quite some time.

Plus, with solid veteran bats in Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff at the outfield corner positions and the defensive prowess of Nate Schierholtz, the Giants already have five outfielders eating up innings.

Even if the Giants move Huff back to first base, and then trade for an outfielder, that still leaves two outfielders worthy of significant playing time on the bench.

And with the Giants manager Bruce Bochy always having trouble making out a consistent lineup card, adding more glut to the outfield isn’t an ideal situation.

Not only would the Giants have to give up an arm and a leg (most likely Matt Cain and prospect Thomas Neal) to acquire an outfielder in Hart (whose current value is through the roof) but what would that mean to Nate Schierholtz?

Or what about Torres? Would he get less playing time if Rowand starts swinging the bat? And Pat Burrell should be getting 3-4 starts a week but not playing everyday.

When Burrell takes a game off, do the Giants move Huff back to left field and insert Ishikawa at first?

The point that needs to be addressed is that even I am confusing myself in discussing all the possible outfield and infield combinations if the Giants were to trade for yet another outfielder.

While being versatile is ideal, switching players around everyday can cause certain players to struggle.

It can’t be ignored that consistency in where players find themselves in the lineup and on the field each and everyday often helps them reach their a comfort zone quicker than if they keep getting moved up and down the lineup and from position to position.

What is the most wide open spot the Giants have on the field?

Corner infield.

Or more specifically first base.

With Pablo Sandoval capable of playing either first or third, ideally the Giants would target a trade for either a third or first baseman.

Why is this the case? Well, when you consider that  Aubrey Huff, Buster Posey and now Travis Ishikawa have all seen time at first base, it is clear that a spot is available to be anchored down at first base.

With Huff now playing a lot in the outfield, Posey moved to catcher full time, and Ishikawa more of a role player than everyday starter, there is a clear vacancy for an everyday first baseman.

Now when it comes to corner infielders available, the spot to look first would be in Washington in an attempt to see what it would take to acquire either third baseman Ryan Zimmerman or first baseman Adam Dunn.

Both players would probably require as much, if not more than, the return the Brewers will be asking for in regards to Hart.

So chances are, both players are out of San Francisco’s price range.

That said, looking around the bottom feeding teams in the National League and there are some quality corner infielders that should be available for considerably less in return.

For example, the Chicago Cubs are not going anywhere this season, and the 35-year-old Derrek Lee could be had for merely prospects. He may be only hitting .238 thus far, but he has proven throughout his career to be a dynamic hitter.

Change of scenery to a place closer to his Sacramento roots could jump start the veteran first baseman.

Houston’s Lance Berkman could be had for relatively cheap, as the 34-year-old hasn’t been playing up to his prior standards this season. While he still has enough game to require better prospects, Berkman is still an intriguing option.

There is also Arizona’s Adam Laroche, who was said to have been offered more money by the Giants this offseason before signing a one year deal with the Diamondbacks. With things not going as planned in Arizona, and LaRoche’s camp reporting that there aren’t any negative feelings towards the Giants, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him in orange & black.

And finally, the only cheap option still in his 20’s is none other than Pittsburgh’s Garrett Jones. Jones can hit for power and play everyday at first base and solidify the Giant infield. He isn’t likely to cost much more than maybe a reliever with some big league experience and an average prospect.

Each one of these cheaper candidates are low risk, high reward. They each currently play for a lousy NL team, and would welcome a change to a winning team.

Sure, all Giants fans would prefer the Ryan Braun’s, Prince Fielder’s, Adam Dunn’s, and Adrian Gonzalez’s of the world, but the asking price for these types of players is going to be too high.

Plus, for those of us who complain about the Giants not having a marquee bat, then just blame the Giants front office team who could have signed Dunn as a free agent prior to the 2009 season.

Trading for him now would just be a huge waste of prospects and probably a starting pitcher when they could have just signed him as a free agent two years ago.

Fortunately, there are currently some lesser options who could prove to be just as effective down the stretch as Dunn would be, but at a lower cost.

Let’s just hope the Giants take this advice and trade for a low risk NL first baseman and not another American Leaguer.

Because we all know how well the trades for AJ Pierzynski, Shea Hillenbrand and Ryan Garko worked out for the Giants.

Not so good.

But those veteran NL first baseman (who currently play for underachieving teams) are exactly the bats San Francisco should try to acquire before the July 31st trade deadline.


Read more MLB news on

Manager Bruce Bochy Is Continually Handcuffing the Giants

At this point, there should be no need for Giants fans to debate over whether or not Bruce Bochy is a quality big league manager.

Simply said, he isn’t one.

Why? Because quality managers put the eight most useful position players on the field day in and day out and place them in the ideal spots in the lineup.

But San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy has done neither in every single game of the season since his bosses acquired Pat Burrell off the free agent wire back in late May.

In the 22 games since Burrell’s arrival to the 25-man roster, the Giants have played with their best available offensive and defensive lineup a grand total of zero times.

Now those of you reading this might be gawking at my opinion and thinking to yourselves “who is this kid and why does he think he knows more about baseball than a big league manager? I mean he’s not a paid writer, he’s barely an adult who writes for Bleacher Report free of compensation.”

But please, anyone with that mindset needs to realize you don’t have to be a professional to understand baseball.

It is widely agreed upon by writers here, and the “professional” news outlets that the best eight position players the Giants could put on the field are as follows:

LF: Pat Burrell

CF: Andres Torres

RF: Nate Schierholtz

3B: Pablo Sandoval

SS: Juan Uribe

2B: Freddy Sanchez

1B: Aubrey Huff

C: Buster Posey

As for the batting lineup, these eight players should be arranged (based on current production and hitting style) in the following order:

1. Torres

2. Sanchez

3. Huff

4. Uribe

5. Burrell

6. Sandoval

7. Posey

8. Schierholtz

Now, if certain young stars like Sandoval and Posey were performing better at the plate, you could make the argument that they belong more so in the middle of the order.

Perhaps if Sandoval was building on his impressive marks from last year during 2010, hitting third or cleanup would be possible lineup spots.

Posey on the other hand has the talents of a three hitter or six hitter. When intelligent baseball minds discuss future offensive potential at the plate for Posey, they draw comparisons to Joe Mauer instead of, say, Justin Morneau.

But for the here and now, Sandoval and Posey belong lower in the lineup as Burrell, Uribe and Huff are carrying the load offensively.

The main point in all of this however, is that the aforementioned lineup gives San Francisco the best chance to win because it combines the maximum amount of offense they can put on the field with the maximum amount of defense on the field.

Baseball fans should understand that the likes of Aaron Rowand, Edgar Renteria, and Bengie Molina are finished as everyday big league starters.

While it is unfortunate that the three combine to make $25.5 million dollars this season, that doesn’t mean they should be held without scrutiny.

Recently, Rowand has started to ride the pine more often than he has seen the field. But it is time for Molina and Renteria to join him.

Despite solid numbers at the plate this season, (an .829 OPS thus far) Renteria should ride the pine for numerous reasons.

1) He can’t seem to stay healthy when starting and keeping him fresh as a bench player and pinch hitter will be crucial in the second half.

2) Uribe plays a better shortstop and has been San Francisco’s most lethal offensive weapon this season. The only possible option of getting both players in the lineup would be moving Uribe to third and bench the slumping Sandoval.

3)However, Sandoval is too much of a threat to break out of his slump to bench him for any extended length of time, and Uribe plays a much sharper shortstop than he does third base. The Giants would be much better off defensively with Uribe at short and Sandoval at third. Plus, offensively its only a matter of time before Sandoval gets his bat going.

As for Bengie Molina, the Giants are in a position where it is only a matter of time before Posey takes over at catcher. Posey is the catcher of the future, and Molina is certainly in his last season as a Giant.

The argument that Molina catches a better game and is more familiar with the staff is a pointless notion to make because Posey will have to learn the staff at some point in the future. The sooner he gets used to catching the better the Giants will be in years to come.

Plus, any hiccups that come from Posey not calling as good of a game can be easily overcome with the fact that Posey is a much better all-around athlete. Posey can turn all those should be doubles that are Molina singles into actual doubles, and he has more range on pop ups, bunts, and has a stronger arm.

All those intangibles make Posey at catcher the ideal position both offensively and defensively.

Now since Posey has been playing elsewhere in the field recently, the player taking Molina’s lineup spot would be right-fielder Nate Schierhotlz. Even though the 26-year-old outfielder has struggled at the plate in a reserve role in recent weeks, he brings more offensive punch than Molina and is an all-star caliber defender in the outfield.

Schierholtz owns one of the best arms in baseball in terms of both strength and accuracy. But, the only way a team like the Giants can take advantage of these skills is by playing him everyday.

Getting him into the lineup is imperative for his defense alone and since he will be hitting eighth, any offense from him is a merely a bonus. And as his past as showed, Schierholtz has the ability to get red hot with consistent playing time, so with him in the lineup, the Giants should at some point receive significant offensive production from eight hole.

Unfortunately, this lineup has yet to see the light of day. As mentioned previously, Bochy has not put this starting lineup on the field for a single game since Burrell’s arrival.

And without putting this lineup on the field the Giants are instead playing Molina more often than they should, which then causes them to have play either Rowand (who has been awful all season) or to move Huff (who would be the second limited range outfielder on the field) to right-field.

But when the Giants move Huff to right field, they then have two “water buffaloes” (aka slow runners) in the outfield. And having both Burrell and Huff man the outfield corners is not an ideal formula for preventing runs.

Putting one of them out there for offensive reasons makes sense but placing both of them out there (when it can easily be avoided) makes absolutely zero sense.

Yet this defensive set up seems to happen more often than not, which is what frustrates the Orange & Black faithful. Lineup decisions from Bochy often decrease the Giants’ chances at winning because they don’t make any sense.

Just like it makes zero sense for Posey to bat cleanup, Molina to bat cleanup, Renteria to bat fifth, and Rowand to bat leadoff as has happened thus far this season.

So why does Bochy continue to manage the Giants, or even in the big leagues at all?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Read more MLB news on

The San Francisco Giants Have a Deep Lineup…Say Whaaaat?

Ever since the Giants parted ways with Barry Bonds in 2008, wait check that, ever since the last couple seasons of Bonds’s career, the San Francisco Giants simply couldn’t score runs.

From 2006-2009, the Giants lived and died with their pitching staff. And prior to 2009, they did nothing but die with their pitching staff because in each of the previous four seasons, San Francisco finished under .500.

But then came 2009, and the Giants pitching staff put together one of the best seasons a staff has ever had.

Tim Lincecum won a second straight Cy Young Award, Matt Cain was an All-Star, Jonathan Sanchez threw a no-hitter, Randy Johnson provided quality starts and won his 300th game, and set-up man Jeremy Affeldt was the reliever of the year for the MLB.

The rest of the staff filled their roles and drove the team to an impressive 88-74 record despite scoring an abysmal 657 runs on offense.

Now with the same staff (more or less) back for a second straight year, the question was if the Giants could put together a lineup that would catapult them to the playoffs.

Well, that lineup has arrived.

Finally, the Giants have a lineup of multiple threats instead of automatic outs like Randy Winn, Dave Roberts, Edgar Renteria, Aaron Rowand, and Travis Ishikawa.

Now could the Giants still use that prototypical 40 homer bat in the middle of the lineup? Sure, and they will probably need said hitter if they want to consistently make the postseason year-in and year-out.

But for 2010? The lineup is finally shaping up into a formidable attack. From No. 1-7, the Giants have consistently productive hitters.

Never mind the struggles of Bengie Molina, Aaron Rowand, and Nate Schierholtz, only one of those three seems to be in the lineup on any given game.

And the rest of the seven starters are producing big time.

Andres Torres, Freddy Sanchez, Pablo Sandoval, Aubrey Huff, Juan Uribe, Pat Burrell, and Buster Posey make up the top seven hitters in the Giants lineup in recent weeks.

San Francisco may be lucky to have a single one of them hit over 30 homers, but both Huff and Uribe are on pace for 25, Sandoval hit 25 last season, Burrell hit 33 two years ago with Philadelphia, and the trio of Torres, Sanchez, and Posey are elite gap-to-gap hitters who can all work counts.

It didn’t matter for the Giants that the recently on fire Buster Posey went 0-8 these past two games against Oakland, because when any of these hitters has an off day, somebody else goes off for a gigantic day.

San Francisco completed the sweep of the A’s this afternoon behind a pair of two-run homers by Aubrey Huff.

That’s right, their 33-year-old cleanup hitter who posted an atrocious OPS mark of .694 last season between Baltimore and Detroit is having a renaissance by the bay.

Coming into the series finale with Oakland, Huff was hitting right at .300 and with his big day at the plate today he now has an OPS over .900.

Combine his year thus far with his partner in crime Juan Uribe, and the Giants have a dangerous middle of the order.

Uribe, whose career averages are as follows: .258/.301/.433/.744 and whose career marks in home runs and RBI are 23 and 74, was hitting .291/.358/.478/.836 with nine homers and 40 RBI coming into Sunday’s game.

He now has 10 homers and 41 RBI on the season, on pace for 28 homers and 119 RBI.

Talk about having a year to remember, and one that actually isn’t surprising to the Giants brass.

Earlier this year, a bunch of Giants management and coaches stated that they feel Uribe is clearly a better player now than he was when he won the World Series with the White Sox back in 2005.

And with Uribe’s numbers in two years as a Giant, clearly San Francisco has scored with the veteran shortstop.

He’s on pace to shatter his career averages as well as blow by his career mark in RBI and he is only making $3.5 million this season!

Add that to the fact Huff is only making three million this year, and the Giants have a two-headed monster in the heart of their order that is only making a combined 6.5 million.

So while Giants fans can complain about the undeserved fat contracts to Rowand, Renteria, and Zito, at least GM Brian Sabean has found a couple of gems for cheap.

Furthermore, the newest Giant Pat Burrell is another offensive force that the Giants are paying very little for what so far has been tons of production.

Now fans shouldn’t get too excited, as the Giants don’t yet have an offense that can consistently win them the division year after year.

And plenty of other teams have a scarier “two-headed monster” than the Giants but when it comes to right here and now, Giant fans should be riding high with the utmost confidence.

The way their team has played the last few weeks should continue over the course of the season. And if it does, the Giants will be in the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

Read more MLB news on

San Francisco Giants: The Curious Case of Manager Bruce Bochy

When your local baseball team is a solid 7-3 in their past 10 games, there are usually plenty of positive story lines to write about. And the San Francisco Giants are no exception.

Freddy Sanchez has done nothing but rake since coming off the DL in mid-May. The Giants second baseman has jacked his average up to .371 with an OPS nearing .900.

Leadoff hitter and former journeyman Andres Torres has proved his impressive 2009 numbers were no fluke, as he has posted a .377 on-base percentage and .481 slugging percentage thus far to go along with 11 stolen bases.

All-Star pitcher Matt Cain is currently unhittable, allowing just one earned run in his last three starts, allowing just 10 hits in 25 innings pitched over that span.

Now those are just three examples of Giants players who are currently riding hot streaks. 

When you look at the entire roster, there are about five or six more players who are just as on fire as the previous three already mentioned.

But with the players who are going well and the players who are going badly so clearly defined, why does the manager continue to make puzzling lineup change after puzzling lineup change?

Just what goes through Bruce Bochy’s mind when he makes up his lineup card?

Making out the order isn’t rocket science.

The first six hitters in San Francisco’s order should remain the exact same everyday. Torres, Sanchez, Pablo Sandoval, Aubrey Huff, Juan Uribe, and Buster Posey are continually proving worthy of a top-six lineup spot every day they play.

Now, while Pablo Sandoval is struggling with the double-plays and not hitting for the accustomed amount of power he has shown in the past, he is still getting his hits.

If Bochy felt it necessary to drop Sandoval down to the sixth spot instead of his usual third spot in the lineup, nobody would raise an eyebrow.

But dropping the team’s best hitter and franchise player to the eighth hole? Now that is flat out absurd.

Two games ago, with Sandoval still hitting a respectable .281 (an average that has stayed around that mark for the past couple of weeks), Bochy dropped him down to the eight spot and get this, put the stone-cold Bengie Molina at cleanup!

Say what?

Molina, who was one-for-his-last-23 and three-for-his-last-46, got moved from his accustomed lower-third of the order to cleanup?

For what possible reason?

And then in the fourth inning, Molina was taken out of the ball game as part of a double switch?

Sure, Bochy’s claim was that he wanted to get multiple innings out of his first reliever before having to pinch hit for him. Well, earth to Bochy—you don’t have to pinch hit just because the pitcher’s spot is coming up and you have already gone to the bullpen.

Had the day’s starter Todd Wellemeyer still been in the game, he would have gotten a second at-bat anyway, so “losing” one at-bat with a pitcher hitting wouldn’t have been the worst move in the world.

However, with Molina hitting so poorly, it was probably a good move to put backup Eli Whiteside in the game because Whiteside has crushed the heck out of the ball all season with a .567 slugging percentage compared to Molina’s putrid mark of .320.

Now for those out there who agreed with the double switch, then once again, I’ll ask why hit Molina cleanup?

A player hitting in the cleanup spot should not be producing at a level low enough to be considered as a double switch candidate.

Nothing else needs to be said. Putting Molina at cleanup was an idiotic decision.

So not only does Bochy unfairly punish the most cherished Giants hitter since Bonds by unfairly dropping him to the eight spot, but he compounds that by unfairly rewarding the second coldest bat on the team with cleanup duty.

But that’s not all, phenom Buster Posey—who has been red hot since his call up—was lowered to seventh in the order behind newcomer Pat Burrell.

Now prior to this game, Posey had been hitting the ball all over the place from the fifth and sixth spots in the lineup. In other words he was performing like a middle of the order hitter who deserved to be hitting in the middle of the order.

And just because a recently signed veteran with pop gets into the lineup, he is allowed to hit higher in the lineup than Posey?

Currently Burrell isn’t a starter for this team and probably won’t be unless both Molina and Rowand continue to slump and find reductions in their playing time.

So why does the blistering hot Posey get dropped in the lineup? Posey and Sandoval hitting seventh and eighth? One could argue that by putting together the lineup in this fashion, Bochy had his best two hitters batting in the lowest two spots in the order.

Comparatively that would be like the Los Angeles Dodgers batting James Loney and Andre Ethier seven and eight.

It just doesn’t happen and shouldn’t happen, but yet with Bochy, it happened.

What makes the fans scratch their heads the most about these weird lineups is that the team is winning. Prior to this game with Posey and Sandoval at the bottom of the order, the Giants were 7-3 in their past 10.

That isn’t the time for major lineup changes.

And yet the following game, Bochy continued with a second straight odd configuration with his lineup.

Instead of going back to the crystal clear (what definitely should be the lineup) order with Torres, Sanchez, Sandoval, Huff, Uribe, and Posey as 1-6, Bochy put Molina ahead of Posey and sandwiched the stud rookie between the two worst hitters on the team.

In the seventh spot, Posey had Molina in front of him and Rowand behind him?

Are you kidding me? This isn’t the NHL; you don’t put a hot hitter in between two cold hitters and hope that his bat will rub off on his teammates. It doesn’t work that way. In hockey, putting a hot forward on the same line with two other cold forwards could be a way to snap the cold players out of their slumps.

But this is baseball, and putting Posey between the two worst hitters on the team makes absolutely no sense.

Not only did the move limit Posey’s ability to knock in runs, but in all reality it should have limited the pitches that five hitter Juan Uribe got to hit in the game.

While the Pirates oddly pitched to Uribe in the ninth inning (which saw the Giants RBI leader knock in the lead run), conventional wisdom would have been to walk him and face the frozen cold Molina.

Of course, had Bochy put together a conventional lineup, the Giants wouldn’t have had to worry about Uribe not getting pitches to hit because the red hot Posey would have been on deck, right?

Not so fast, because the brilliant Bochy had taken Posey out of the game in the eighth inning for a pinch runner…

What’s that?

Posey was taken out of the game in a tie ball game despite getting on base twice in four at-bats and having made an excellent play at first base that saved a run in the second inning.

And he is taken out of the game?

What is this nonsense?

Well, as Giants fans have come to learn, that nonsense is just the curious case of their manager, Bruce Bochy.

Nobody knows why, but the man just has a knack for making awful decisions with the batting order.

Read more MLB news on

Aaron Rowand Should Be Benched By San Francisco Giants

During my time here at Bleacher Report, I’ve been given plenty of praise and plenty of hate in the comments section of my articles.

Now notice I did not say “fair share” of both, because honestly the majority of criticism is unwarranted.

Am I saying this simply to toot my own horn?

No. I am saying this to point out how sad it is that some baseball fans are no longer going to read my articles because they think it is wrong of me to suggest that the Giants should have their younger and more talented players get more at-bats in place of their under-performing veteran players.

These so called “fans” are the ones who truly disappoint me when they comment and suggest that I “have no baseball knowledge.”


Please, I have played the game competitively from as early as age five all the way up until I was 15. Since then I have continued to play recreational as often as I can despite not having the god given talent to play at the elite high school and college levels.

But combine my youth playing days while watching over 200 professional and collegiate games a year since as long as I can remember, and you have my baseball background.

You can shrug it off and tell yourself it isn’t much. But I know the game just as well as anyone who gets paid to be a part of a baseball organization.

And because of that, I am writing in an attempt to convince all of you optimists that Giants’ center fielder Aaron Rowand is not worthy of a starting position in Major League Baseball with the following line thus far this season:

.231/.265/.408/.673, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 29 K, 5 BB, 18 R, 0 SB

Rowand ranks as the 105th most productive outfielder in baseball in regards to his OPS mark of .673.

Look at it this way, there are 30 teams in baseball, and each team starts three outfielders.

Therefore, in the majors there are 90 starters in the outfield. And Rowand ranks number 105?

Is this a joke?

He is currently in the middle of a five-year 60 million dollar contract and he can’t even muster up an OPS amongst the top 90 best outfielders?

That is not just pathetic, that is ridiculously awful.

And while I did not have the privilege of watching Rowand during his best seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox, his current batting stance with the Giants is one of many reasons for his ineptitude at the plate.

All you have to do is watch a Giants game and focus on Rowand’s batting stance. Pre-pitch he holds his bat incredibly low—too low to adequately be able to hit a baseball from that position—and while he raises his hands as the pitch is delivered, it creates unnecessary movement that doesn’t allow him to adjust to certain pitches.

Combine the movement of his hands with the fact Rowand leans back heavily before the pitch comes and has too much forward momentum as the pitch arrives, and you can see why he continually fails time and time again to hit fastballs on the inner half of the plate.

Not only that, but this stance is what prevented him from being able to turn away from a Vicente Padilla fastball that broke a bone in his cheek earlier this season.

Rowand couldn’t move in that situation because his stance doesn’t allow him the ability to turn and duck out of the way.

You can bet that the Giants’ coaching staff sees these same mechanical flaws in Rowand’s approach, but for whatever reason, the “gamer” that the Giants claim Rowand to be, is stubbornly not going to change.

Therefore, when the Giants are looking to add offense anyway they can, why they continue to start Rowand in center field every single night is absolutely puzzling.

Now, in tonight’s ball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, it looks like 26-year-old right-fielder Nate Schierholtz will be the one without a lineup spot instead of Rowand.

Due to the new look configuration of the Giants lineup with top minor league prospect Buster Posey being called up, there will have to be a current everyday starter summoned to the bench. And knowing how the Giants operate, it will be Schierholtz riding the pine.

Unfortunately, if that is the case, it will be yet another idiotic move by a franchise that doesn’t understand how to build a winner.

Schierholtz has proven to be an absolute stud defender in right field (already has four assists on the season in only 29 starts) and an above average hitter for a team staved for offense.

On the season, Schierholtz has the following offensive line:

.291/.366/.409/.775, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 13 K, 10 BB, 18 R, 4 SB.

As the numbers show, Schierholtz is clearly producing at a better clip than Rowand is and yet Schierholtz, not Rowand will be the one sitting?

Talk about a slap in the face to your fan base.

By benching Schierholtz and not Rowand, the Giants organization is continuing to make the statement that they will start the athlete with the bigger contract instead of the athlete who does more to help the team win.

And that notion is why it is so difficult to be a follower of the Giants.

They continually do not put their best possible team on the field.

Read more MLB news on

San Francisco Giants: Playing Money Over Talent Is Hindering Their Chances

When a team musters just a single run in a three game series, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the offense is struggling.

Essentially, changes to the San Francisco Giants’ lineup are a guarantee.

Even if their manager was napping in the clubhouse during the past three games, changes would be made after looking at the final box scores.

Once the manager wakes up after such a dreadful offensive series, he will see 20 straight zeros in the boxscore and will naturally be inclined to shake things up.

However, the issue with the Giants is their organization plays who they pay most rather than who produces most.

And because of this mindset, Bochy will play Edgar Renteria instead of Nate Schierholtz.

Wait, what?

How does a lineup decision come down to either a shortstop or right fielder getting in the lineup?

Well, it is actually pretty simple.

With the Opening Day left fielder Mark DeRosa out with injury, the Giants plan on moving their everyday first baseman Aubrey Huff to the outfield to take over the vacant spot. (backup Andres Torres then slides over to right field).

Subsequently, third baseman Pablo Sandoval shifts over to Huff’s old spot at first which allows Juan Uribe and Freddy Sanchez to man the third and second base spots. And that leaves shortstop open for the recently called up Edgar Renteria.

Only problem is that these moves put the 26-year-old Schierholtz on the bench.

Now if you ask Giants fans whether they would rather have Schierholtz in the lineup or Renteria, the overwhelming majority would prefer Schierholtz, and for good reason.

Despite losing his starting right field spot in Spring Training, Schierholtz has since earned back that role before recently taking a few games off to rest an aggravated shoulder injury.

Thus far during the season, Schierholtz has proved both offensively and defensively that he is a major asset.

At the plate, he has started off with a .298 average, .365 on-base percentage and a .423 slugging percentage. Not to mention, his four stolen bases are second on the team next to Torres.

Defensively, he already has three assists in 35 games in the outfield and in terms of shutting down opponents from taking extra bases, Schierholtz is one of the best in all of baseball.

Combine that total package against Renteria, and it is absolutley no question who brings more to the table.

You can disregard Renteria’s .313 average thus far because his on-base percentage of .363 isn’t even higher than that of Schierholtz, despite having the higher average.

Plus out of the shortstop’s 26 hits on the season, only four have gone for extra bases which drops his slugging percentage to an abysmal .386.

Furthermore, the soon to be 35-year-old does not have the range nor the arm to match that of Uribe’s.

So not only does Schierholtz have a superior OPS of .788 compared to Renteria’s .744, but the younger legs bring much more value defensively.

Having Torres and Schierholtz man the outfield corners will be much more beneficial to the pitching staff (and strength of the Giants team) than it would be to have Torres (in a new outfield spot, trying to learn right field at AT&T Park) and Huff at the corners.

Especially when you consider Huff has played just eight of his 1,324 career games in left field and just 208 total in the outfield, organizing the defense in this fashion is asking for trouble.

But the Giants are probably going to do this anyway. Why? Because Renteria is making nine million dollars compared to Schierholtz who is making “around the league minimum”. (after some google searching, that is the only reference I could find about his contract status).

Whether it is a combination of front office people or just GM Brian Sabean forcing Bochy’s hand, the players with large contracts play the field no matter their production level.

Now currently Schierhotlz isn’t fully healthy and it is difficult for us outsiders to know when he will be healthy enough to start.

But when he is healthy, there is no reason for Schierholtz to be on the bench other than money. Renteria clearly should be the one riding the pine based on the value assigned by the statistics and by the naked eye.

Just watch Renteria swing the bat, and you know father time is catching up to the former All-Star shortstop.

Yet you can bet on Renteria being in the starting lineup everyday when healthy.

Which is subsequently the biggets complaint of the fan base: “Why does our team continually fail to put their best team on the field?”

If the best lineup the Giants can trot out there is simply not good enough to make the playoffs, the fans will understand.

After all, in order to significantly upgrade the team during the season, a trade will have to be made. And in making a trade, it is difficult to make a move that clearly upgrades the team.

For example, Giants fans wish they could have Adrian Gonzalez at first base. But depending on the asking price of San Diego, adding Gonzalez may do more harm than good.

Trading for key players in any sport without giving up too many key players in return is quick a difficult task. Most fans understand this notion.

But what fans don’t understand is leaving young talent on the bench and starting the less talented old guys just because of their contracts.

That is why Giants fans complain.

And rightfully so.

Read more MLB news on

San Francisco Giants: The Case Against Brian Wilson

IP: 201 2/3  H: 180   ER: 81   HR: 12  BB: 88   K: 210  ERA: 3.61   WHIP: 1.33   BAA: .239

SV/OPP: 93/109  SV %: 85.3

Prior to Saturday’s Giants/Astros matchup, those were Giants closer Brian Wilson’s career numbers.

And while some say the 2008 All Star is an underrated closer, the reality is that the 28-year-old reliever receives more credit than he deserves.

Thanks in large part to the ridiculously stat-driven league that is Major League Baseball, the majority of hardball fans think Wilson is an ideal closer.

And by all means, he is a great pickup for your fantasy team.

But in real life? Not so much.

Despite picking up 86 saves since 2008, Wilson will never be THE pitcher a fan base wants on the mound with the game on the line.

Why is this the case?

Because unless Wilson puts more faith in his slider or picks up a new secondary pitch, every single hitter in baseball knows what is coming in a 3-2 count with the bases loaded: a fastball.

And unfortunately, since Wilson’s slider (his only secondary pitch) is tremendously inconsistent, most save opportunities see the Giants closer throw over 90 percent fastballs.

Therefore, not only can opposing hitters sit on the fastball during crucial pitches, but they can essentially sit on the fastball in any count.

While Wilson’s fastball does run anywhere from 96-99, his lack of faith in another pitch kills him.

After all, as the ever popular Giants color analyst Mike Krukow states time and time again, “every big league hitter can hit a fastball; they wouldn’t be here if they couldn’t.”

Now if Wilson had pinpoint accuracy to every corner of the plate, then throwing 96+ on every pitch would make him nearly unbeatable.

But when you consider that Wilson averages nearly four walks per nine innings, it is obvious that he belongs in the middle of the pack of MLB closers.

Throwing in the high 90s is a plus, but in order to be a great closer, pitchers have to be much better at “upsetting the timing of the hitter.”

Krukow says it all the time, “What is hitting? Hitting is timing. What is pitching? Pitching is upsetting the timing of the hitter.”

And by throwing major gas time and time again, Wilson rarely upsets the timing of opposing hitters.

San Fran’s closer may end up converting most of his saves, but more often than not it takes him a lot longer to get out of an inning than it does for the rest of his peers.

A perfect example of this type of save would be Saturday’s 2-1 win over the Astros.

Despite converting the one-run save, Wilson ended up having to throw 39 pitches before he got the job done.

His slider was once again failing to entice the hitters. Pedro Feliz took two of them that weren’t even close to the strike zone in route to a lead-off walk.

After the sliders had failed, Wilson tried to retire Feliz with fastball after fastball but each time Wilson got his heater in the strike zone, Pedro was able to foul it off rather easily.

Two batters later, Wilson had only one out left to secure the victory but didn’t have any faith to throw his slider. Subsequently, pinch hitter Corey Sullivan was able to get enough of a fastball to put it in play and beat out an infield hit.

Michael Bourn then followed up Sullivan’s single by drawing the second walk of the inning, loading the bases for Kaz Matsui.

Now in all honesty, Matsui is clearly the hitter opponents would rather face as he was hitting just .164 coming into the game and was 0-4 coming into the at-bat.

But by walking Bourn, Wilson would have no room for error in protecting the one-run lead as another walk would lose the lead and victory for Lincecum.

And in spite of his recent struggles, Matsui would battle the entire at-bat, following off 10 pitches in a 15-pitch duel against Wilson.

Of the 15 pitches, only one of them wasn’t a fastball. While the count was 2-2, Wilson hung a slider belt high that Matsui barely foul tipped at the plate (nine times out of 10, Giants catcher Bengie Molina holds on for the win).

But the war between Matsui and Wilson would continue.

And not until another handful of pitches later would Matsui end up flying out to left field to end the game.

Now most fans would say: mission accomplished. The Giants got the win, everything is fine and dandy.

However, these are the appearances from Wilson that make knowledgeable Giants fans cringe.

Wilson simply cannot continue to survive on just his fastball. When the season is on the line, and or the playoffs are on the line, good teams will beat the Wilson that took the field today against Houston.

The Giants’ closer can at times get away with the stuff he had (albeit, barely) against a team like the Astros, but when facing the Philadelphia Phillies in the playoffs, he must have a much better repertoire.

One pitch is just not going to get it done.

Now some fans out there will beg to differ by referencing Yankees’ closer Mariano Rivera, who is successful with just one pitch.

But Rivera throws arguably the nastiest pitch in baseball, a 92-94 mph cut-fastball and he has impeccable accuracy with it.

That indeed is enough of a repertoire to win championships and Rivera’s World Series rings are a testament to that.

But as for Wilson, his one pitch isn’t nearly enough. His fastball doesn’t have Rivera’s movement nor his accuracy.

And if Wilson wants to join Rivera as an elite closer, he will have to learn a couple of new tricks to put up his sleeve.

Whether that is perfecting his slider and becoming more accurate, or improving the slider while adding a change-up, at least two improvements are critical moving forward.

If Wilson and the Giants don’t realize that, then San Francisco is just setting up their fans for a major disappointment.

Because at this rate, even if the Giants make the postseason, Wilson is bound to blow that crucial save which either puts them in a major hole or ends their season completely.

Read more MLB news on

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress