Oh, Eugenio. Everything was going so well, too.
The Giants haven’t played their best baseball against the Dodgers. Stop the presses. Thus far in the series, the Giants have only scored 3 runs while our pitching has given up 13 runs. Not what you would call a winning formula for baseball. Our hitting has made the combination of Kuroda and Wolf look like Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax. A quick glance down our lineup and you’ll see an offense that has struggled to score runs in this crucial series. Pablo Sandoval has largely been held in check. Aaron Rowand is either hurt or still slumping from an awful July. Since July 1st, Rowand has hit: .206/.243/.330 while striking out in nearly 36% of his at-bats. Randy Winn’s year long struggled has continued and his ’09 is starting to look shockingly similar to his ’06. He’s still golden defensively, but his at-bats have taken on a futile feeling as of late.
The Giants have built themselves upon two pillars this season. Pitching and defense. But, the two-pronged attack that we’ve seen for most of this season has been absent against the Dodgers. Our pitching took a beating in last night’s loss. Joe Martinez danced the line between disaster and acceptable before falling head first into a disaster in the 5th inning. For what Martinez is, and could be, I still like him a good bit in the 5th rotation spot, but Eugenio Velez chose the wrong time to clank last night when he dropped a low throw from Martinez that should have been caught. With Furcal on first, Martinez got Russell Martin to chop a grounder back up the middle. Martinez, somehow, stuck his glove out behind his back and caught the ball. He wheeled and fired low to second base and Velez dropped the ball. No outs were recorded and the next hitter, Andre Ethier, smoked a double to RF. It wasn’t the end of the game, but it was a major turning point. The Giants defense has to play better if they want to win games because, as we’ve learned, the hitting isn’t going to carry the team.
Back to Joe. I’ll be uploading a few PFX charts either today or tomorrow. We’re working with an extremely small sample, but he’s doing a couple of things right. He’s getting groundballs at a rate (52.3%) that’s consistent with his minor league career. And his control is pretty close to what he’s done in the minors. Of course, we won’t know how he’ll do in the majors until he throws more innings but I’ll take him over Sadowski and Pucetas any day of the week right now.
Today Lincecum takes the hill and the Giants hope that they can win at least 1 game from the series.
According to Baseball America, the Giants have signed 6th round pick, Matt Graham.
The Giants have signed Matt Graham for $500,000, the third-highest bonus in the sixth round this year. It’s the largest bonus San Francisco has given a draftee in 2009 and $350,000 higher than MLB’s recommended maximum for all picks after the fifth round.
A righthander from Oak Ridge HS in Spring, Texas, Graham flashes first-round talent but lacks consistency. At his best, he’ll pitch at 90-93 mph with his fastball and back it up with a power curveball. He had committed to North Carolina.
Graham is an intriguing pick to land in the 6th round. Reports indicate that his fastball has come and gone with some mechanical struggles, but when he’s throwing in the mid-90′s he’s a very interesting prospect. If the Giants can clean up his mechanics, and keep him in a starters role, he could be a steal.
MLB.com’s Pre-Draft coverage had this to say about Graham:
Graham, truth be told, is a project. But he’s one that someone might like to take on, because he’s got plus raw arm strength and can crank it up to 95 mph at times. The problem is he can’t repeat his delivery, so it’s not consistent. Neither is his command, or any secondary offerings. The best thing might be to teach him a second pitch, like a slider, and make him a short reliever. It’s something the University of North Carolina might do, and it might be tough for an MLB team to keep him from honoring that commitment.
If you click the above link, you can watch some video on Graham. Check out his mechanics, they could use some fine tuning.