All part of a well-orchestrated plan, you see.
There may have been a few of you who came by here after the Giants won their 4th and 5th games in a row recently, looking to see if I had anything to say about the team. After all, in winning the third game of the series against the Padres the Giants had not only won that series and catapulted themselves into 1st place in the NL West, but the five wins in a row qualified as their best winning streak all year, the first time they had won more than three in a row at any point this season.
Yes, well, I had a few things to say, and most of them complimentary, too, only I have been working some extra hours lately, have been messing with my new Dell computer, and had a wedding to help with and attend.
And, to be quite honest, I wasn't convinced the team had turned some magic corner.
A sweep against the Padres might have done it, but even after Armando Benitez added his unmistakable nine-million-dollars-per-year touch to that series and put the kibosh on the sweep, I still would've been counted amongst the believers with a series win against the Nationals.
I believe, alright -- in the power of gravity, and in the fact that the Giants are the moon, and .500 is the Earth.
Benitez, of course, was front and center again this time, ending all hope of winning this series with another blown save. Now, if you saw the game, you could be one of those who want to throw Ray Durham in the fire along with Benitez, as Durham wasn't able to make a play on a grounder that could possibly have resulted in an inning-ending double play. That's fine, but the leadoff walk and single given up by Benitez had just a bit more to do with it...plus, Durham's been carrying the team offensively lately.
Benitez? He's just been offensive. I'm so tired of him, even if he looked like this I wouldn't want to see him on the mound.
(That's a bald-faced lie. If Armando Benitez really looked like Elsa Benitez...nevermind. That'd just be freaky, come to think of it.)
I admire the Giants in their quest to get their money's worth out of Benitez, but enough is enough. A 1.65 WHIP is enough. A 68% save conversion rate is enough (and we all know it could've been worse). His pedestrian 1.31 k/bb ratio is enough. His lowest-in-his-career 6.92 k/9 rate is enough. His highest-in-career .816 OPS against is enough.
Enough. This isn't the pitcher you signed, and he's pitching the worst he's ever had in his career since 1995 -- that is, unless you compare his first injury-filled season with the Giants in 2005, that is, which was almost as bad.
Enough. He's bringing down the team, and no spin you can put on it makes it better for his teammates or the fans of the franchise. His velocity and break on his pitches is back...so what? He stinks. Whether he'll continue to stink like this the rest of his career is up for debate, but the Giants cannot afford to find that out. Since they've shipped off Jeremy Accardo for Shea Hillenbland, they've got two options for closer: Kevin Correia and Jonathan Sanchez. Personally, Correia gets my vote because he seems to have much better control this year than in previous seasons.
In any case, although I haven't a clue as to what they could do with Benitez, if they are serious about trying to keep this team in the race, it's time for some good ol' addition-by-subtraction. He's fleeced you and the team, Brian Sabean, and now it's time to cut bait. I think we all want off of the roller coaster.