OK. I've about lost my mind.
Orlando Cabrera was at shortstop for the second straight day. And Cody Ross was back in left field.
After the game—a 3-1 loss to the Padres that killed the momentum gathering since a mini-youth movement began earlier in the week—I was pounding my head against hard objects.
The momentum-killers were Cabrera and Ross, who played while the Brandon's—Crawford and Belt—sat.
Cabrera was an equal-opportunity disaster, going 0-3 at the plate and dropping an eighth inning pop-up that led to the Padres' third run.
His batting average dropped to .217; his on-base percentage dropped to .232. The error was his fifth in thirty games as a Giant.
A day after going 0-5 Ross displayed admirable consistency, going 0-3 and grounding into a ninth inning double play—his 10th in 2011—that erased a lead-off base runner.
Ross' batting average declined to .233, but he has 19 games remaining to get that average down to Cabrera Territory.
What's Bochy's beef with Crawford, Belt?
I've ripped Bochy for over-relying all season on his veterans at the expense of younger options. You're probably as tired of reading it as I am writing it.
And he did play Brett (Homer-a-Day) Pill and Justin Christian for a second successive day.
But Bochy loves lefty-righty matchups. The Padres' starter, Aaron Harang, is a righty. It was the perfect situation to play Belt and Crawford, both of whom bat left-handed.
Belt is in a 3-for-28 slump. I can understand Bochy's reluctance to play him as long as his club has even faint playoff hopes.
But Cabrera over Crawford?
Attempting to rationalize his decision to reporters after the loss, Bochy wasn't altogether rational. According to the San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman:
Bochy said he had no thought of subbing Crawford for late defense. The Giants traded for Cabrera for his track record, and Bochy plans to keep using him because he does not see Crawford as a must-play alternative.
"Cabrera, sure, he's made some errors," Bochy said. "But you've got an experienced guy out there. I know he's dropped a couple of popups. I think he's as shocked as anybody he didn't catch the ball, and he made some nice plays today coming in."
That explains things, doesn't it? In his shortstops Bochy values experience over a propensity for catching pop ups.
Indefensible. Inexplicable. And Inexcusable.