And the Beat Goes On
So passes another game where the Giants manage to get shut out, this time to a team that’s 43 games under .500. We’re not talking the Braves and their crazy-good bullpen, or the Phillies with the best rotation money can buy. No, we’re talking about a team composed primarily of minor leaguers beating the Giants 6-0. And after Pablo Sandoval became unavailable with a bum left shoulder, Bruce Bochy rubbed his hands together and thought “Yes! Another opportunity to play an over-the-hill veteran with no plate approach. Oh and Aaron Rowand bats leadoff.”
Let me put this in the simplest terms possible: under no circumstances whatsoever should Aaron Rowand ever bat in the leadoff spot. The guy hasn’t taken a walk since the first week of July, so batting him in the spot in the lineup where the primary skill looked for is the thing Rowand is incapable of, seems a tad counter-intuitive. Just a tad. Keeping that in mind, I decided to have a little fun. I went over the Baseball Musings’ lineup generator, a tool that gives you the best and worst possible combinations for a given lineup, while also telling you the amount of runs per game each lineup would potentially score. The results were a little funny and very depressing.
The best possible lineup where the Giants are scoring 3.28 runs per game (league average is 4.26) has Ryan Vogelsong batting 6th. That’s right, the Giants have gotten to the point where their offense is so bad, the pitcher is not even close to the worst hitter. The worst combination (2.97 runs per game) has Aaron Rowand batting leadoff. Go figure. Simply put, this was a lineup expertly crafted to not score runs. From top to bottom, there is one hitter who can marginally be considered at the very most “average.” Everyone else is well below this standard.
If you look around the Giants blogosphere, you’ll likely find similar reactions, and with good reason. In the face of extreme adversity, Bruce Bochy and upper management have fallen flat on their collective faces. Not starting Brandon Belt against a lefty because he’s a left-handed hitter is a decision based on perception rather than tangible evidence (Belt’s hitting .300/.391/.500 against lefties). Having Aaron Rowand hit leadoff is a decision with no basis in logic or reason whatsoever (Rowand hasn’t drawn a non-intentional walk since June 28). Orlando Cabrera…is well, Orlando Cabrera. There’s a pattern of ineptitude within the management that’s directly responsible for the Giants not scoring runs. A manager can only operate on gut-feelings over logic for so long until his luck turns and the wheels come off completely.
Bad game, bad August, bad offense. The Giants came out of the toughest portion of the second half and went 6-11 in the process. Then they go ahead and lose to the Astros to top it all off. Blech. Who needs a drink?