It's September, and the roster is filled with fresh, new faces. I enjoy watching new players. I was hella pumped for Brian Dallimore's debut, for example. That didn't turn out as well as I expected, but we'll always have the grand slam.
So here's a comment starter: You're Bruce Bochy. You have control over the lineup for the rest of the year. What's the lineup you roll out there most frequently?
First off, you're not actually Bruce Bochy. Stop prank-calling your friends; you don't really have his voice. This is just a thought exercise, people.
Pretend you're Bochy, then. You can rest the veterans with mallet fingers, torn hamstrings, and ring-finger fractures more often than not. Play the kids. Give Ehire a bunch of starts. Posey doesn't play catcher for the rest of the year. Rest Pagan more than he wants, and start Juan Perez in center. Or, even better, move Pagan to left and tell him it's to rest his hamstrings.
Or maybe you have just one player you want to evaluate for the rest of the year. Maybe Ehire as a potential Joaquin Arias replacement, or Francisco Peguero as a right-handed bench option next year. So you put one of those players in with greater frequency.
I've been thinking about this for a while, and I'm pretty sure I have my optimal lineup for the rest of September. This is some serious outside-the-box thinking, folks. There's no way the starchy suits would get this crazy, but I think they should take some chances. Here goes:
1. Angel Pagan - CF
2. Marco Scutaro - 2B
3. Brandon Belt - 1B
4. Buster Posey - C
5. Hunter Pence - RF
6. Pablo Sandoval - 3B
7. Brandon Crawford - SS
8. Juan Perez/Gregor Blanco - LF
And you're all, "No way, that's too crazy, I need to sit down," but let me explain myself.
I've been staring at that lineup for a while, and I don't understand how the Giants have been so bad this year. Left field has been an absolute sinkhole, yes. The starting pitching has been the most disappointing part of the team, sure. But for the last three months, it's been far, far too difficult for the Giants to score runs. And when I look at that lineup, I don't see a lot of hitters who make me roll my eyes. It's a solid collection of players who should be in a major-league lineup, at least until you get to the eighth spot.
So what I'm most interested in is how the A-lineup does for the rest of the season. Pagan's back. Sandoval's back and trimmer. Is the team really this powerless, or can they hit some dingers in the final month of the season? What does the lineup look like when they all aren't slumping at the same time?
These are much more interesting questions than anything you can come up with in relation to the September call-ups. I'm not that interested in Adrianza, Noonan, or Kieschnick. I'd like to see Johnny Monell catch, just to see if he's acceptable there in a pinch, but that's about it. It's almost as if ... as if ... the Giants didn't have any good upper-level hitting prospects to call up. As such, it's hard to take a just-play-the-kids mentality.
Nope, I want to see the A-lineup. There's a strong chance that 7/8ths of it is the starting lineup next year, too. I want a good month with everyone healthy to make me think that's not a crazy idea. It's not a crazy idea, right? The Giants can get one more hitter for left field and turn this into a contending lineup again, right? Right? Don't walk away. Answer the damned question. We're not all nuts here, right?
After months of watching this lineup do bad things, I'm still not sure it's a bad lineup. I want another month of evidence.
I think this is a type of Stockholm syndrome, actually.