Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th

It is the 4th of July, and today shall mark the 4th game in the Giants current winning streak, which will be the first four game winning streak of the year for San Francisco.

Yes, feel the symmetry. Feel it. Live it. Be it.

And speaking of symmetry, the stars seem to be aligning for Ray Durham, who has had a hot power bat lately -- slugging .643 in his last seven games, and hitting some very important, multiple-run shots in the mix. The only thing missing from this being one of Sugarman's most productive season is some points on his batting average, and as long as you believe Ray-Ray's historical averages will find a way to right themselves, it's easy to see he's about 20-40 points below what his batting average usually sits at.

And whether or not you believe his scorching-hot hitting will continue against left-handed pitching or not (.364/.444/673, but only 55 at-bats), his hitting against righties is starting to come around a bit -- .685 OPS currently.

And I must mention Pedro Feliz as well, who is on pace for career highs in plate appearances and home runs. The Giants just won't take the guy out of the lineup, so unless injury or an extended slump happens, I don't see why those things wouldn't come to pass. I've backed off my normal trade-Pedro rhetoric for a while now, because: 1) it ain't gonna happen unless there's just an incredibly sweet trade offer for him...and I don't know what would constitute an incredibly sweet trade offer for Brian Sabean (hint, Sabes -- it would involve Miguel Cabrera), and 2) for the salary, he's a productive player when you add his defense into the mix (which, coincidentally, has faltered just a bit lately).

No, Feliz isn't Scott Rolen, and he still isn't quite as productive as I'd want my 3rd baseman, but the fact is that he's earning his salary (unlike quite a few Giants) and he can be counted on to smack around a bunch of cripple breaking balls and 0-2 fastballs (I've seen him hit two home runs on fastballs thrown around the plate in 0-2 counts, including one last night, and I've yet to figure out what on God's Green Earth would make a battery throw Feliz a fastball in an 0-2 count).

And, finally, we come to two pitchers passing each other in the night -- Matt Morris and Jamey Wright. Morris had a month of June where he had better than a 3:1 k/bb ratio and a 2.19 ERA, allowing less than a hit per inning pitched (1.19 WHIP) compiling a 3-1 record in the process.

Wright had a month of June where his k/bb ratio was almost 1:1, carried a 5.79 ERA, and had a WHIP of 1.58 in compiling an 0-3 record.

Now, there isn't really a problem with Wright at this moment, to me -- I just see this as being the pitcher that he is, which isn't a very good one. He's only making 500k, so to expect anything more than this over the long haul isn't very realistic. He's a fifth starter in ability, and he's pitching like a fifth starter.

The question becomes, if this continues, when do you make a change? The obvious change would be to turn back to Brad Hennessey, who has pitched well this year...but is also fifth starter material. Both Wright and Hennessey have had quality starts in exactly half their opportunities this year (3 of 6 starts for Hennessey and 8 of 16 starts for Wright), but the main difference from there is that Hennessey has avoided the disastrous start and has pitched well out of relief to pad those numbers.

I don't think a change needs to be made at this moment, but they ought to watch Wright closely going into and coming out of the All-Star break. Another two or three poor starts might do it.

Tonight, let there be fireworks not only from pyrotechnics, but from the bats of the Giants offense!

...aw, heck, I'll just settle for the win and the four-game winning streak.

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