With the San Francisco Giants now down four games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks, the season is winding to a close. Will this team, which scored a total of eight runs in four games against the National League’s worst pitching staff, have a shot at sweeping the Diamondbacks this coming weekend? At this juncture, nothing less than a sweep will suffice. Even then, assuming that all things hold up through the Chicago series, a sweep will not be enough to close the gap.
So, with an offense that is about as exciting to watch as insects mating (and substantially less funny), it is officially time to switch the focus to other things, such as which player is the Giants' best strikeout artist.
Cody Ross' Signature Pose
Cody Ross currently leads the team with an impressive 89 strikeouts, nearly twenty of which have been recorded in the month of August. His three-strikeout performance in Saturday night’s ballgame against the Houston Astros was admirable, contributing substantially to his going 0-for-9 in the Houston series, wherein he struck out five times.
Ross’ grim face when he strikes out, coupled with the blank stare that he often shoots to the cameraman down the first base line, are the most recognizable traits of this San Francisco Giant as of late.
Aubrey Huff's Signature Pose
Aubrey Huff is predominately known for hitting slow, weak ground balls to second base and meaningless singles late in the game when his team is down. He also, however, is an exceptional strikeout artist. In Sunday afternoon’s game against Houston, he raised his strikeout total to 83 on the season, many of which have come in crucial at bats.
Opposing teams relish facing Huff with the game on the line, because they know that they are merely a curveball in the dirt away from escaping a potential threat. Huff’s signature head shake on his return back to the dugout is almost as recognizable as Cody Ross’ blank stare.
In only 43 games this season, Brandon Belt has managed to strike out an impressive 35 times, including six times in the previous two games. Considered to be the first baseman of the future for the San Francisco Giants, Belt has managed to keep pace in his brief stint in the majors thus far with strikeout artist Aubrey Huff.
Belt has also demonstrated a knack for striking out in key situations, like the man whom he is slated to replace, and has a similar weakness for low breaking balls. Watching Belt flail wildly against Brett Myers—he of the 3-13 record and ERA near 5.00—was masterful. Watching his three-strikeout performance against Bud Norris and company on Sunday brought a tear to my eyes.
The only thing lacking in Brandon Belt’s repertoire is a signature post-strikeout return to the dugout.
Leadoff hitter extraordinaire Andres Torres is a large reason for the Giants’ average of just over three runs per game. His ability to master the leadoff strikeout—something most professional baseball leadoff hitters cannot—is a big reason why the Giants are where they are today.
Torres has struck out 79 times in only 86 games and in only 294 at-bats. Torres’ “How could you do this to me?” reaction towards the umpire upon being rung up on a called third strike on a fastball down the middle elicits strong reactions from the San Francisco fan base.
In his first game back from the disabled list, Torres did not disappoint. He went 1-for-5 with a clutch strikeout.
Aaron Rowand struts back to the dugout, content.
Perhaps the most talented strikeout artist on the team is Aaron Rowand, who has 83 strikeouts in in 107 games, many of which have come as a pinch hitter.
Rowand struck out for the Giants near the end of Sunday’s loss against the Houston Astros, reinforcing his position as one of the team’s premiere strikeout artists.
Whether Rowand—who is presently tied with Aubrey Huff for the team lead in strikeouts—will be able to pass Cody Ross by the end of the season is yet to be seen. Even so, his confident and casual stroll back to the dugout after swinging through a change-up over his head demonstrates inner fortitude that more Giants should seek to emulate.