Thursday, July 31, 2014

San Francisco Giants: July Slipped Through Like Dan Uggla Fielded It

Somehow not fielded cleanly.
Would it be possible for the San Francisco Giants to play all of their games on the road for the rest of the season? While for some clubs this might be seen as a disadvantage, for these guys the disadvantage is playing at home. On the road, Madison Bumgarner is 8-2 with an ERA under two, at home he's 4-6 with an ERA of 5.60. The Giants have a worse home record (29-30) than the 46-59 Padres (who are 29-20), yet the men of Orange and Black are closing in on 60 wins and would be in the playoffs should the season screech to a halt today.

Of course, a team that started so hot (21 games over .500, 42-21, on June 8th, I'll mention yet again) can stumble a long way before they fall flat on their face, and I keep waiting for the final shoe to drop. Having the worst record in the majors from June 8th to the All-Star break (over a month) is one thing, Dan Uggla looking like his hands are made of cement over the weekend is another. Lacking a second baseman who could hit, the Giants signed Uggla a week or so ago and assigned him to the minors, but brought him up when Marco Scutaro went back on the disabled list after being “active” (I use the word very loosely) for a week. This is the same Dan Uggla who the Atlanta Braves flat released despite owing him 13 million dollars next year. Yep, the Braves decided to eat the contract and not even have Uggla on the roster at all. That's a lot of eating. Looking for any sort of offense, the Giants started him all three games against the Los Angeles Dodgers... and Uggla went 0 for 8 with 5 strikeouts and three errors.

What is it with the Giants trying to get something out of Atlanta Braves rejects in mid-July? Remember last year, when looking also looking for something resembling offense, the Giants signed Jeff Francouer? Jeffy had also recently been, you guessed it, flat released from the Braves before inking with the G-men, and he was nobody's idea of a good mid-season signing. One of the reasons (excuses, etc.) I heard for the Giants signing these guys is that SF did the same thing with Cody Ross in 2010- he had been released from the Marlins mid-season- and all he did was become World Series MVP as the G-men took their first title since 1954. But according to Ross's Wiki page, the Giants claimed him off waivers in part to keep him from going to their competitors for the division that season, the San Diego Padres. Ain't nobody fighting for Uggla or Francouer. Four years later, Ross is still playing decent ball for a team (70 games with Arizona, 64 starts in the outfield), while Francouer barely has a career (four games this season) and Uggla... well, he might get less playing time than Francouer next year, let's put it that way (and since the ATL still has to pay him the $13 mil, why would he bother?). On Wednesday night, the Giants may or may not have released him- after he went 0 for 11 with 6 k's, a walk and a .083 on-base percentage in four games. He only got on base one more time then I did and I didn't even play. That's bad.

(My true theory for Uggla being so bad is that he wore number 22, which was Will Clark's number, which has not been retired by the team. "The Curse of Not Retiring Will Clark's Jersey" is a little long for a catchy title, but it'll do for now.)

Buster played short AND led FSU in saves one year.
In theory the Giants should improve in August even if they play a ferret at second base, because the majority of their games are against sub-.500 teams (the Mets, the White Sox, the Phillies, the Cubs, and the Rockies), but hell, who knows? Tim Lincecum went back to struggling, but at least the Giants snapped a six-game losing streak by beating the Pirates because of a rock-solid bullpen outing (just one hit and no runs in five and two-thirds innings) and one of the most bizarre double plays you will ever see- it started with a walk. I would say it's the most bizarre but a lot of bizarre things happen in baseball.
On the plus side, a guy I covered in college, Andrew Susac from Oregon State, got called up because Hector Sanchez is on the concussion DL. In Wednesday's win, Susac got his first MLB hit and RBI- naturally it happened on the same play, which is nice to see. One would imagine that the transition of Buster Posey from full-time catcher to full-time infielder has begun. I have even seen hypotheticals that if the Giants do not re-sign Pablo Sandoval after the season that they might move Buster to third base. It seems odd for a catcher to transition to third- Pablo did it, of course, but not in the majors. Buster did play a lot of left side of the infield for Florida State, but I don't see him having the range. Of course, when Pablo was, er, not slim, he didn't have much range either. Buster would at least have more range than that. Posey was also a pitcher at FSU, but there's no way they'll make him a closer. So let's just breathe on this whole Posey to third thing. Intriguing to think about, though.

Then there's Jake Peavy, newly acquired from the Red Sox. Better than a beat up Matt Cain, I guess. Who has only two wins. And won't pitch again until... well, who knows at this point?

"Well, at least I'm not in Boston."
 Photos courtesy: fanduel.com, collegebaseballhall.org, sfgate.com