Operation: Make the Giants Pitching Feel Comfortable was a rousing success for the Dodgers last night, as the blue horde fielded a lineup worth of the SNK Crushers: Repko, Werth, Grbski.... However, even after Brad Penny was tossed for Aurilizing his helmet, the Giants couldn't muster much offense either. It took the stick arms of an aging - some would say "dreamy" - shortstop to slam an unlikely homerun.
It's hard to nitpick at success, but the Giants are just killing me in one area. With runners in scoring position, the team is amazing. Mike Matheny is hitting .503, Michael Tucker is hitting around .802, and Vizquel is clocking in with an improbable 134.091. And yet, this is a repugnant team we are all watching. They are gods eating peaches picked from the trees at the peak of Mt. Clutch, but as a team can't sniff .500.
Oh, what could have been in 2001. The Giants received a historically great offensive output from their double-play combination, had a pretty good bullpen, and had a fella in left who could hit home runs at will. The starting staff had dismal spots, with 226 innings of below-average pitching turned in by Livan Hernandez. This was before ex-Soviet scientists found a cure for not caring, and were able to dispense it in hamburger-flavored pills. Still, even with the sore spots on the staff, the Giants won 90 games.
The biggest culprit was the lack of timely hitting. As a team, the Giants hit .252 with runners in scoring position, and an amazing .222 with runners in scoring position and two outs. As a team, the Giants hit .266 for the season. That was a season where every game was beyond frustrating, and ever game felt like a vending machine that wouldn't take your dollar bill.
Our mission now is to hermetically seal some of these clutch hits, dust off the flux capacitator we found at a flea market, and start working on the Delorean. This display of timely hitting has no place in this season. Let us ship it back to 2001, when we might have cared.