While reading the Chronicle this morning on my lovely 5:45 AM trip on CalTrain, I was subjected to John Shea's most recent article - Bowker may be playing his way out of a job.
Now, dont get me wrong, Bowker has been anything but spectacular for the past two months, and Ishikawa is tearing minor league pitchers up. They should absolutely switch places in the immediate to very near future. But is Bowker really to blame in this situation?
Here's how Shea, Bochy, and Sabean see it: (Quotes taken from the article)
"Bowker, who hasn't homered since July 2 and seems to struggle with plate discipline - he swings at too many high fastballs and chases breaking balls out of the zone - might be playing himself out of the lineup."
"It's something Sabes and I have talked about. I'll leave it at that," said manager Bruce Bochy..."
"He's got to adjust a little better. He's got to discipline himself a little better," Bochy said about Bowker, who is hitting .141 with three RBIs since July 12. "It's hard enough when you're facing major-league pitchers. When you're chasing pitches out of the zone, it gives the pitchers a lot more options."
Here's how I see it: Bowker came up through the system when the completely idiotic "Ortmeier as 1B no switch cleanup hitter extrodinare!!!!" experiment tanked at the beginning of the season. When all seemed lost at first base, we bring up a 24 year old minor leaguer with solid AA numbers. Granted, he only played 9 games in AAA, but thats never stopped the Giants before!
Bowker exploded for huge numbers to start his career, and the Giants and the fans felt as if they had found gold in their stale fruit loops. However, Bowker couldn't sustain this Bondsian run, and he tailed off a bit, even though he continued to hit the ball well.
Fact of the matter is, it's not Bowker's fault that he's seen his production drop a bit here. He didn't have time to develop plate dicipline, and the whole learning major league pitching on the fly system that the Giants have employed this year just isn't working. (Will it be long before Shea writes a similar article about Burriss?) He needed more time in the minors; he was rushed to the major leagues in an attempt to cover up an organizational disaster. He did well (exceeding expectations even!) in his time here, but I think it's time he heads back to Fresno to develop.
I guess I just took the tone of the article as a stab at a guy who did a decent job of providing the fans with a little hope for the future. Instead of saying that he's playing his way out of a job, how about being suprised that a AA RF came to the MLB, learned a new position, and lead the team in HR's for a while before going back to AAA to further hone his skills.
I appretiate you, Mr. Bowker.