Saturday, April 30, 2005

Ar ju keedink me?

Forgive me pitiful attempt at trying to type out an imitation of Tony Montana from Scarface. But really, are you kidding me?

Again, welcome back Dr. Jeckyll, a.k.a. Brett Tomko.

Well, wait a moment, these were the Pittsburgh Pirates, people, whose paltry offense possesses no potential, no power, and possibly is the poorest in talented players in professional baseball...except for my other fave team, of course, the Royals.

So, grain of salt, meet Tomko's latest start.

Grain of Salt: Hey, Brett Tomko. How's it going? You know, your last start was dominant, but it was against the Pirates.

Tomko: Where is that voice coming from?

Grain of Salt: Down here. In your french fries.

Tomko: Oh, crap. How am I going to explain THIS to the shrink?

On the other hand, what else was Tomko supposed to do? He made a start against a weaker offensive team and threw a complete game four-hitter, allowing only two runs.

And the other thing is, the Giants ended up needing him to do exactly that, as they only scored three runs themselves.

However, a win is a win, and after the Diamondbacks found themselves the victim of a 15 inning loss to the Padres yesterday...or actually, earlier today (the Dodgers won), the Giants find themselves creeping just a eensie weensie bit closer to the top of the division again. Three and a half back after Thursday, only three back after yesterday. Keep 'em within arm's reach, fellas.

Notes on notable things I noticed:
  • Remember how hot Edgardo Alfonzo was earlier this season? He may have cooled down, but Jason Ellison has heated up in his stead. Ellison went 3 for 5 yesterday at the top of the Giants order. He's beginning to amass some numbers that can't be ignored, like: 1) 1.233 OPS, 2) only 2 walks, but only 3 strikeouts in 30 at-bats, 3) four stolen bases without getting get the idea. Now, would Ellison do this over 300+ at-bats? In a word, heck-no-are-you-nuts. Would Ellison be better than Marquis Grissom over 300+ at-bats? Hm, I don't know, but I suspect it's possible, and maybe even probable. Somebody had to finally go Over that Hill for the Giants this year, and it could well be Grissom. If by mid-May Grip is still running somewhere around his current .224/.241/.342 line and Ellison is still doing a 1.000+ OPS, a change must be made, regardless of how much Grissom is being paid, and regardless of how many years he's been where and done what.
  • Omar Vizquel continues to find ways to contribute offensively, and I am no longer worried about him being a liability, unless fatigue sets in later in the season (very possible at the shortstop position). But for now? Heh, ar ju keedink me? .810 OPS, 7 steals without getting caught, more walks than strikeouts, and he's spraying the ball all over the diamond. And that part of the diamond you're thinking of now? Yeah, yeah, he's spraying it there, too.
  • Ray Durham is continuing to inch his way back to offensive respectability. Moises Alou still has a way to go, but in lieu of getting hits, he's drawing a ton of walks, averaging about a walk every four plate appearances.
  • Mike Matheny's still showing some surprising pop in the early going, with the go ahead home run in yesterday's game. He's cooled some from his hot start, but he's still slugging .446. If he were to somehow hold this offensive level the rest of the season, he'll easily be worth his salary.
  • The bullpen was great yesterday against the Pirates. What's that? The bullpen didn't have to pitcher yesterday against the Pirates? Great!

And are the Giants just neat or what? Right now they stand at 11-11 for the season, and have scored 110 runs while allowing 110 runs -- so they're scoring an average of five per game while allowing five per game. Their actual record and their Pythagorean record are exactly the same.

So cool how they decided to do that just before continuing on what will become their 11 game winning streak. Only eight more to go...


Anonymous said...

It's weird to think that right now Matheny's main advantage over Yorvit is offense, but it is. Whoda thunk it?

Ellison yesterday proved what happens if you actually bother to find a person who has the tools (ie speed) to bat leadoff. Like you I don't know that he'd be effective over an entire season, but then since he hasn't ever played that much, who knows? And if we're on the one-year plan anyway, who cares? If he has a career year and scores 100+ runs, does it matter?

Even if he were only platooned with Grissom that would be a defensive upgrade, early season errors aside. It's obviously a clear offensive upgrade.

Have a good weekend man.


Daniel said...

I wouldn't go so far as to say Matheny has an offensive advantage over Yorvit, but to this point Matheny has played close enough to equal offensively that there isn't any legit way that Felipe can/would play Torrealba any more than one or two days a week (Torry's got a tiny, tiny sample size).

The problem with platooning Ellison and Grissom is that they are both right-handed hitters, and as long as he doesn't have the jitters, Ellison clearly has more ability of defense. If Elly even plays Grip equal offensively, it's no contest -- Elly should start and Grip should be on the trading block.

The problem with that is, it'll take a while before anyone can know if Ellison is legit offensively, and if Grissom really is losing it. Even if that does prove to be the case, I'm sure it'll take the Giants management longer to react to that situation than it should simply because Grissom is the veteran fixture in CF, and he's getting paid 2 million bucks.

I'm thinking All-Star break before any definitive change would be made, and that's only if Elly remains around this productive offensively, and if Grissom keeps being mediocre. If they're anywhere close in offensive production, forget it -- Grip will get the nod 4 out of 5 times.

Odd, but Ellison/Grissom and Matheny/Torrealba are very similar situations.

Anonymous said...

Like last year, I just don't think anyone will take any of these veterans with fat paychecks off the Giants hands, at least not without a significant sweetener. I always chuckled last year when people would say "trade alfonzo! trade Grissom!". However, if Alfonzo stays hot and the Giants are out of it in July, I bet someone would want him bad enough to give up something for him, and Feliz would slide in nicely at 3B where he should have been last year.

You're right about the similarities- it's interesting that the Giants have had multiple Plans B to avoid trying Feliz or Torrealba full-time, but they don't have any backup plan whatsoever for people who come into the year injured (Nen, Bonds).

I agree with the platoon problem, but if Ellison is better against righty pitching than Grissom (which wouldn't take much) it still works, notwithstanding not picking up the lefty-righty thing.