I cannot believe they left off Jose Guillen, but I’m definitely not disappointed. For all the power Guillen possesses, that in no way makes up for what his cement shoes take away.
I had the Giants keeping Guillen on the roster, at least to face the lefties in the Atlanta bullpen, but the Giants trust Travis Ishikawa more. And while he had a terrible second half and doesn’t hit lefties well at all, Ishikawa’s a guy who can play first base so Aubrey Huff can be moved to the outfield, or he can even play outfield himself. Also, if the Giants were to find themselves in a marathon extra-inning game (like 14+ innings, which wouldn’t surprise anyone who’s watched the Giants this season), you need guys like Ishikawa who can come in off the bench and spend an eternity out on the field if needed. Guillen, with his bum wheel, is only a pinch hitter right now, and lately he’s about 20 times more likely to hit into a double play than to hit a 2- or 3-run homer. Not to mention that Guillen’s not only a statue in right field, but he regularly makes kooky decisions, either when it comes to judging fly balls or where to throw the ball. Not what you want in the playoffs.
As for Rowand and Renteria making the roster, I’m hardly surprised. Great matchup numbers that Bochy can purr over in that way only he can, and the always coveted playoff experience, the lack of which really seemed to hinder Roy Halladay yesterday.
Besides Ishikawa/Guillen, I was also wrong about the Giants wanting to boost the left-handed portion of their bullpen. Instead of Dan Runzler, the Giants are going with the former closer, Guillermo Mota. After reflecting a bit, I’m surprised I didn’t predict this. Runzler’s command has been an issue all season when he’s been healthy, and Mota has pitched in the playoffs before. Not particularly well (9 appearances, 10 innings, 5.40 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 7 K), but Runzler was probably good for not much more than a 4-pitch walk in Game 2 or 3 before quickly getting pulled from the game. Mota isn’t perfect, but his last impression (two good outings in the Friday and Saturday losses to San Diego) were clearly important to Bochy and Sabean.
Looking ahead to tonight…
— The Braves lineup isn’t exactly making the Phillies or Yankees jealous, but they have one guy who regularly kills the Giants and Tim Lincecum: Brian McCann. McCann’s lifetime numbers against Lincecum: .381/.409/.667 in 22 PA. Mostly what I remember was seeing Lincecum dismantle the Braves in a day game in 2008 I attended, all except for McCann who went 3-for-4 with three absolute ropes. Lincecum did strike out McCann in their last battle, however, and has gone 3-for-12 with a HR and 6 strikeouts against Lincecum since.
— Two other guys to worry about: Alex Gonzalez (3-for-7 with a HR against Lincecum in his career) and Derrek Lee (.375/.412/.500 in 17 PA).
— Another reason why Guillen wasn’t chosen for the roster could be his terrible numbers against Derek Lowe (.158/.200/.158 in 19 PA). But I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Fontenot in the starting lineup tonight. Freddy Sanchez has bad numbers in his career against Lowe (.176/.176/.176 in 17 PA), and Fontenot’s 4-for-10 lifetime.
— Wouldn’t surprise me at all to see this lineup: Torres/Fontenot/Huff/Posey/Burrell/Ross/Uribe/Sandoval.
— That’s right, nothing substantial in this post about Barry Zito. We all knew he was off the roster after Saturday, and Bochy made it semi-official yesterday morning on Murph and Mac. The fact that it’s officially official isn’t really that noteworthy.
— Alright, enough talk about things that might never happen or have any effect on the game. Playoff sports are back in the city of San Francisco. Get ready for a weird PitchTrax box on the side of the screen that the unfamiliar will undoubtedly complain about, many shots of Lombard Street and the Golden Gate Bridge, and some of the most nail-biting, exciting baseball we’ve seen since, well, Sunday.