Maybe my memory is just failing me, but I don’t remember this much of an obsession with the 25-man rosters back in the early 2000’s. Maybe it’s the fact that those teams from 7-10 years ago were filled with guys who’d all been on the team for at least a few years. While Mat Latos’ complaints were ridiculous, it’s true that the 2010 San Francisco Giants have a ton of moving parts.
Add that to the now socially-accepted baseball nerdery that the internet has fostered, as well as a group of extremely rabid social media addicts who create Facebook fan pages, websites and meet at “Tweetups” to share their mutual obsessions, and a sports media machine that constantly requires sustenance in the form of subjects that get people talking (especially during this week’s interminable 3-day break between Giants games), and you have a whole new world. People were upset about Shinjo making the last out of the 2002 World Series, but could you imagine the outcry if he were on the team right now and was placed on the postseason roster? Because that’s what’s going on with the 2010 version of Shinjo, Eugenio Velez (Shinjo was a far better defender, but just as maddening at the plate).
It’s what everyone’s talking about, and we at BASG aim to please (some of the time, anyway). So here are 10 predictions about the NLDS series between the Giants and the Braves that starts on Thursday, starting with the obvious one….
1. The Giants 25-man lineup will look like this:
Infielders: Huff, Sanchez, Uribe, Sandoval, Renteria, Fontenot; Outfielders: Torres, Burrell, Guillen, Ross, Rowand, Schierholtz; Catchers: Posey, Whiteside; Starters: Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, Bumgarner; Relievers: Wilson, Romo, Lopez, Ramirez, Casilla, Affeldt, Runzler.
Since we have a pretty good idea Barry Zito won’t be on the 25-man roster, who’s the last players to be left off? Chris Ray, Guillermo Mota, Travis Ishikawa and Eugenio Velez. I have a hard time believing the Giants will keep Lopez and Affeldt as their only lefty relievers, especially since Affeldt’s been so shaky all year. Runzler has had four appearances in the past few weeks, and in 2.2 scoreless innings he struck out 5 and only gave up 2 baserunners. Ray held down the fort nicely on Saturday after Zito fell on his face, but Casilla and Ramirez make him expendable. Mota’s had a decent year, but with the other four righty relievers listed his presence is unnecessary.
As for Ishikawa, after looking like the best pinch-hitter in baseball earlier in the season, he’s fallen off in a big way (.204/.267/.290 since the All Star Break, including an 0-for-13 stretch from Aug. 20 through Sept. 9). A lot of fans are worried about the prospect of Velez making the team, but I think in this case two out of the Velez/Renteria/Rowand bubble-group make it, and I think Velez gets left out.
Bottom line: I think the Giants value right/lefty matchups and experience over pretty much everything, especially speed (remember, the Giants had only one double-digit SB guy this year, and finished tied for last in the Majors in steals with 55 — it just isn’t a concern for them for whatever reason).
* At the end of this post I’ll let you know what MY 25-man roster would be … onto the rest of the predictions:
2. Dick Stockton will call Santiago Casilla “Santiago Casillas” at least once.
3. There will be many, many, many closeups of Brian Wilson’s face.
4. There will also be far too many shots of people wearing Panda hats in the stands.
5. Bobby Cox mentions will outnumber Bruce Bochy mentions by at least a 4/1 ratio.
6. At least once, Bob Brenly will somehow transition from talking about Buster Posey to mentioning his tenure as a Giants catcher.
7. I will not watch any of the games at Zeke’s.
8. Every single San Francisco “celebrity” is currently either thinking about contacting or have already reached out to the San Francisco Giants to figure out a way to get involved in the pregame hoopla. Rob Schneider and Steve Perry already got into the act this past weekend; Huey Lewis, the remaining members of the Grateful Dead, Danny Glover, Robin Williams, the dudes who got attacked by that tiger at the zoo, I’m looking at you.
9. Posey will throw out Jason Heyward on his first and only steal attempt.
10. The Giants will win the series in an extremely close and stressful Game 5.
My 25-man roster? Here it is (guys I don’t think will make it are *starred*):
Infielders: Huff, Sanchez, Uribe, Sandoval, Fontenot, *Ishikawa*; Outfielders: Torres, Burrell, Guillen, Ross, Schierholtz, *Ford*; Catchers: Posey, Whiteside; Starters: Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, Bumgarner; Relievers: Wilson, Romo, Lopez, Ramirez, Casilla, Affeldt, Runzler.
I say forget Renteria and Rowand. Renteria can’t play more than one game in a row, and Rowand his a homer in garbage time on Friday after the Padres relaxed. That’s not enough to keep the Giants’ only legitimate pinch-runner off this team. If you want to know how important a stolen base can be, just ask any Red Sox fan who was awake in 2004. Or don’t, because then they’ll start talking about stuff like “cowboy up” and how beautiful Kevin Millar’s frosted tips were.