Tuesday, October 7, 2008

You Cannot Give the Opposition More than 27 (outs)

To err is human but to not catch the ball or throw it accurately makes hitting the ball inconsequential. There are 27 outs to be had and if it's common that you give the opposition more than 27 then you stand a chance of losing more games than you win. Even with a very potent offensive club it'll always come down to not being able to get outs and you will fall short of the prize. This year the top three teams who lost more than they should have won because they couldn't hold the lead and weren't really known for flashing the leather were the: New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers and Detroit Tigers.

The San Francisco Giants had different looks throughout the season from skipper, Bruce Bochy, where the infield was concerned.

They began the season with Omar Visquel on the injured list and had a youngster in Brian Bocock fill in. And defensively I'm sure he was a pleasant surprise. But if you were the opponent you had to like the fact that Bocock as a hitter offerred no threat. Bocock or anyone else in the Giants' impotent lineup. (And I'm not referring to Viva Viagra. I wonder if the Elvis Presley foundation (Graceland) gets residuals for that commercial. Or, if ole EP had e.d. in his later years and its a charitable contribution from Graceland.)

But they played good defense and we all know that good defense is a pitcher's best friend. Or is that the double play? Well, you need one to get the other, anyway.

Let's take a look at the Giants' infield and how it appears, to a fan watching Comcast, what may be in store for the upcoming 2009 season.

In no particular order: Omar Visquel, I'd like him back because he's a player-manager and I think the perfect replacement for Bochy if Bochy's "free ride" ticket gets lost. Besides, everything Omar does is exemplary.

Rich Aurilia: clutch and a positive presence on the bench and in the field. He's a team leader.

Emmanuel Burris: pleasant surprise with lots of upside.

Pablo Sandoval: People will come from all over to watch Tim Lincecum pitch. They may not feel so bad if they miss Lincecum's turn in the rotation if Sandoval is playing. Either third base, first base or catcher, Holy Versatility Batman, that's some good stuff. And he can hit!

Ivan Ochoa: A perfect example of Omar's presence. This guy has made everyone forget about Bocock but needs to get his offensive game up to par to be a consideration for making the big club.

John Bowker: first-baseman-outfielder... Any time you can play a couple of positions it's good. Except Pablo is the man always and forever if Bowker doesn't get the wood going on a more consistent basis.

Steve Holm: A serviceable backup who may also feel the Pablo effect.

Travis Denker: How good does Kevin Frandsen come back from his injury and is he better than Trav?

Ryan Rohlinger: He got a little time on the diamond in the bigs... what does he do to show Bochy and his boys why he should stay? How's about swinging the bat?

Conor Gillaspie: There must be something about this guy that the Giants had him on the pine watching Omar and others do their thing. I'm befuddled at what this guy can do, which is to say I have no idea what the Giants plan to do with this guy. What infield position does he play? He had so few at-bats, I couldn't tell if he had home run power (which is something the Giants need to be getting from someone).

Eugenio Velez: The Cheetos Cheetah, has some serious pop in his bat but fizzle between the ears. He needs to be a sponge and absorb as much knowledge as possible so that he doesn't come off as such a bonehead. This guy is the epitome of what a project is and every roster has one.

On one hand he can be a player who steals a lot of bases and yet he has trouble with left-handed pitchers. His base-running skills may lack intelligence.

Speaking of running the bases... Why is it, whenever a pitcher reaches base (and you know this happens often with opposing pitchers vs. the Giants staff) an announcer will make some simple-minded, backward comment that the pitcher may not be familiar with the basepaths? Have the dimensions changed since he played in high school or college? The only thing that changed was his manager or coach's decision to limit his offensive play and focus on his pitching. Through no fault of the player playing (the position of pitcher) the baseball world, as far as broadcasters go, views the pitcher as an indecisive little kid whenever he reaches base.

Remember, Ruben Rivera, a Giant for a very short time, ran the bases worse than Jon Miller ever saw. And we all know Jon Miller is a very good broadcaster who is well-traveled (due to his extensive schedule of ballgames he announces) and a baseball aficionado.

Oh by the way, Rivera's position in the field was as an outfielder not pitcher.

That's one guy's opinion from the other side of a television screen.

Kevin Marquez