Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Getting Healthy

I type out that title, and realize that Mike Matheny still has a bit of recovery time before he comes back from his concussion, but the title is team-themed...and of course, Matheny's a team kind of guy.


Moises Alou is back, but I'm wondering a bit if this will be a good thing in the short term. Now, work with me -- Alou's batting line is nothing to sneeze at (but bless you anyway, my child, bless you), however, I can't help but thinking this might not be a good thing right away.

The report has him at 90%, with swelling still in the ankle, and Alou himself admitting he'll have trouble moving in the outfield. That makes me worry more than usual about Alou's defense in right field (although I know he hustles his ass off out there), and given the long layoff from hitting, I can't help but think he won't just pick up where he left off (.378/.436/.671).

The Giants are 16-12 since Alou went out, and are facing an easier portion of the schedule at the moment -- their next six games are all at home vs. the Marlins and the Pirates, the two worst teams in the National League. While I want him back, too, might this not be a time to rest him just a little bit more and get him fully healthy? Why not bring him back in five games, where he can maybe have a tune up game vs. the Pirates and be ready to go in the important series vs. the Diamondbacks?

Well, far be it from me to 3rd and 4th guess on top of my second-guessing. Has anyone noticed Barry Bonds' movement in left? Although I still shudder when he has to go full speed, he doesn't seem to show ill effects after every hard run anymore, and was even a bit nifty the other day getting to his feet after charging hard after a ball hit down the left field line. I mean, yeah, he hit #716 last night, and it was an absolute blast, but I'm saying...the movement in the outfield is neat. At least he's less of a detriment out there than he was.

Oh, and how could I forget? Tim Worrell is almost back, too, and...

...alright, this one I'm a little more certain of. I doubt if Worrell will make the bullpen any better than it is now. There just isn't any way that Jonathan Sanchez stays here, but Worrell's numbers have been so absolutely scary this season (and almost as scary in his short time last season with the Phillies...really, go look), that I just can't really have too much confidence in him.

There isn't anything in Worrell's previous years pitching that doesn't point to a decent pitcher, but the one stat that keeps getting overlooked is age...he's about to turn 39, and those numbers do mean something sooner or later. I'd rather the Giants not throw another 20 innings on Worrell finding that out, a la Jason Christiansen, Matt Herges, and Jeff Fassero.

As far as last night's game, which the Giants won 14-2:

  • With the Bonds home run and the big offensive days from Lance Niekro and Randy Winn, it might go overlooked that Todd Greene is still raking -- he had two hits and was robbed of another by Marlins outfielder Reggie Abercrombie. I mean, take your time, by all means Mr. Matheny.
  • I'm done talking bad about the aforementioned Niekro and Pedro Feliz. The situation doesn't seem likely to change, because both of them have the knack of having a huge game just when it seems like they're in an inescapeable slump. They're both big-time feast or famine hitters. Feliz, however, does add some darned solid defense at 3rd base -- there isn't a guy I have more confidence in making a long throw across the diamond than him. I'd even go so far as to say Feliz is...gulp...earning his salary. There. I said it.
  • I continue to be totally amazed at the season Omar Vizquel is having. Did you know that for players who qualify for the batting title (3.1 plate appearances per game), Vizquel is the hardest guy to strike out? After he cooled off in May, I thought he'd settle into more normal production, but he messed 'round and got hot again.
  • Noah Lowry didn't look his best, but his changeup was working well enough, and he seemed to be getting a decent number of swing-throughs if not strikeouts. His strikeouts are down this year, but he's held his walks down, too, so it ain't so bad.

So today it's the reigning Pitcher of the Month, Jason Schmidt, vs. the Marlins' Josh Johnson, who's been darned good this year. Ought to be good, but I'm going to miss most or all of it while attempting to sell lots of massage chairs and Tempurpedic beds at work. If I can't watch the game, then selling about 10 of those things might mollify me a bit.

No, probably not.


obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

I guess you forgot but Worrell was lights out as the closer while Benitez was still out at the start of the season. Right about when Benitez came back, that's when his stats went loopy.

Hopefully this injury was the cause of all that misery and he will return to the way he was pitching at the start of the season. If so, then we have a pretty good bullpen with chances of it being lights out good.

Daniel said...

But if you look at last year, Martin, it's hard to figure out which is the anomaly -- the horrible numbers, or the lights out portion you're talking about. I mean, Worrell was plenty good in 2004 and previous years, but looking at his short time last year and this year and there's a lot more horrible pitcher there than anything else.

I do hold out a bit of hope, but not much. Age is very hard to escape.