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In 2006, Steve Finley something something....

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The Giants bullpen and Reds bullpen had part one of their showdown last night. Like a couple of hobos stripping their clothes off in a competition to find the biggest chigger, the winner would really lose, but still be able to take some sort of pride in the results. The Giants held up just fine. Four earned runs in four innings. Nicely done. The Reds bullpen...didn't allow a run. That wasn't part of the deal, Cincinnati. That wasn't part of the deal!

There were so many things last night worthy of scorn: Ray Durham's on-field impression of Kevin Buckman, the continuing control problems of Giant pitchers at the worst possible times, and the lack of production from any of Brian Sabean's mid-season acquisitions. But I have to dig out some vintage reserve scorn for this one, working my way past some serious cobwebs to go deep down into the scorn cellar. Steve Finley started last night against a left-handed pitcher. The old, creaky, left-handed and struggling Steve Finley. If it weren't for my horse....

Let us count the ways this gives me intestinal problems.

  1. Steve Finley is hitting .208 in August. A robust .208/.276/.321. He's really struggling out there. The goal should not be to find at-bats for him by any means necessary.
  2. Finley, even when hitting well, has had platoon issues. For his career, he's a .255/.311/.400 hitter against lefties. Now that he's at retirement's door, it hasn't improved. He's hitting .238/.293/.333 this year against left-handed pitching. That kind of hitting gets backup shortstops released, but forces outfielders in the lineup?
  3. Felipe Alou has made some favorable comments toward Todd Linden recently. But even before those comments he had mentioned Linden was already a good hitter from the right side of the plate, and that maybe Linden would want to abandon switch-hitting to exclusively bat from the right side.
  4. Finley hasn't hit well since April. Seriously. Stop treating him as some sort of gift from the gods; a great outfielder who would start for any team in the league, but is forced to make do with a pseudo-starting role.
  5. Linden has hit well in his limited at-bats. What more can he do?
I don't know if Alou doesn't want to deal with an angry Finley, or if Alou just doesn't care, but the lineup of ignorance put the Giants in a tough spot. With two outs in the sixth inning, with two runners in scoring position, Finley went up and waved at a few breaking balls. There was no joy in Mudville. Finley finished the night 0-3 with a walk. Would Linden have come through? The odds of reaching base have always been against just about every hitter in the history of baseball, so discussing this in terms of certitude doesn't help anything. But the odds were better for Linden. Much, much better. In 2006, Steve Finley is one of the league's worst hitters when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound.

Part epitaph for the 2006 season, part ready-to-chant protest slogan, and part Cliff's Notes, those 20 words say more than the previous 500. In 2006, Steve Finley is one of the league's worst hitters when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. In 2006, Steve Finley is one of the league's worst hitters when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. In 2006, Steve Finley is one of the league's worst hitters when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. In 2006, Steve Finley is one of the league's worst hitters when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. In 2006, Steve Finley is one of the league's worst hitters when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. In 2006, Steve Finley is one of the league's worst hitters when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound.

Hey, Felipe: In 2006, Steve Finley is one of the league's worst hitters when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. In 2006, Steve Finley is one of the league's worst hitters when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. In 2006, Steve Finley is one of the league's worst hitters when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. In 2006, Steve Finley is one of the league's worst hitters when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. In 2006, Steve Finley is one of the league's worst hitters when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound.

Dear Sabean: In 2006, Steve Finley is one of the league's worst hitters when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. In 2006, Steve Finley is one of the league's worst hitters when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. In 2006, Steve Finley is one of the league's worst hitters when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. In 2006, Steve Finley is one of the league's worst hitters when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. In 2006, Steve Finley is one of the league's worst hitters when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound.

Also, in 2006, Steve Finley is one of the league's worst hitters when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. Please adjust your strategies accordingly.