Time for a little perspective. This isn’t an original thought, but it’s worth revisiting every month or so. On May 11, 2008, the Giants were 15-22, and they sent this lineup out into the world:
Fred Lewis - LF
Eugenio Velez - 2B
Randy Winn - RF
Bengie Molina - C
Aaron Rowand - CF
John Bowker - 1B
Jose Castillo - 3B
Omar Vizquel - SS
So while it’s become a bit of a pastime to wring our hands over maestro Miguel Tejada decomposing his latest masterpiece, remember that things have been worse. Far worse. That lineup was eight Miguel Tejadas. This current lineup is filled with a bunch of slumping hitters that you still hold out hope for ... and Miguel Tejada. That’s a pretty big difference.
Andres Torres is back, and that’s a big deal. Aaron Rowand is a leadoff hitter like Aaron Rowand is a $60M centerpiece, which is to say Aaron Rowand is a leadoff hitter like Eli Whiteside is a pinch-running specialist like Darren Ford. More Torres is a good thing.
Mark DeRosa is back, and that’s less of a big deal. He looked awful last night, as if the problem was that somebody buried enriched uranium under third base, and everyone who is standing near the bag is getting radiation sickness. Don’t dismiss that theory just yet -- it explains Ian Stewart too. But I’d still gamble that his bat and glove are an improvement over what Tejada can provide.
Mike Fontenot has the confidence of Bruce Bochy. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that he’s the starting shortstop even when Pablo Sandoval comes back.
So until Pablo comes back, here’s what I’m hoping the lineup will be:
Torres - CF
Sanchez - 2B
Huff - 1B
Posey - C
Burrell - LF
Fontenot - SS
DeRosa - 3B
Ross - RF
(Ross is low because I’m a little old school when it comes to my #8 hitter -- put a guy there who will go out of the strike zone rather than walk and leave the inning up to the pitcher.)
Maybe I’m still high from licking the trophy like a cane toad when it came to my town (only got probation, suckers!) but I just don’t think that lineup is so bad. Your mileage may vary, but I don’t think that Huff is ready to have dirt shoveled him just yet, I don’t think Posey has forgotten how to hit, and I’m strangely optimistic that DeRosa will perform better than the typical 36-year-old coming back from a serious wrist injury.
I’d wager that the worst hitter in that lineup right there is better than the best hitter in the above lineup from 2008.
Pause for dramatic effect.
It’s been frustrating to watch the Giants flail -- it really has. The lineup has consistently had five or six guys slumping at the same time. It’s annoying. But I’ll hold true to my preseason feeling that this isn’t a great lineup, but it’s a relatively balanced lineup that shouldn’t embarrass anyone. The Giants are second-to-last in runs scored, which is a spot they've held five of the last seven years, and their team OPS+ of 82 is closer to the bottom than it is to the league average. But this version of your wretched Giants offense feels less wretched somehow.
I just want one more lick of that trophy to make sure. Can't stop thinking about it. It's like The One Ring crossed with a Tootsie Pop. You have no idea.