There has to be some undiscovered algorithm that can predict the number of runs scored based on the strength of lineup-based whining before the game. Because this lineup looked awful.
RF - Minor-league free agent
3B - Minor-league free agent
LF - Normal player
1B - .328 career minor-league OBP
CF - Normal player
C - 22-year-old rushed to majors
2B - .314 career minor-league OBP
SS - .333 career minor-league OBP
And when I describe Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan as "normal players", that doesn't adequately describe the state of the lineup. Cabrera and Pagan are perfectly acceptable starters, but no one's going to mistake them for All-Stars. They were oases of adequate in a desert of .290 on-base percentages.
The algorithm would have known. We still wouldn't have believed it.
Except maybe those descriptions up there are unfair for a couple of players. Melky Cabrera, for one. If he really is as good as he was for the Royals last year (or has been for the Giants this year), he's much better than adequate. And Gregor Blanco has a career .357 OBP in the majors over 893 plate appearances. Most of those plate appearances came with Burrissian power, which made him something of a rich man's Reggie Willits. I always wanted a Reggie Willits. Mostly so I could go around saying, "What you walking about, Willits?" but also because highish-OBP/low-power guys fascinate me. Now the Giants have one.
But maybe he really does have a little power now. Not a lot, just something between Burriss and Pagan. Something above Burriss, really. Theriot-like power. That's the Mendoza Line for power -- a slugging percent about 70 points higher than the batting average. If Blanco can reach those lofty heights, it'd be unfair to label him dismissively as nothing more than a minor-league free agent with little chance of being more than end-of-bench fodder. He'd be pretty useful.
Here's hoping he's pretty useful. So far he sure has been.
Barry Zito's career stats with the Giants: 4.45 ERA, 4.1 BB/9, 6.3 K/9, 5.8 innings per start
Barry Zito's line today: 4.50 ERA, 4.5 BB/9, 7.5 K/9, six innings
That was as Barry Zito as a Barry Zito game can get, except there was one extra strikeout. I think that was Goldschmidt's doing. He can really help with that sort of thing when he's not getting fastballs down the middle. And when the Giants score runs like a normal team, a trademark Zito start doesn't look that bad at all.
Welcome back, useful Zito. Take your shoes off. Stay a while.
After blogging for nine-plus years, you'd think I'd learn: Don't overreact to the first game of the series. The Giants lost the first game of the series, and my immediate response was to complain like they'd just traded Madison Bumgarner for Vernon Wells. Two days later, the Giants won the series. The Giants went into Arizona and took two out of three, which was a highly desirable scenario. Before the series started, what would you have given for a series win? A substantial amount of money? A toe? A nephew?
The Giants just up and did it for us. They didn't even ask for anything like that. And now all of that complaining I did after Friday seems horribly short-sighted and stupid. "The Giants won the series! Let's go back and read the words written about the series! Let's see … oh, looks like the season ended on Friday. Huh. That seems a bit much."
I just take this stuff a game at a time and give it 110 percent. Can't let the mistakes get me down, and I'll step it up for the next series.
I don't remember the last time the Giants played the Diamondbacks, and I didn't notice Justin Upton once. I knew he was in the lineups, and I saw him at the plate, but then the games would end, and I wouldn't remember a single thing he did. That's not something I'm used to.
Baseball is better with a healthy, productive Justin Upton, so I'm not hoping that he's in the broken Pujols zone. But I'm also hoping that he doesn't figure out what's wrong until he's traded to the Blue Jays.
At least he didn't figure it out this series. I was sort of waiting for him to go off.
Romo ranks 141st in games pitched for relievers. He ranks 171st in innings pitched. So I shouldn't complain about him getting an inning, even if it's with a four-run lead. But he sure is being used oddly this year. He's being used like Ramon Ramirez was used last year, which makes little sense.
He was at his best today, and whatever worries I had in the beginning of the year (when he didn't look quite as crisp as I remembered him) are gone. Romo Romo Romo. Still one of my favorite -- if not my favorite -- Giants to watch when he's right. The pink shoes didn't hurt, either.