Friday, April 23, 2010

The Intricacies of the Giants’ offense (for lack of a better word)

Intricacy (noun)

1. Complexity – the character of something that has many aspects or parts arranged together in a particularly complex or artful way

2. Element of complex thing – one of the parts or details making up a complex and often puzzling whole.
I’ll take the second definition on account of the word puzzling, versus the first with the word artful. The Giants’ offense is about as artful as a made for TV B-rated movie on the Sci-Fi channel.

There are many ways to look at the failure of the Giants to find a way to win the last 3 days. One way that I would not choose to look at it would be to mention that Jonathan Sanchez failed to advance a slow catcher to third base on a sacrifice bunt and allowed Chase Headley to steal 3 bases off of him (1 of which resulted in the only run of the game).

I can’t imagine why anyone would mention that after watching last nights ballgame. After last night and through 3 starts – averaging 12.57 K’s per 9 IP – Jonathan Sanchez trails only Dan Haren in the Major Leagues with strikeouts. He’s mixing his pitches well with a nasty breaking ball and a splitter-changeup (much like Lincecum’s) – imagine the possibilities folks – and he incorporated a tiny hitch/ hesitation in his motion that’s allowing that lazy free long left arm of his catch up to his body and helping him repeat his delivery. When the Giants called the Marlins each time this offseason on Uggla, they simply said Sanchez, Sanchez, and Sanchez again. Sabean smartly said no, no and NO (again)! To discuss some of the things he must refine to get to the next level is silly. Tim Lincecum couldn’t hold runners on to save his life his first two full seasons, and I’m pretty sure two Cy Young’s later that was the least of our concerns. Lincecum has worked on it and in time so will Sanchez. Such things come with time and experience and should be completely tabled presently. Great pitchers are often afflicted with holding runners. You could swear that some players flat out didn’t even care about the runner. Rob Nen comes to mind. Bengie Molina could run at will on Nen. But guess what? Nen just knew he would simply strike out the batter at the plate, and thus the runner wasn’t but an afterthought. And as far as the bunting goes, it probably wouldn’t have mattered had he gotten Whiteside over, anyway. Not when not only can the lineup get a measly hit with RISP (runners in scoring position), but they can’t even hit a deep enough fly ball or in some cases even put the ball in play to get the run home. Plus, you try and bunt a 96 mph fastball off of a tall right hander with tremendous tilt. Not easy, not fun.

They scored a ton of runs versus some weak pitching early on, and that was the result of many of their runs. Consider this: Over the last three games, the Giants are 1-25 with RISP. That’s bad, right? Well, the Giants’ opponents are 0-11. The Giants’ pitching is doing way more than the can hope to sustain. They’ve allowed few base runners and have not given up a single hit with a runner in scoring position. The difference is that their opponents have found ways to win by hitting a big HR (Eck and Manny) and converting on sac-fly situations. The Giants have had more than twice the opportunities offensively and just haven’t gotten it done.
The Giants’ lack of speed and athleticism is also starting to get the better of them. There’s been at least a couple of balls this season where Renteria couldn’t range more than what seemed like a few steps to balls hit to his left and right. His lack of range is startling. A shortstop should be either providing great defense, or hitting more than his share to make up for it. Renteria is doing neither. He started off 11-16 but since has gone 5-38 with 10 strikeouts. If anything, though, the Giants have played above their ability defensively. They have made the routine plays for the most part and that’s all we can hope for from them.
Giants fans are quickly going to have to realize that little has changed in terms of last years offense versus this year. The pitching has a chance of actually being better, which is remarkable. It’s more than likely going to be another infuriating year. Watching them play with such brilliant pitching and stark ineptitude offensively can sometimes feel like the ups and downs of a co-dependant relationship, enough to madden even the sanest of Bay Area citizens.

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