The winning streak had to end at some point, but it didn't have to end in Los Angeles. It certainly didn't have to end with Jeff Kent flipping his bat and flashing his patented "Mona Lisa, if Mona Lisa were an Orange County-raised asswrench who thought she was a Texan"-smirk. Oh, the humanity.
We're in September, and 5/8ths of the lineup have combined for 31 homeruns. The Giants can't hit for power. This could be my Robert Novak moment, flagrantly divulging critical top-secret information, but the public has a right to know. Most of the players who do have power are deeply flawed. Pedro Feliz can hit the occasional homer, but makes far too many outs. The exact same thing can be written about Lance Niekro. Moises Alou is the only player on the team who combines above-average power with being a good hitter. Getting Barry Bonds back in the lineup would help, but unless someone develops a cream that can make it 2001 again, that's not going to be nearly enough.
Last night's game against the Dodgers was the typical Giants offensive display. Station-to-station baserunning with players who run like they are in the gravitational pull of Jupiter. Single, stop. Single, stop. Pop up, pop up, strikeout. When the Giants are lucky enough to slap a double or two, that's when they score. The Dodgers don't fare much better, though there is a difference. The players the Dodgers are running out there would make a Double-A juggernaut, and a Triple-A contender with a few tweaks. For the most part, though, they aren't major league regulars. The Dodgers front office likely recognizes this. The players the Giants have, however, will be back next year, and are in the plans for the foreseeable future. That's a problem.
Edgardo Alfonzo needs to be benched or released, and Niekro needs to ride the bench for at least another year. I can live with Pedro Feliz at third if the Giants sign Paul Konerko, or trade for someone similar. But I'm tired, tired, tired of watching this punchless team try and play 1992 baseball in 2005. One more starting pitcher, one more power threat, a relatively healthy Barry Bonds, and this team is the best in the division next year.