Today, Bruce Bochy writes this:
CF Aaron Rowand
2B Emmanuel Burriss
1B Aubrey Huff
3B Pablo Sandoval
LF Pat Burrell
RF Cody Ross
SS Mike Fontenot
C Eli Whiteside
P Ryan Vogelsong
And, sadly, I can see no fault in what he’s written. It’s getaway day in a rain-soaked town, to be followed by another weekend of games in another, presumably, rain-soaked town. Neither the team they play today and played two days prior, nor the team they play next or the one after that are particularly good. And yet, I’m concerned.
This is the lineup of the defending World Series champions.
Within just a few moments of thumbing through FanGraphs, you can learn that the Giants’ positional-player core has been abysmal. They are neither hitting nor playing defense. In fact, they are one of the worst defensive teams in Major League Baseball thus far this season. Last season, they were one of the best. (Allegedly.)
Many people would have you believe that the Padres’ lineup is the laughing stock of baseball, a team so challenged to score runs it seems not just likely, but assured they will eclipse the 2010 Mariners as one of the worst offensive teams for a very, very long time. And yet, the only real difference between them and the Giants’ thus far is 8-10 home runs.
With every passing pitch, at-bat, walk, home run, ground-out, strikeout, hit-by-pitch, game, and week, the legitimacy of each of the Giants’ players’ stats is increased. While it’s still early and there’s no real cause for real concern just yet, the day and time is approaching. And games like yesterday, the day before – the win notwithstanding – and the three prior versus the Braves make you wonder. They really do.
At what point do you figure it’s time for Bochy to mix the lineup up some? For a few weeks now, he’s been writing the same names down in more or less the same order, almost as if he were Joe Girardi filling out the Bombers’ lineup. I don’t know if it will make much of a difference, but it couldn’t hurt. This isn’t working. Let’s try something new.
What’s more, while Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Tim Lincecum, in particular, have been pretty good, the bullpen has already had to pitch way too many innings. Giants’ starters have not eaten up nearly enough of them. Guillermo Mota, who has pitched well, has already thrown 16 innings; need I say more? That’s a lot for a reliever on April 28.
This team is not playing well.
Anyway, my challenge is for you to scour the baseball-reference page, or any other place you might dig up useful information, and find a worse starting lineup – including the starting pitcher, because his presence in the fielded team today is very much a part of the ineptitude equation – of a defending World Series champion. I don’t know if it will be difficult. I don’t know if there will be one or two, many or no lineups of defending champs that were worse. But I have my own guess. I’ll just keep it to myself. Maybe the 1998 or 2004 Marlins? I don’t know.
And while you do that, the Giants will try to salvage a series versus the Pirates with that lineup. If they don’t salvage it, at least The Office and Parks and Recreation are on television tonight.
Today, Bruce Bochy writes this: