satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune.
I have to admit, that last night watching Armando Benitez give up a game losing 3-run homer to Eric Byrnes in the 9th, with 2 outs, and an 0-2 count felt good. It was like seeing an ex-girlfriend at the mall for the first time in months. She treated you like hell, walked all over your heart, and left you a broken man. But to your surprise the next time you see her, she’s gained 30lbs and has a weird new mole on her forehead. Sure, you casually smile and say “Hi, how are you? How’ve you been?” but damn, it feels awesome on the inside. Schadenfreude.
The scenario of a failed relationship fits well with Armando Benitez and the Giants. He was brought it with great expectations that were never met and in turn many people soured on the whole thing. It limped along for a few years with minor periods of joy alongside many times of woe. It sounds like the archetype for every bad relationship except that I won’t have to get back all my T-Shirts and Radiohead tapes after the breakup. Armando was shipped off to Florida in exchange for RHP Randy Messenger and no one’s looked back since. Brian Sabean termed Armando a “whipping boy” for the fans, an easy source of frustration on a struggling team. Tonight, fans may be forced to look back, as the Fish roll into town for a three game series. I expect a Dodger-worthy boo if Armando makes it into the game. Baseball sometimes is more like a circus than anything else.
But amongst the Armando-hate fest is Randy Messenger. Messenger has done a nice job since coming into town, generally throwing strikes and not balking in Jose Reyes. I’m not overly thrilled with Messenger’s peripherals (he’s not striking out a lot of guys and is generally relying on the defense to turn hits into outs) but you can’t dispute that since the swap, he’s pitched well for us, regardless of how flukey it might be. Let’s take a peak at some stats for Benitez and Messenger.
My only gripe with Messenger is that I wish he had a higher K-rate, with the type of stuff he has (mid-90′s FB, decent curve, a changeup) you would expect him to srike out more guys. Messenger has, on the year, given up more hits than innings pitched (51 H’s to 49 IP) The potential is there, he made Chipper Jones, who’s hitting everything this season, look pretty bad in an AB during the Giants-Braves series. Benitez has a better strikeout rate but he’s walking more guys, something that Messenger has avoided since he came to SF. In games that I’ve seen him pitch, he seems to throw srikes.
Relievers, except elite ones (Hoffman, Rivera, Nathan, etc.), can tend to bounce around performance wise between seasons. Messenger could very well blow up next year but he’s been a nice addition so far this year.