Since frustrated fans have run out of cockeyed ways to fix the lineup or the pitching staff, firing manager Bruce Bochy is now their solution to all of the club’s problems.
If you invest five hours of your July 4th holiday in watching a ball game on TV, you’re due the right to question Bochy for removing catcher Buster Posey, who was reportedly ill.
It’s understandable that the near mandatory double-switch that prompted Bochy to remove hot-hitting first baseman Travis Ishikawa would leave fans raving mad—even if the switch did help give the Giants a chance to use their entire bullpen in shutting the Rockies out for eight innings.
Look, if your veins are bulging because Edgar Renteria played shortstop instead of Juan Uribe—OK. We’ll ignore, for the moment, that Uribe was two for his last 25 entering the weekend.
Blame the manager. Blame the general manager. Blame the ownership.
How could they let the team we loved, which played so well in the spring, become a team we could barely tolerate in the summer?
Take your best shot.
Maybe a manager whose only claim to fame is that he’s not Bochy would turn things around. It could be that firing Sabean and giving his job to one of his subordinates would change everything.
This is a call for common sense, a holiday reality check.
The 2010 San Francisco Giants have the talent of a team that should be one game over .500.
If the club hadn’t kicked away a few games early, they’d be five or six games over the break-even point today.
We all remember when we’d sit through a loss and smile, mumbling, “It’s early…there’s a long season ahead. Renteria’s crushing the ball. Rowand’s hitting. No reason to bring Posey up from the minors! Molina’s on fire and he’s really helping the best pitching staff in baseball.”
If Uribe had maintained the pace of an All-Star shortstop and Posey had hit .700 for a full month rather than a full week, maybe the club would be 10 games over .500. Those are unrealistic expectations.
The starting pitching and closer Brian Wilson helped hide fatal flaws offensively and defensively. They enabled us to believe that Andres Torres was a guy who simply blossomed into a .300 hitter in the lead-off spot—at age 32. When the starters began to struggle, we realized the Giants can’t put together an everyday lineup that gives any reason to believe that the club should finish much over .500.
There’s nothing the Giants can do to fix things right now.
Sabean opted to sign Pat Burrell, while fans and insiders groaned at the thought of another aging, automatic out in the lineup. Burrell’s hitting over .300 and is among club home run leaders in a platoon role in left field. How much has the considerable upgrade Burrell provides over John Bowker and Eugenio Velez helped the won-loss record?
So, why would trading a prospect or two to acquire David DeJesus or Jose Guillen from the Kansas City Royals ignite a second-half burst? The fact that DeJesus and Guillen seem to be such fine fits for the Giants says more about the Giants than it does about either player. (Note: how many times do you figure the Giants have passed on dealing for Guillen?)
Cleveland's Austin Kearns could key the Giants' run to the playoffs? Oh, OK…Kearns and DeJesus…they join the outfield and magic dust starts falling at AT&T Park?
There’s more of a chance that Bowker could start hitting big league pitching like he absolutely crushes Pacific Coast League pitching.
Adam Dunn will be signing a contract extension, most likely, with the Washington Nationals. Florida’s Jorge Cantu would help add a little punch at a corner infield spot, but he's a fairly weak defender.
There’s not a big league-ready hitter in the Giants' farm system, either. This is it for the remainder of the season—griping about how Renteria and Rowand shouldn’t have played ahead of Uribe and Ishikawa.
Not much out there in the way of sure-thing bullpen fixes, either. The Giants are going to trade for relief help, most certainly. They'll try to fix the pen with a guy most of us won't recognize.
Prince Fielder? Wouldn’t he look great in orange and brown?
ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote that the Giants won’t acquire Fielder because their refusal to trade Matt Cain is a “deal-breaker.” Shipping Madison Bumgarner or Jonathan Sanchez as centerpiece in a trade package wouldn’t be enough to get Fielder.
Anyone out there want to trade Cain and top prospects for Fielder? (Think, now—the argument could be made that Cain has a brighter future than Tim Lincecum.)
The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo says the Giants covet Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Corey Hart. Small problem, though—the Brewers feel like they can still reach the playoffs and aren’t trading Hart any time soon. (News flash: the Giants covet Albert Pujols, but the Cardinals are not anxious to trade him as long as they’re in the pennant race.)
So, this is it.
Pablo Sandoval’s going to return to form or keep breaking our hearts. It means Posey will have get hot again. Aubrey Huff will have to go from All-Star Game candidate to MVP candidate. And, remarkably, the Giants must hope that Ishikawa is the one Giants prospect in the Bowker-Velez-Schierholtz group who actually emerges as a truly productive big leaguer.
In a small way, it will be more entertaining following those storylines than it would be to suddenly root for Guillen or Kearns or others of their ilk. Not that Giants fans have much choice.
Ted Sillanpaa is a Northern California sports writer and columnist. Reach Ted at firstname.lastname@example.org.