There’s no way the Giants’ offensive struggles will keep going on like this, at least not with this group of players. John Bowker may or may not know this (he probably does), but this weekend is a sort of final tryout for him. If he wants to avoid a Fred Lewis-style banishment — and seeing how well Lewis has adjusted to getting regular playing time, Bowker probably wouldn’t mind a change of scenery — he had to hit at least one home run this weekend.
The Giants are in a teamwide offensive funk right now, regardless of what Kruk and Kuip said after today’s game about their BREAKOUT PERFORMANCE against the Diamondbacks on Wednesday. Yawn. Listen, if you can’t score at least 7 runs in a game in Arizona, with that ballpark against that pitching staff, you might as well replace the entire starting lineup with the one in Fresno, even if Sabean is certain that Minor League pitching is terrible. And if you can’t score one lousy run against Jonathan Sanchez’s little brother Gio Gonzalez, you know Sabean will be looking to acquire a big name for very little money in the hours that follow.
We’ll see Buster Posey soon because the Giants themselves want him in San Francisco. How else to explain their lack of a clue at the plate, or Bengie Molina making outs on purpose? Wait, Molina isn’t making outs on purpose? That’s his two-strike hack these days? Looks more like a cry for help (or rest) to me. At this rate Bengie will be watching the games from his couch by August.
How soon will we see Busta? Not that soon, because it isn’t June yet. Be patient, my friends. You know, the opposite of the Giants’ plate approach. No, what’s next is Pat Burrell.
Burrell is everything Brian Sabean likes in a stopgap player. He’s cheap (much cheaper than Jermaine Dye, who thinks of himself sort of like the Rasheed Wallace of MLB — too bad for him Danny Ainge didn’t stick with baseball). He’s a National League outfielder who Sabean has seen both in person and on TV (I’m pretty sure that while Sabean doesn’t watch non-Giants regular season games, he does watch the playoffs). While I’m suspicious that Burrell’s career numbers are free from chemical enhancement and wonder whether he can be effective in the drug testing era at 33, Sabean has made a living ignoring warning signs like these.
Just like Sabean will ignore the fact that Burrell has only played 9 innings in the field since 2008.
Prediction: Andres Torres looks like he suffered a pulled hamstring or something today. He’ll sit tomorrow, and Schierholtz and Bowker will man the corner outfield spots. Bowker won’t do anything, and he’ll be DFA’d on Sunday evening or Monday morning to make room for Burrell, the new left fielder. Schierholtz and Torres will do the righty/lefty platoon in right field, based on whatever matchups and miniscule sample size numbers Bruce Bochy decides to pay attention to that day. Then Mark DeRosa will try to make a comeback, meaning Torres (who’ll be slumping by then due to lack of regular playing time) will only see time in centerfield when Aaron Rowand needs a day off.
Here’s how I see the lineup shaking out in September:
1. Sanchez 2B
2. Posey C
3. Sandoval 3B
4. Burrell LF
5. Huff 1B
6. Rowand CF
7. Uribe SS
8. Schierholtz RF
Molina, Edgar Renteria and DeRosa will find themselves on the shelf permanently by July or August. Bowker will be a Texas Ranger, and hit at least 10 HRs after the All-Star Break. Hopefully Matt Cain and/or Jonathan Sanchez won’t be on the 60-day DL due to depression symptoms by then. But yeah, the Giants ignoring the warning signs and signing Burrell is about as inevitable as the Giants ignoring the warning signs and signing Mark DeRosa five months ago (back when “the Giants’ training staff was ‘pleasantly surprised’ by his progress during (DeRosa’s) physical”). This is how Sabean operates. If you go to the game tomorrow, be sure to wave goodbye to Bowker and wish him luck.