Monday, March 17, 2008

Giants 2, Angels 5, March 16th

There really isn't much to say about yesterday's game........except this: Is there any way on earth we can find a pitching coach who can design a warm up routine so that the Giants' starting pitchers can come out of the pen throwing well immediately, instead of righting the ship in the 2nd inning after giving up runs in the 1st? That problem and wildness have been Giants trademarks for YEARS now. It hasn't been just this spring.

I didn't take either a scorebook or my camera to yesterday's game. The weatherman predicted showers all day, and a wet camera and scorebook are not my list of favorite things. Of course the weatherman was 99% wrong since we saw only a couple of drops of rain all day long. At any rate it was an easy game to review, even without my usual aides.

Matt Cain threw a beautiful game, except for the 1st inning where he spotted the Angels 5 runs. Only 4 of the runs were earned, thanks to a groundball that Ray Durham booted. Cain had a couple of chances to get out of the first with much less damage. First there was Ray-Ray's boot, which was a probable DP ball. Then Matt himself picked a runner off of 1B and correctly ran right at the runner. But, apparently Matt didn't trust his teammates to tell him about what was happening with the runner on 3B (as he should have) and he kept looking over his shoulder, instead of concentrating on the runner trying to get back to 1B. By the time he decided the runner wasn't going from 3B, Matt's toss to Rich Aurilia was too late and everyone was safe.

Lack of defensive fundamentals are killing this team and it isn't just the normal defensive players. The pitchers have had more than their share of problems in failing to cover 1B, failure to get off the mound to field bunts and doinks and failed pick off plays. Usually, the pitchers gaffes go unnoticed, because many times they aren't called errors. But, they hurt the ERA even more than a fielder's scored error. Since low ERA's earn you greater salaries, you would think that fact alone would be enough to motivate them to work on their defense.

After the first, Cain was excellent, becoming the first Giants pitcher to go 6 full innings and allowing no more runs on only 4 more hits. And actually, it should have been only 3 more hits. On one of the "hits" Durham struck again as he booted a groundball that was somehow ruled a hit by the official scorekeeper. This one was probably an easier play than the one that was ruled an error. It was hit harder, but Ray barely had to move. The official scorekeeper at Scottsdale Stadium apparently believes that if a 12 year old Little Leaguer would have a hard time making the play.....then it is not an error. At any rate, this one didn't affect the scoring. Matt didn't bring his strikeout stuff to the park as he only had 2 K's through 6 innings.....but then again, he only walked 1 and I will take that tradeoff any day. I HATE free passes.

The relief staff continued the string of scoreless innings as Bartolome Fortunato walked 1 and struck out 1, Tyler Walker walked 1 and struck out 2 and Brian Wilson gave up the only hit by a reliever (a single) but walked no one and also had a strikeout. When I first saw Fortunato in practice, I had no idea who he was. But as the spring has played on, he has inserted himself into the bullpen picture and is sporting a 1.35 spring ERA. Fortunato is trying to make those last couple of bullpen decisions a little harder on the Giants' coaching staff.

There wasn't much to comment on in the offensive department.......because the Giants had no offense to speak of. The Giants only had 5 hits on the day.....all of them singles. In fact, Matt Cain had the first Giants hit of the day (bringing his average up to .400). Luckily the Giants bunched 3 of their singles together in the 7th and Rich Aurilia had an RBI on a groundout and Nate Schierholtz had an RBI single.

The first inning and poor defense continue to kill the Giants. This would have been a good game if the Giants pitching and defense had played as well in the 1st as they did in the next 8 innings. You just aren't going to win too many games when you give up 5 runs in the first.

Well, the Giants have Tuesday off and I am going to skip the 4 hour round trip drive to Tucson today, so I have a 2 day break from baseball. It has been 20 straight days at the ballpark for practices or games and I let a number of things slip that I need to take care off over the next 2 days. I will be back at it on Wednesday for a night game against the Cubs at Scottsdale Stadium.


James said...

Having attended several ST games and watching the couple that have been on T.V. yeah the defense has been a little bit unsettling. However, i must say that i am totally excited to see Bocock defensively at short. He is amazing with the glove and does all the little things right. I like how he really snaps his glove down quickly on stolen base attempts to get that tag, and his footwork on flipping a pair is sweet. offensively, for pride purposes i hope he stays above the Mendoza line because most of the time he just looks lost up there.

Giantfan9 said...

As I have said many times, I love the way Bocock plays SS. He makes all the plays look easy. Plus he has a cannon for an arm. He will be a MORE than able replacement for Omar.....but he has to hit .240-250 at a minimum. Not sure he can manage that quite yet.

I would rather the Giants make do until Omar returns (if Omar is on schedule) and Bocock starts at AA to work on his hitting. If Omar is going to be out more than a week or 2........Bocock has to be the Major League SS.

But I gotta tell you......the defense has been more than "a little bit unsettling" to me. LAst I heard, they lead the Majors in errors this spring and that's with an official scorekeeper who calls some pretty cheap "hits".

Mr Lomez said...

Speaking of Bocock, I'm trying to get a read on how big this kid is. I've seen him listed anywhere from 5'10 160 to 6'1" 190. What's the 1st hand story there. And, as an aside, does he look to be the kind of body-type that will fill-out substantially or are we looking at a career contact hitter?

Thanks, love the blog! You're doing all us a Giants fan a big favor.

allfrank said...

Thanks for the comments on Fortunato. That BB was the first he's given up in 6 2/3 innings this Spring and his 1.35 ERA and 1.35 WHIP look pretty good, too. He's given up a lot of hits (8) but he has to be in the running for one of the four open bull pen slots. What do you think, GF9, between he and Yabu, the other NRI? Since they're both still there and have gotten a few innings (11.2 for Yabu, 6.2 for Fortunato), it seems like the team is taking a look. Threets, on the other hand, only has 4.2 innings. Not promising.

Jefferson said...

I just wanted to say I completely agree with your point about 1st-inning pitching problems. So many things make me wonder if Righetti is overrated, including that.

RichH said...

Bocock is not big, 5'11"-6' and around 185. He put on 15 lbs last year working with weights and is not a long ball hitter but more of a line drive hitter. I was at the game on Saturday and he knocked Betancourt back with a line shot that unfortunately was right at him.

Anonymous said...

Threets has to be given a shot over Fortunato and especially Yabu, seeing as he has no options and there's a good chance he doesn't pass thru waivers.