Is it possible to be overly optimistic about the rest of the season, but at the same time completely dread the next six months? The answer is yes. For those that base their mood off of baseball, this week has been a highly emotional roller coaster. Fresh baby faces lifted spirits while old rivals evoked white hot rage. When the dust settled, it was a losing home stand with some promising prospects of things to come.
Giants fans are all too familiar with torture. Each week in this report, we’ll break down what has worked, what hasn’t worked, and what needs fixing right now. Welcome to:
Giants Torture Report: Week Four
A couple of additions to the roster this week made an immediate impact. On Monday, the Giants called up Christian Arroyo from Triple A Sacramento. His arrival was a much welcomed shot of youthful exuberance. While he may not have helped much in his debut, his very presence seem to do wonders for the mood in the clubhouse. He quickly became a trivia question the next night against the hated Dodgers when he collected his first major league hit. The next night, he took Sergio Romo deep for his first big league home run.
His legend was cemented Friday night when he crushed a 1-0 challenge fastball over the cars in left field to break a 3-3 tie with the Padres. Arroyo passes the eyeball test, and he certainly has the bat to back it up. As an added bonus, he is also capable with the glove. It’s has been fun to watch “The Kid,” (don’t care who coined the nickname, I am using it). There’s a good chance we will be watching him for a while in the Orange and Black.
Guess Who’s Back?
Michael Morse is back in San Francisco! If that isn’t good, not much is. It was so good in fact, that in his first a bat, in his first game back, he launched a pitch out into the crowd to tie the game. Did I mention it was a pinch hit? Did I also mention it was against the hated Dodgers? Well it was and it was. More than all of that, it was beautiful and an emotional shot in the arm. Watching Morse gleefully skip along the base paths was a sight the war-weary bench needed. It gave them back something that has been lost in all of the early season injuries and lack of offensive production. It gave them hope. Hope they can hopefully carry with them as the calendar turns in a couple of days.
In a word, inconsistency. Bruce Bochy just can not roll out the same lineup card every night. Even if he could, there is just to much variance in his players from game to game. Heck, there’s too variance much from at-bat to at-bat. The only real consistency was the lose a game, win a game pattern that emerged this week. Span and Crawford have been unavailable and Bumgarner is still out for some time. It’s proven difficult to keep reshuffling the deck. The rocky start to the season seems to have made everyone uncomfortable.
What makes it worse is the fact that the amazing plays that are being made, are being overshadowed by the horrific looking ones that aren’t. Those majestic home run shots off the bats of Arroyo and Morse, are drowning in the Gorkys Hernandez strike outs, or the hard hit balls to second by Eduardo Núñez. All this stuff adds up and can outshine any bright spot trying to emerge.
Momentum is a fickle thing. Even the most dominant of teams have a hard time rebounding from a big inning. In the four losses the Giants suffered this week, big innings played a part in all of them. On Sunday, the Rockies threw a five spot on the board in the sixth en route to an 8-0 victory. The hated Dodgers got the only two runs they needed to win Tuesday’s game in the fourth. On Thursday, they dismantled Steven Okert scoring four in the tenth to break a 1-1 tie.
Last night, the bullpen (making their second appearance in this section), suffered a complete meltdown. Matt Cain handed the ball off with a 3-1 lead after five. The very next inning, the combination of Chris Stratton and Neil Ramirez got lit up. Stratton got tagged for five runs while Ramirez surrendered another three. While he managed to finally end the inning, he came back to the mound to start the seventh, where he allowed three more runs to cross the plate. Very hard to win games when the guys tasked with holding a lead can’t get it done.
No time to lick wounds though. The new week begins with day baseball to close out the series with the Padres. Then, a trip south to start a new battle with the hated Dodgers.
Stat of the week: A total of 13 runs were scored in potential shutdown innings.