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Scapegoats: Nature's President

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This was supposed to be a column about simple pleasures. How, in the middle of a 90-loss season, there are still games that help you remember why you care about baseball in the first place. This was supposed to be an Open Waxing Rhapsodic Thread, where I asked if Lincecum was going to start winding down around win 300 like that weenie Glavine, or if he was more of a 400-win kind of guy.

And that went away like this: Hard-hit ball, well-struck ball that found a hole, well-struck ball that found a hole. Lincecum out. Inexcusable walk, weak chopper for a hit, sacrifice bunt. Hennessey out. Strikeout, weak Kendall special for a hit, fly out. Fin.

Who do you blame for a loss like that? Lincecum was getting his fastball up in the ninth, but the Cubs weren't exactly spraying bullets all over the park. A couple of feet either way, and either of the last two hitters Lincecum faced could have hit into double plays. Hennessey's walk to Ramirez wasn't a good thing, but the hit that gave the Cubs the lead was a 34-hopper through a drawn-in infield. It was an inning where things just went the Cubs' way.

So I blame the Giants' offense. If the Giants roll into the ninth with a 4-0 lead, maybe Lincecum doesn't need to be perfect. Maybe Bochy would allow him to work his way through that jam in the ninth.

Specifically, I blame Ray Durham.

It's a stretch to blame that entire debacle on one individual, but he'll do for now. I thought this was going to be a unique viewpoint. Then I wake up, and find that a diary was started featuring the same sentiment. I'm not unique. There's a groundswell of unsupport.

One of the more publicized elements to the Kevin Towers/Bruce Bochy falling out involved Vinny Castilla. Castilla was awful. Bochy kept playing him. Towers would say, hey, did you ever think about, you know, not playing him? And Bochy said something like, if you don't want me to use him, why in the hell is he on the roster? So Towers released Castilla. It's kind of like a bedtime story, no? After the last sentence, you tuck in your kid and smile, and your kid wishes this were the kind of world where fairy tales like that could really come true.

There's a slim chance that Ray Durham isn't done. He's been amazingly consistent over his career, and this is his first truly awful year. A rich team with a hole at second would do well to gamble on him for next season if the Giants kick in some cash. For the rest of this season, though, he just needs to be disappeared. Play Frandsen. Try Ortmeier at second. Acquire Julio Franco, and put him back at second. At least there's an upside there. Do anything other than continue to play Durham, please.

Otherwise, Bochy's just going to keep playing him. If that's the situation, if this is another Vinny Castilla line in the sand, Durham should be released. It isn't a smart baseball move - if you're going to pay the guy $7M regardless of what capacity he's in, you might as well keep him as a utility guy - but Bochy isn't giving the organization much choice. Durham needs to sit, or Durham needs to go. If the offense is going to be truly awful, it needs to be truly awful with young players with a chance to learn something. That isn't a unique sentiment, just the only option that makes any kind of sense to the rest of us non-Bochys.