Or, an alternate title: If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably already heard this stuff.
1) Getting Jeff Keppinger was/is a solid move for the Giants. With Freddy Sanchez officially opting for surgery, it was a move that the Giants had to make with their current depth at second base. Keppinger has been moderately useful since he donned a Giants’ uniform (.263/.300/.342) but my lord does he look slow in the field, on the base paths, in the dugout, walking to his car, etc. I’ve termed his foot speed “Jose Guillen speed” and it’s shocking to think he once was playing shortstop. Keppinger’s clodfoot was on display in the top of the 6th inning when Gerardo Parra hit a slow rolling grounder into RF past the running Keppinger. It wasn’t the hit that decided the game, but the Giants’ defense has looked old and creaky lately.
2) I don’t like complaining about strike zones, but last night’s strike zone was pretty bad.
For Matt Cain, the low-and-away pitch from right-handed batters didn’t exist. It was a pretty tight zone all night long.
3) If you turned away from the TV or radio for a second, you might have missed the Giants batting in the bottom of the 5th. That’s because it only took the Giants seven pitches to end the inning. It went like this: Orlando Cabrera (two pitches, flyout CF), Eli Whiteside (first pitch foul out to 1B), and Matt Cain (four pitches, swinging strikeout). If that inning taught me anything, Cain should probably hit 4th.
4) Carlos Beltran had a nice game, going 2-4 with a triple. He’s started slow with the Giants, but the sample is so small, let’s not freak out yet.
Like Rory noted yesterday, the NL West is still up for grabs. The Giants have watched their 4.5 game lead (starting on 7/19/11) dwindle to a one game as of last night. The D-Backs might not have the same portfolio of arms like the Giants do, but they’ve got quality upside-pitching in Kennedy (121 ERA+) and Hudson (102). Joe Saunders (110) has pitched well, too. As of today, the Arizona offense ranks 6th in the NL and it would be a mistake for the Giants to underestimate their desert rivals.
Tim Lincecum takes the hill tonight and hopefully he can stop this four game losing streak with a quality start.
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In other news, the Giants have DL’d Barry Zito with what the team is calling a “ligament injury of the right foot”.
“It’s not as serious, but this ligament thing, it’s pretty sensitive, so you’ve got to be precautionary with it,” Zito said. “It’s very disappointing. I was enjoying being out there, coming off two months of rehab. Just keep going, keep working.”
Again, the Giants are using the DL for their roster crunch problems. With Zito placed on the DL, Jonathan Sanchez has been re-activated and scheduled to start this Friday. If I have to pick between Zito and Sanchez, I’ll take Sanchez. Even though he’s frustrating to watch pitch, and I don’t particularly enjoy it, I don’t know how much 82-84 mph fastball Zito can add to the rotation. Zito’s velocity has continued to go down and hitters are making him pay for it.
The Zito problem is becoming more and more prevalent on the team as Zito is no longer one of the best five starters on the squad. Add in the fact that prospects like Eric Surkamp are climbing the organizational ladder, and there aren’t many places for Zito to go — other than somewhere else. It’s hard to see the Giants releasing Zito over the offseason when he’s due $19M in 2012; $20M in 2013; $18M club option in 2014 with a $7M buyout, but at some point you’ve got to make the decision, hard as it may be.