As has been written here and spoken of many other places, the Giants are facing a lot of tough, tough pitching since the All-Star break. But nevertheless, it is very tough to watch them at the plate.
In 29 games since the Break, the Giants have been held to one, single run 10 times. Unsurprisingly, they have a record of 1-9 in those games. Six other times they have scored either two or three runs, and they are 2-4 in those games. They've only won two of the last nine series they've played.
I'll not wish for a better baseball team, because that's not going to happen. But what I wish for, at least, is a more exciting baseball team. Shouldn't really matter, but I'm thinking this is one of the most bland group of dudes I've ever seen in orange and black. 'Course, that could be the .431 winning percentage talking, there.
- Bullpen. It continues to be very good, and could even be better -- if a superfluous player or two is given his walking papers after the season ends...or even now. Who are those players? One is the ever present, ever-mediocre Jason Christiansen. I don't think he'll be back next year, but can't be totally certain -- he shouldn't have been around this long. Of course, Joe Morgan would think Christiansen should be re-signed, since he's 6-1 this year and Morgan only looks at wins/losses, not any other stats.
- The other? Jeff Fassero. He's been oh, so useful on this team, and I'm pretty sure he'll be able to play another year for another team doing the same kinds of things he did this year: long relief, spot start, mop up...whatever the team needs. On the flip side, though, he's 42 years old, and when he loses it for good, he'd better not be on the Giants. You got more out of him than other teams have in the last few years, Brian Sabean, but now it's time to cut bait and let him go.
Who would I like to see in their place? Jack Taschner. Let's get another guy in there who can miss bats and strike some guys out. Save a spot for Brad Hennessey as well -- by the time this year is over and he's shown that starting isn't likely to be his thing, he can migrate into the role Fassero occupied.
It's going to be interesting watching Armando Benitez come back and...well, pitch. I think it's pretty obvious at this point he was a waste of money on two different counts: 1) the Giants are a bad team, and bad teams don't really need seven-million-dollar-per-year closers, and 2) the bullpen has become good without him. It's not that Benitez can't come back and be as good as he has been -- if that happens, yes, the bullpen will be a little bit better, but Sabean has to now realize the smartest move would've been to re-sign Dustin Hermanson for the same two million the White Sox signed him for and use that extra five million dollars per year to shore up the other weaknesses on the team.
But perhaps not -- it's obvious that Sabes doesn't mind spending many millions on the bullpen. With Benitez and LaTroy Hawkins, and Scott Eyre likely cashing in to some degree over the winter, it's looking like the Giants will have somewhere around 15 million dollars of their payroll tied up in three relief pitchers -- or, about 1/6th of the team's current payroll for a bit less than 1/8th of the total players.
Doesn't that sound like odd figures for relief pitching? Doesn't that sound like...too much? For comparison's sake, 15 million is about the same amount that the St. Louis Cardinals pay for the services of Albert Pujols and Reggie Sanders. Three relief pitchers are worth more than Phat Albert and a decent corner outfielder?
Color me skeptical.