Over the last two days, the Giants allowed a combined 43 runs in the first inning. They were reluctant to use a reliever right away because they were about to start a four-game series in Coors Field. They needed to save the bullpen as much as as possible. The result was Barry Zito gutting out more innings than he might have deserved and Chad Gaudin throwing 72 pitches.
There is another way.
But the Giants haven't explored it in decades. Decades! Back when Craig Biggio was a catcher and Steve Decker was Bill James's favorite prospect, the Giants let a position player pitch. To the amazing Baseball Almanac and their auto-generated Fast Facts!
Did you know that Greg Litton pitched 1 games at home, had an ERA of 9.00, pitched 1 innings, allowed 1 hits, had 1 earned runs, 1 runs, and 0 home runs, walked 3 batters (0 intentionally), threw 0 wild pitches, hit batters 0 times, and balked 0 times?
I did! You can check out the box score here. As bad as Litton was, he was the second-most effective pitcher for the Giants that day.
Before Litton, there was another huge gap between position players pitching. Dave Kingman pitched twice within a month-long span in 1973 -- 18 years before it happened again. Before that, Matty Alou pitched in the first game of a doubleheader. He's still tied for the highest strikeout rate in Giants history, you know.
Now, there have been position player Giants who pitched. Just not with the Giants. Steve Finley pitched a scoreless inning, as did long-time Giant Desi Relaford. Dave McCarty pitched 3.2 innings in three separate appearances, and Brent Mayne even got a memorable win, getting Chipper Jones on a grounder with two runners on to beat John Rocker. If you're trying to convince an atheist in your life, that box score would help your cause, especially if you point out the Chipper/Rocker part.
Even Cody Ross pitched an inning:
D'awww, the li'l' hop. ♡ u cody. Also, yeah, that was Pedro Feliz. But nothing for the Giants since Litton. This is probably more important than a third championship, everybody.
But who would do it? Buster Posey pitched in college, of course, but you can be damned sure Bruce Bochy isn't stupid enough to try that. The other options:
He also pitched in college, so he wouldn't embarrass himself. Well, he'd probably trip over the rubber and sit there with a frustrated, dejected look on his face, but he wouldn't embarrass himself with the pitching, at least.
Strong arm. A really strong arm. He's never pitched before (edit: that's not true!), but with arm strength and accuracy, I'd like to see it.
This falls under the Posey category, but Sandoval makes it because he can throw with either hand.
Not because I want to see him pitch, especially, but because this is the kind of back-of-the-bench player who usually does it. Let him/us have his/our fun and put him on the mound, dang it.
Of course, there is another.
oh god oh please oh please oh please oh please oh god oh please oh god oh please oh please oh please oh please oh god oh please oh god oh please oh please oh please oh please oh god oh please oh god oh please oh please oh please oh please oh god oh please oh god oh please oh please oh please oh please oh god oh please oh god oh please oh please oh please oh please oh god oh please let this happen
Money? You need money? We can raise money.
You want me to scrub all the negative things I've ever written? No problem. Most of them were stupid, anyway.
Animal shelters? Yeah, I'll burn them. Down to the ground. Those freeloaders don't give anything back to society, so what's the big deal? Anything to get Pence on the mound.
But, yeah, I'll take Noonan. Or anyone. A position-player pitching for the Giants, please. Blowouts are bad things, but every 20 years or so, they become legends.