Aaron Rowand

It’s Official: A is worse than Z

I watched every pitch of tonight’s Giants/Padres game, and I didn’t even get a Patrick Misch bobblehead. And damn it, I deserved one. All the Giants provided tonight was the experience of watching an offense where the only players to get hits were Eugenio Velez, Randy Winn and Rich Aurilia (and Aurilia’s hit was a shot off third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff’s glove, although from the look on Aurilia’s face afterwards his single was as noteworthy as a grand slam).

The good news: in a .500 season, watching Barry Zito has become one of the guilty pleasures of watching this team. It’s nearly impossible to get worked up over the 2 solo homers he gave up tonight, especially since he was the first Giant starter to pitch 8 innings in a game since Tim Lincecum gave up 1 run over 8 innings in Arizona on April 24 (the only other time a Giant has gone 8 innings this season: when Lincecum threw 8 shutout innings in his previous start at home against Arizona).

Zito’s curveball is pretty rude right now, to the point where notorious Giant-killers Brian Giles and David Eckstein looked baffled on several occasions. The sight of Giles trying to bunt for a base hit was almost shocking, although he is in a potentially career-ending slump right now.

Zito’s on his game, so at least one half of the monstrously overpaid duo is contributing. Aaron Rowand’s awfulness was highlighted in embarrassing form tonight when he was absolutely schooled in a ninth inning pinch-hit appearance against Heath Bell.

Rowand plays hard and his suckiness obviously bothers him greatly, but watching him hit is downright nauseating — and not just because he looks like he’s ready to drop a deucer every time he steps into the batters box. Zito might not exactly be the pitcher you’d hope to get for $18 million per, but at least he’s not an empty $18 million anymore. The $12 million Rowand’s snaring every season is completely empty, unless you put stock into great clubhouse guys who don’t produce.

I’m not sure why Bochy threw him up there against Bell, since right-handed hitters had gone 0-for-23 against Bell up to that point. Nate Schierholtz was in the on-deck circle originally, and even though he may end up becoming one of the best pinch-hitters in baseball someday, Bochy pulled him in favor of Rowand.

Still, it’s tough to rip Bochy, no matter how awful his pregame interviews are. I’m not necessarily sure the veteran love he’s often blamed for is that bad, or even his choice most of the time. C’mon, you know Brian Sabean is the one who wanted to keep Juan Uribe and Rich Aurilia as the infield bench, and Sabean’s also the guy who pulled the trigger on Aaron Rowand, who at this point looks to be the worst free-agent signing in Giants history.

Yep, even worse than Zito. Peter Magowan, you’re officially off the hook…for now.

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