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Giants baseball: please stop saying torture, and other thoughts from the All-Star break

July 12, 2011

To say it’s been an up and down season is on the one hand putting it extremely mildly and on the other hand being rather heartless to people like Cubs fans.  By Giants standards it’s been, well, it’s been a year.  There’s rarely a whole lot that goes to plan with these guys and this year may just be a slightly more extreme example than we’ve had recently.

That said, a few thoughts on some lingering questions and topics going into the second half:

Argument we most wish we’d stop having:
We’re torn on this one.  On the one hand, if we never hear pitcher wins used as a legitimate measuring tool of a pitcher’s performance again, it will be too soon, so there’s that.  On the other hand, there’s “is Ryan Vogelsong truly a high caliber pitcher” and well, we’re so sick of that one we kind of want to throw things whenever it’s brought up.  Look at his 1.193 WHIP, 6.9 K/9, and 3.77 tERA (compared to 3.76 for Jair Jurrjens, just as an example) and the fact that he’s already racked up 2.8 rWAR and either get on the good ship Vogelsong or go hang out with Keith Olbermann.

Buster Posey:

Brandon Belt:
Ahh, The Great Brandon Belt Conundrum of 2011.  Certainly going into the season we expected to see him up as a regular by this time, and we’re not going to say we aren’t disappointed that that’s not the case, but, like so much this season, things haven’t gone according to plan.  We still think he’ll turn out to be as advertised when he makes the bigs for good, so it’s a waiting game now.  And relatedly…

Aubrey Huff?
What is the deal with Aubrey Huff?  We’re not sure, but we are sure it needs to figure itself out and soon.  This anemic offense needs his bat and badly, and as long as the aforementioned Brandon Belt continues to destroy AAA, there’s progressively less incentive to watch him at first base every day.

Brandon Crawford:
We were right.  That is all.

The offense:
We remember having the conversation at one point during Spring Training that we were going to actually have a semi-legit offense this season!  This was amazing!  Forget contending, we smell repeat!  And then, well, down go Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez, Aubrey Huff descends into a slump like no other, and we’re back to scraping and scrimping for every run we can manage.  That said, we still don’t want to see a high-level prospect like Zack Wheeler shipped off for a rental bat.  We’ll stick through it with our scrappy offense, thank you very much, especially as long as we’ve got new and improved Panda 2.0 around.

The pitching:
Story of the year so far is obviously Ryan Vogelsong, but if Barry Zito continues to pitch the way he has in his first handful of starts after coming back from the DL, his resurgence may well be a close second.  Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain look pretty much like themselves, aside from a few shaky starts from Timmy, leaving Jonathan Sanchez as the mystery.  You can only keep the guy on the DL or a rehab assignment for so long, so does he have a future in the bullpen?

The torture is over?
We’re not saying that we’re going to magically stop playing one run ball games constantly or watching Brian Wilson walk two batters before getting into a 3-2 count with the clean-up hitter with two outs just to give everyone a heart attack, but the torture thing?  We think it’s time to give it a rest.  Sometimes it is legitimately torture, but every time I start to think that, I change into my World Series Champions t-shirt, pour a beer into my cup with a lovely World Series Champions logo on it, turn on my World Series DVDs (where the Giants win the World Series), and see how many times I can work “World Series” into a single run-on sentence.

Enjoy the All-Star break everyone, and may the second half be calmer than the first around here.

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