Brian Sabean

Odds stacked against Giants tonight

When you watch the San Francisco Giants long enough, you notice things. Like how it’s not a real Giants rally unless at least one wild pitch, infield single or throwing error is prominently involved. Or that there are certain games the Giants just never seem to win.

Tonight’s game against the A’s is one of those games.

If you need reasons, there are a few:

  • The game will be played in a stadium that doesn’t sell Cha Cha Bowls. The Giants are 13-19 in Cha Cha Bowl-free ballparks this year.
  • Trevor Cahill is a young pitcher who has never faced the Giants. Add that to the fact Cahill has had six straight starts that could at least be considered decent, and the A’s pitchers should be able to complete this game without reaching the 90-pitch mark.
  • Jonathan Sanchez is starting for the Giants, and even though it sounds a little rash, it could very well be for the last time. Sanchy’s 0-6 on the road, where’s he given up 27 walks and 5 homers in 31 innings. Nobody will ever confuse me with Bill James, but when your walks and homers add up to a number higher than the amount of innings you throw, it’s difficult to be very effective.

So it’s funny that after all these things come into account, I’m still going to be as enthralled by this game as any game this season up to this point. Sanchez is pitching for his career tonight. Bruce Bochy doesn’t even want to start him tonight, but with an off-day on Thursday and no pleasant alternative to replace him in the rotation, the Giants are willing to give Sanchez one more start tonight. If Sanchez bombs tonight, his turn in the rotation won’t come up until July 2 in St. Louis, giving the Giants a fair amount of time to select his replacement.

The Giants are the Wild Card team if play stopped today, and how the Giants ride the weekend sweep over the Rangers into this 10-game road trip will be a strong indicator of what Brian Sabean does through July. If Sanchez craps the bed tonight, and Sabean looks at a landscape of Kevin Pucetas, Billy Sadler, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Alderson and Ramon Ortiz, he’s likely to go after a free agent like Pedro Martinez or trade for an overpaid name starter.

(What do you mean, the Giants need bats? They play in a pitcher’s division, and as a team they have only 1 less home run than the Mets and have scored 10 more runs than the Padres! Silly Lunatic Fringe, you still don’t know the Giants Way. For shame…)

Can the pitcher with the shakiest mental makeup and worst body language of any Giants pitcher since Atlee Hammaker resurrect his career as a starter tonight? Because if you’ve been listening to Bochy or watching Dave Righetti’s interactions with Sanchez, you can tell they’re sick of him. If it were Bochy’s choice they’d have Bumgarner or Alderson already in the rotation. What does Bochy care — he isn’t under contract next year.

If Sanchez can’t go stymie the A’s in the Coliseum tonight, Bochy might not see either of those youngsters, but he certainly won’t be forced to start Sanchez on the road again anytime soon. All Sanchez has to do to save his job is win what is usually an impossible game for himself and his team tonight. Let’s just say I won’t be calling my bookie about this game (if I had one, that is).

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