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Seinfeld reference quota: Fulfilled

Four games with the Padres and - surprise! - the Giants played .500 ball. This team is like the Seinfeld episode where Jerry throws a $20 bill out of the window, and then finds a $20 bill in his jacket. No, wait. They're like a hamster thinking it's pedaling its exercise wheel in an attempt to reach a destination, but in reality they're just going around in circles. No, wait. They're like a team with good points and bad points, and these points cancel each other out to leave an average team.

No, wait. They're more like the hamster.

The Good:

  • Matt Morris is now pitching like the pitcher described in the December press releases, and the cumulative stats are now about where I expected them to be when I rubber stamped his contract in my mind. His walk numbers before this year seemed to indicate a pitcher who could throw 17 pitches down the middle of the plate if he needed to. That's still not the case, as he's still liable to walk opposing pitchers and leadoff hitters. But you can't complain about the recent trend (2.19 ERA in June, with a 28/9 K/BB in 37 innings), and you can't complain about the 4.12 ERA. It isn't a $9M ERA, but he's contributing to the team's success.
  • After coughing up his favorite vega-tables all over the mound on Saturday, Brian Wilson was given another chance immediately. I loved that, and it was very unorthodox for any manager to do when a young pitcher is concerned. Young pitcher comes into tight game, young pitcher has a mental meltdown in the tight game, young pitcher is banished to the back of the bullpen to guard the wax sculpture of Terry Mulholland. That's how it works in this league.

    For as much guff as Felipe gets, and deserves, for his ouija board bullpen management, that was a perfect place to put Wilson in. It was a tight spot, but the Giants still had the four-run lead. The rest of the bullpen had been worked hard. If you can't trust a pitcher in that situation, you can't have him on the roster.

The Bad:
  • Ah, but Felipe doesn't get a free pass. In the first game of Saturday's double header, Brian Wilson came in to start the seventh inning. He walked the bases loaded. Felipe left him in, holding to the argument he preferred the matchup of Wilson/Adrian Gonzalez to the potential matchup of Kline/Mike Piazza. And, all things being equal, I completely agree with him. Unfortunately, all things were not equal. A pitcher who can not throw strikes should be forcibly removed with the bases loaded in a close game.

    It cost the Giants the game, at least in theory. The next day, Kline came into a game and soiled the carpet, so there was no guarantee he would have retired the hitter on Saturday. He isn't exactly Billy Wagner in his prime. Still, you had to assume Wilson was going to be trying to throw pitches right down the middle if he fell behind Gonzalez at all, which isn't exactly what you're looking for with the bases loaded.

  • Jamey Wright is passing Matt Morris on the Escalator of Metaphor, and reverting back to the pitcher left on top of the garbage like a delicious uneaten éclair. It isn't panic time. He's still chock-full of 5th-starter goodness, and the price is right. It just seems as if the fast start lead to some unrealistic expectations. I personally fought those unrealistic expectations until I couldn't hold out any longer, and then embraced the new, improved Jamey Wright. At which point, he began to stink. So I apologize. My bad.
The Ugly:
  • Randy Johnson.
All told, the last two wins did a heck of a lot to salvage team morale at the beginning of the longest road trip of the season. Getting swept wasn't an option. A split isn't worthy of a sonnet, but as Bobby McFerrin says: take it, shut up, and be happy.