So, the mothership is asking us to tell them what the pleasant surprises have been for the Giants.
When this question was first asked, the Bay City Ball writing staff collectively stuck our hands in our pockets and shrugged: I’ve got nothin’. I distilled this into a non-answer answer that’s up on the Sweetspot Blog right now. Basically I say that the best surprise is that the unpleasant surprises haven’t lead to a worse record.
I was tempted, tempted to say that Aaron Rowand’s competence with the bat has been the pleasant surprise. But, let’s just go to one of the many places on the internet where they track baseball statistics, shall we?
They don’t give out licenses to baseball bloggers, but if I claimed that a player basically replicating his career averages through a month of play were a pleasant surprise, they should issue me one just for the pleasure of revoking it.
Pablo Sandoval has had a nice April, and I guess some people are surprised by that. Those people are silly, though. He’s Pablo Sandoval, he’ll do that every once in a while. Yes, he wasn’t great last year, but even then he managed to have a great April. So how surprising can that be?
Another option: Ramon Ramirez and Guillermo Mota pitching well. But labelling 25 good innings of mostly low-leverage relief work as the pleasant surprise of April smacks of sheer delusion. If that’s the pleasant surprise, then there really haven’t been any pleasant surprises.
And now we have Ryan Vogelsong. He looked excellent in yesterday’s start against the Pirates. I was sorta surprised by that, but if he really wants to work his way into this competition he’ll need to rattle off like 4 out of 5 quality starts or something.
Really, this is a team for whom almost every surprise has been of the unpleasant variety. It’s like every day the UPS man drops off another package, but instead of your Amazon order, it’s a severed toe or a live wolverine.
Aubrey Huff plays the outfield like he has an inner ear problem? A little surprising, I guess. How about when he hits like he’s using a wet cardboard roll for a bat? SURPRISE! Miguel Tejada can’t make routine plays at SS. Fine. How about if he hits like a less patient version of Brian Bocock? SURPRISE! Andres Torres’s achilles tendon? SURPRISE! Cody Ross’s calf? SURPRISE! Barry Zito’s ankle? SURPRISE!
Suggested goal for May: no more freaking surprises.
Coming into the season, everyone knew that the Giants strength was depth of position players. They’ve gotten through their rough month mostly on depth. Yesterday, however, they started a game with Emannuel Burris playing second, so mark that down: April 28th – depth all used up. They’ll need the unfortunate events to abate for a while to stay in the race.