So, Henry Sosa shut down the Giants on three day's rest.
Well, I've tried to play nice for too long. I love Andrew Baggarly's writing, and I've tried to avoid this for a long time, but it's time to give one of his pieces the Fire Joe Morgan treatment -- a step-by-step takedown of his latest article. This is done out of respect, Baggs, I promise, but I can't just sit by and read this:
Bruce Bochy has been a major league manager for 17 years and he does many things well. One of his best skills has been to keep the peace in the clubhouse – even if that means he tends to give struggling veterans a longer rope than they deserve.
Then there is Aubrey Huff. He has been terrible this season. There’s no sugarcoating it.
Let’s just say this: I wouldn’t want to be in Bochy’s position right now.
Injuries have crushed the Giants this season ... But in a way, the Giants’ underperforming veterans have been more damaging.
Every one of those outs dimmed the bulb by the slightest bit. The Giants are wandering in total darkness now.
Oh, man. This season is frustrating.
So they can’t just sit back and say it’s not their year — even if it’s obvious when you watch them play that this is simply not a good baseball team.
If Bochy thinks a radical change can improve the situation, he’s got to try it. Even a mutiny doesn’t matter if a season is lost, right?
Makes sense to me.
There. That didn't feel good, but it had to be done. (The whole article is a must-read. The perfect postscript to last night's sliver of a month-long debacle.)
It would really, really, really be easier to be like a commenter on the SF Giants Facebook page. Everything would be understandable. Players would get hits by virtue of having the proper amount of belly fire. If they don't get hits, they'd need to just stop at Costco and get more belly fire. Oh, and the players all have to like each other to get hits. If there's one guy who keeps flipping the clubhouse TV to "Antiques Roadshow" and then threatens with a bat anyone who tries to change it, that can make players not hit either.
I want to live in that world. It's tough to be cognizant of small samples. I'm almost certain that if the Giants played a 162-game season against the Astros, they'd win 100 games. Even this team. Henry Sosa wouldn't finish with an ERA of 2.00, and J.D. Martinez wouldn't have 59 homers and 178 RBI. For whatever reason, things have been disaster against them, though. When the Giants look fastball in, they get a breaking ball away. When they look breaking ball away, they get a fastball in. They swing when they shouldn't, and they take when they should swing. Everything they do is wrong. That can't continue.
Unless it can! It's baseball. And in those small samples of a single game, it sure looks like the Astros are hungrier. On the plane ride from double-A, the flight attendant passed out these little packets of belly-fire, and they lasted longer than they should have. The Giants old players are playing old.
But if I were in charge, I'd have absolutely no idea what to do with the Giants. Oh, I'd have a couple of ideas -- keeping Belt in there every day, sitting Cabrera against right-handers, pretending that Rowand is a ghost that only I can see and whispering to him that if I put him in the lineup, everyone would think I'm crazy because he's only a ghost, and I'd do that enough to make him wonder if he's really a ghost in the hopes that he'd just leave the team one day to figure things out -- but I don't think there's a magic cure anywhere.
Here's what the Giants need to do: play better. Cody Ross is hitting .192/.247/.346 in August. Nah, he needs to hit better than that. He has in the past. Huff is hitting .266/.330/.468 in August, though those numbers have dipped in the past week. He can do better. Carlos Beltran is hitting .259/.273/.407 as a Giant -- a total ledéevolution of his abilities. He can do better.
The offense isn't good, mind you. But it should be better. And I'd have no idea what to do to make them better. Keep running them out there, letting them know the manager has faith in them? Okay. Makes sense, kind of. Bringing up Gary Brown, Brett Pill, Francisco Peguero, and Joe Panik, trying to match the energy of the Astros. Uh, I guess, though it should be noted that the Astros sort of lose to all of the non-Giants teams. I just don't have an answer. Everything is equally abhorrent.
I'm expecting this lineup today.
Cabrera - SS
Keppinger - 2B
Pablo - 3B
Beltran - RF
Ross - LF
Huff - 1B
Rowand - CF
Stewart - C
Maybe Tejada sneaks in there - at third, possibly, to give Pablo's shoulder a rest. But the only suggestion I'm sure about is that Belt should play against left-handed pitchers, and that Rowand should only see pinch-hit at-bats in extra-inning games against left-handers. After that, hell, I don't know. This team will have to play better.
Hey, Giants: Play better, dammit!
And while Bochy is driving me nuts by playing Rowand or leading off Orlando Cabrera -- that is some seriously wacky crap, my man -- the Giants have more control over winning and losing because they need to play better. So, hop on it Giants. You've sucked all the analysis out of me. Play better and win more, or play the same and lose just as much. Yep. That's all I -- or anyone -- has right now.