The Cardinals stumbled a little bit this month. Now they're four games back. Pittsburgh went through a horrific losing streak. They entered today 10.5 games back. When teams play this poorly, there should be consequences. The Giants aren't just sniffing around, sorta kinda in the hunt. They're actually within spitting distance of first place. Tied for first, as I write this. That's embarrassing. This team doesn't deserve nice things.
Remember how this season started?
Torres - CF (A lead-off guy with power. What a luxury!)
Sanchez - 2B (Nice contact hitter)
Pablo - 3B (He's back! He's gonna be good again!)
Posey - C (So good)
Huff - LF/1B (What a find!)
Belt - 1B (Probably just rookie of the year, but MVP's not out of the question)
Ross - RF (Huge power, low on-base, still good)
Tejada - SS (Maybe he can be slightly below-average with the glove, slightly above-average with the bat)
The Giants were going to be better. They had Posey for a full season. Bumgarner instead of Todd Wellemeyer. Brandon Belt was going to explode. Cody Ross wasn't as good as he was in the playoffs, of course, but he was going to be better than whatever the Giants were starting in the beginning of 2010. And Pat Burrell is a bench guy? Embarrassment of riches!
As the Giants awoke from a night of uneasy dreaming, they found themselves transformed in their bed into a gigantic pile of suck.
Torres - CF (And the clock struck midnight ...)
Keppinger - 2B (Like Sanchez, except he fields like he's wearing a snowboard)
Pablo - 3B (Just sit around and wait for him to do everything. Worked in 2009.)
Huff - 1B (He's hit more like a second baseman than a shortstop over the past week. That's a good sign.)
Ross - RF (More like Cody Lost, amirite?)
Cabrera - SS (What in the hell...)
Rowand - LF (Don't worry; he's only in here because Carlos Beltran is made of sand)
Whiteside - C (Nice guy. Hops like a *************. Good teammate.)
It's unbearable. And as much as I love Belt and think he should be in the lineup, he's not a magic talisman. Combine him with healthy Beltran, and maybe it's the start of something, but I'm not seeing how this offense is anything other than painful. Just when I thought we were out, they sucked suck back suck.
I'm through figuring out how to make the lineup better. It's like trying to build a combustion engine out of shredded cheese. Just stop.
But the pitching staff has four good starters. Really good. Great, even. That's how the team is hanging around. This is not a secret. There are four starting pitchers who are doing really well, and then there are Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez having a surrender competition in the fifth spot.
So here's an official call to call up Eric Surkamp. He probably won't be effective right away. He's never pitched above AA. But he'll throw strikes. He'll be interesting to watch. He isn't doom with a rosin bag. The Giants aren't going to hit. That chapter has already been written. But no more Sanchez. No more Zito. It might not be especially rational, but losing every series in a home stand will do that to a fella.
It'd be a lot more fun if they had started the season like this, and then roared into a first-place tie after ten straight wins. That's the reality I'll choose to believe.