Thoughts after last night’s 6-4 win over the Washington Nationals
~ Washington might have one of the ugliest lineups in the National League. If you thought the Giants were punchless, have you seen the Nats? Injuries have decimated Washington, transforming their lineup into a graveyard of bad hitters. Willie Harris, Paul Lo Duca, and Ryan Langerhans should never get a total of 12 AB’s in a game for your team. When you’re playing a combination of Paul Lo Duca — who’s slugging .306 this year — and Ronnie Belliard — who’s hitting more than Paul, but I’ve never seen a 5’8″ first baseman — at first base, you’re in trouble.
~ I didn’t actually see the entire game because I’m on the East Coast. During the work week I just can’t hack, most of the time, games that start at 10PM, by the 6th inning I’m usually asleep. But, despite not seeing the entire game, I was a little surprised to see Correia’s final line this morning. He looked decent through 5 innings, not great, but decent. His final line was:
5.2 IP, 12 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR
After I went to bed in the 5th inning, Correia hit a rough spot in the 6th. He gave up a 2-run HR to Jesus Flores. He then gave up another run on a single to Estrada that scored Ryan Langerhans, who had doubled before Estrada. Correia was fortunate to get out of the inning without giving up more runs. Before Langerhans hit, Felipe Lopez singled and was thrown out trying to steal 2nd base. The 12 hits that Correia gave up were most likely a byproduct of the Giants porous infield defense. The Giants infield is bad at turning balls hit into play into outs. They rank as the 2nd worst infield defense in the National League, they are -37 outs below average in the infield. Only Pittsburgh is worse. In addition, the Giants rarely make plays out of their zones, ranking dead last in OOZ, indicating that the infielders are statuesque defenders with zero range. If you don’t hit the ball right at one of our infielders, they aren’t going to get it. Correia gave up 16 groundballs last night in front of one of the worst infield defenses in the league, it’s not hard to see why he gave up so many hits.
Edit: I had my defensive numbers crossed up. The team is not a -37 by infield, but by overall team defense. That includes both the infield and outfield. Still, the team has below average infield defense. If you use RZR for your metric, only the Mets, Marlins, and D-Backs have weaker defense in the infield. The OOZ statement still stands, the Giants infielders make the least amount of plays outside of their defensive zones.
Still, since Correia returned on June 15th from his oblique injury, he’s not been sharp or the same pitcher we saw at the end of ’07. His overall line since he returned:
32.1 IP, 47 H, 25 R, 24 ER, 15 BB, 22 SO, 4 HR, 6.68 ERA
Is he still hurting some? Giants fans will know the problems associated with oblique injuries by watching Noah Lowry come back too fast and struggle to be consistent. The good news was that Correia did not issue a walk last night. Ideally, I would give Correia another 3-4 starts to see if he can pitch well, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the Giants call up newly acquired Steve Hammond to audition for the 5th starters job. Pat Misch or Matt Palmer could also be distant 6th and 7th starter options.
~ Nats GM, Jim Bowden, has never been confused with a top talent GM, but I think he makes the occasional good move. I love his acquisition of Jesus Flores. Flores, who was a Rule 5 Draft acquisition from the Mets, is a 23-year-old catcher with offensive upside and if I’m not mistaken, a solid defensive reputation. He broke out in his age 21 season in the FSL, the Mets left him unprotected, and the rest is history. He’s still raw at the plate, but he’s got some nice power that you don’t always find at the catchers position. He’s currently hitting (.286/.340/.464) in ’08 and has shown glimpses of the talent that the Mets are surely missing.
~ Please stop starting Omar, Bruce Bochy. Omar won’t boost his trade value by slapping a couple of singles before the trading deadline and his supposed reduced role on the team has never materialized. Quotes like this are the ones that scare me the most:
Already, Bochy is rethinking his plan to rest Vizquel and an equally hot Bengie Molina today. Finally, Vizquel said after his first three-hit game since May 15, he is starting to feel it with the stick.
I don’t get the logic. Omar stinks it up for most of the season but he goes 6 for 17 over a few games and all the sudden he’s back? Really, Bruce? Really? I seriously doubt that Omar will be traded at the deadline and if he’s still starting after the deadline, so-help-me-god…
~ Former Giants reliever, Steve Kline, has announced his retirement. Kline was trying to hang on in the Phillies organization, pitching for their AAA team that’s aptly named the Iron Pigs, but was released a month ago.
Comment Starter: Worried about Kevin? If not, why? And if so, who would you replace him with?