This is a bad team. Also, water is wet and fire is hot. Those secrets were never really in the bag. But this is the most boring team ever assembled. That's the worst transgression of the 2007 San Francisco Giants. Think about how hard that was to do - the team was spotted the best pitching prospect in baseball and a legend chasing a record, and it's still the least-watchable team of all-time. Endless stretches of non-offense. Forty-pitch innings after twenty-five-pitch innings after thirty-pitch innings after thirty-pitch innings. Welcome to Purgatory.
Even during the good starts from guys like Zito, Lowry, and Cain, they usually nibble or lose command for extended stretches. Matt Morris has had a fine season, but he's only had one start (against the A's) that was more interesting than a city council meeting. The bullpen isn't filled with dominating electric arms, it's filled with sometimes-effective, candlelit arms. All of the pitchers throw kinda hard, they all have imperfect control, and they all lack an overpowering strikeout pitch. It's been a decent bullpen, don't get me wrong. Just boring.
Picture someone being buried alive. Imagine that person's plan for survival is to swallow every shovelful of dirt until the person doing the shoveling runs out of dirt. That's what it's like to watch Omar Vizquel, Rich Aurilia, Ray Durham, Pedro Feliz and Dave Roberts hit. Every once in a while, one of those four will do something that resembles anything, and that's like a big, satisfying swallow of dirt. Heck, maybe half of a shovelful's worth. That'll buy some time. Good for them. But the advantage will never be theirs. And it's kind of tedious.
If that image is hard to imagine, try replacing the word "dirt" with "suck". So, like, they're just in a hole, having suck shoveled upon them as they try and swallow the suck, but that just makes them suck more! What to do? There's no time to talk about this, dammit, just keep swallowing the suck! So they're swallowing the suck, trying to chew up the suck as fast as they can, and suck is dribbling down their chins, suck is in their eyes and hair, and they look skyward to plea for help, but that's just a waste of time they don't have - they have to keep chewing the suck, swallowing the suck, and then going back for more. That's their only chance!
Sounds tense, doesn't it? It's not. It's boring.
Sucking is inevitable. But there's no upside to the hitters who are sucking. If Fred Lewis rakes a double in the middle of a slump, that's great. Maybe it's indicative of something larger - some sort of visible development that will carry over into the future. If Rich Aurilia rakes a double in the middle of a slump, it doesn't mean anything. Even a blind squirrel, and all that. My plan for making the team more interesting:
- Lewis starts everyday after the trade deadline. Roberts and Winn lose playing time.
- Nate Schierholtz is called up, and he becomes the fourth outfielder. Roberts and Winn lose playing time.
- Brian Horwitz takes over for Ryan Klesko after Klesko is traded. I know that is going to be an offensive downgrade, and I know Horwitz isn't ever going to have the bat for first, but he'd be interesting to watch. Good is out of reach. Interesting has a chance. Klesko's wild, powerless swings were fun to watch for about a month.
- Kevin Frandsen plays every day. He hasn't shown anything at the major league level, but if there's a 20% chance he'll improve, it ain't going to happen while he sits on the bench.
- Pedro Feliz goes away. Great game last night, Pedro. Now go away.
And thank you, Tim Lincecum. Thank you for being the copy of National Geographic in the dentist's waiting room. It means a lot.
Comment starter: What would make this team more interesting to you?