With all due respect to Andres Torres, who according to The Franchise is the nicest person to walk the earth, he may have done the Giants a favor last night by fouling a ball off his shin and landing on the DL today. During Spring Training, the Giants were thought of as a deeper team than they were last year, but these days it’s hard to come up with one outfielder who seems ready to contribute anything on a given day.
Put it this way: when your best pinch-hitting option is an injured Nate Schierholtz (who’s playing today, which either means his hip flexor got better extremely quickly or he’s taking one for the team), your team, at least on the offensive side, is not especially deep.
The Giants have three of the top 10 pitchers in baseball when it comes to a pretty depressing stat: worst run support.
Imagine what those numbers would look like if Pablo Sandoval didn’t lose all that weight. Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain would have found some way to defect to the Yankees by now.
After Torres’ shin injury, now thousands of Giants fans (and Henry Schulman) have their wish: Brandon Belt is back. Whether or not he’ll be freed is another question. With Carlos Beltran doubtful to play this weekend and staring at a DL stint himself, the excuses not to play Belt have been whittled down to “we need to start Cody Ross AND Aaron Rowand at the same time.” But as anyone who watches this team religiously knows, that can be a pretty airtight excuse when it comes down to writing a lineup card.
(Question brought up by @gggiants yesterday: how long did Beltran know about this hand/wrist/whatever injury? Beltran said he felt pain in his hand/wrist/whatever for the first time during Sunday’s win over the Phillies while striking out in the 6th, but after the Mark DeRosa mess people around here are understandably paranoid.)
With the Giants falling further behind in the NL West (2 games back after the D-Backs beat the Mets 4-3), it’s panic time. It’s not quite (Joe) Panik time, but it’s definitely Gary Brown time. Many feel like they’ve been watching this movie for too long and want to see one of the bit players, Hensley Meulens, tossed aside for whatever alternate actor the Giants can find. But Brian Sabean just gave Meulens the always-welcome vote of confidence, and we all know Sabean tells the truth at all times. Just ask Bengie Molina!
Right now, the only bright side for the Giants is at least they won’t cruise into the playoffs and forget what it’s like to play tough, stressful games. Okay, I admit that’s terrible. This team’s offense is now on pace to score those 555 runs over the course of the season, which would make them the lowest-scoring Giants team since 1902. To be fair, they’ve lost their top four position players from last season, and effectively all their starters from the World Series. Check out the Game 1 lineup against Texas for an extremely pathetic edition of “Where are they now?”:
Torres (terrible offensively and hurt all the time); Freddy Sanchez (season-ending surgery); Pat Burrell (out for a month and no word on when he’ll be back) Buster Posey (season-ending surgery); Cody Ross (21 multiple-strikeout games — his worst season since ’06); Aubrey Huff (ACSD: Alternating Crappy Season Disorder); Juan Uribe (gone); Edgar Renteria (gone).
The Giants need something crazy to happen offensively for their season to turn around. Surpassing the D-Backs in the standings is by no means an impossible feat, but they’re going to need somebody to help Sandoval out. Beltran and Schierholtz need to heal and hit, Huff needs to turn this warming trend of his into a full-fledged hot streak, Ross needs to pretend it’s October, Orlando Cabrera needs to forget he’s Orlando Cabrera. Hmmm, none of these seem likely to happen anytime soon. Belt, it’s up to you. No pressure, kid.
Stay tuned for part 2, when we’ll talk about a REALLY bad offensive performance from Friday night: the one put forth by the San Francisco 49ers.