Sweet Sixrteen? Not in the case of the Giants, who have now been blanked in that number of games this year.
That's a number the Giants should be celebrating. Wednesday's (choke, gag) battle with Chicago at Wrigley marked the 16th consecutive game in which San Francisco pitchers allowed three runs or less. That ties a record that dates back to the dead ball era, and yet the Giants are just 10-6 in those games -- and in the last five losses they amassed a grand total of ONE FREAKING RUN!
Tell me if you've heard this before. Uh, they can't hit. Sorry, the secret is out.
The Giants are setting pitching records left and right. Even Jonathan Sanchez has decided not to suck -- at least for now. But the offense has elevated ineptitude to a whole new level. Jeez, John Wayne Bobbit wasn't this impotent. And it's not like that fact is lost on the team.
Said Aubrey Huff:
"This pitching staff keeps you in the game so many... every day, really. The worst start you have is two runs in seven innings. Take the other day with Lincecum. We had our Cy Young out of the game in the fifth because we couldn't score. It's been very, very frustrating for us as an offense."
And for the pitchers, I'm sure, as Timmy Franchise evidenced when he went off on Saturday. And, by the way, it's not a walk in the park for us fans, either.
Back to Huff Daddy:
"We're up there hacking away and not really working anybody. We'll get our hit an inning, it seems like, and that doesn't do anything unless it's a homer."
Yup, it's chicken or feathers with these guys, and we're filling a lot more pillows than buckets. This is the same Huff who noted during a previous Giants slump (and there have been many) that a 1-0 deficit seemed like 10. It might as well be.
Mike Krukow hit in on the head Wednesday when a walk put a runner on base with two gone in the eighth. "That's a rally," sayeth The Kruk. Sad, but true. How long before he and Duane Kuiper get absolutely giddy over the prospect of a three-ball count?
What a waste. Do you reallize this team is 74-22 when they score at least three runs? Do you know what Major League team has a better mark that that? That's right...NOBODY! If this lousy bunch of sticks could muster 3-4 runs a night, they'd win the division in a cakewalk. The damn thing would have been over in August. Instead, the intellectually bankrupt "pitching only" modus operandi of Brian Satan, uh, Sabean (there I go again) has again allowed the Giants to spit in the face of fortune.
Pennants? World Series rings? A Giants GM craves not these things. They lead to the Dark Side.
This isn't a very smart team. They don't do the little things that create runs. They don't move runners, they don't go first-to-third on singles, and God forbid they should bunt -- Bruce Bochy would rather surrender a limb than surrender an out. They have no team speed, by design, forgoeing any kind of reasoned attack for the hope of the three-run bomb. The Giants play for the big inning -- and lately they've had about as much success as the guy who dreamed up New Coke -- or Pablo Sandoval.
Is there a bigger disappointment to this season than the Kung Fu Panda? After all of the press about Camp Panda and his desire to be a lean, mean hitting machine, this guy let himself go in a real White Goodman kind of way (why Dodgeball didn't win an Oscar is still a mystery). Panda will need a major hot streak just to bat his rather considerable weight, and it's sad to think a guy who captured our hearts just a year ago may actually eat himself out of the league. I'd never before seen an entire signing bonus spent on Krispy Kremes.
Let's take a close look at the most recent offensive debacle (one of many this year). Randy Wells, Randy Freakin' Wells, a guy who has been about as consistent as Dick Cheney's EKG, tosses 7 2/3 innings of goose eggs -- and it shouldn't have happened.
First Inning: Runners at the corners with one out, the big guns coming up. Seven pitches later (none of which had the velocity of a Tim Lincecum change-up) Buster Posey and Pat Burrell are strikeout victims and the threat is dead.
Second Inning: Jose Guillen opens with a double. Pablo Sandoval wastes an out with a grounder to short, so the fly ball that followed off the bat of the perennially-struggling Juan Uribe does nothing but move the runner to third, where he dies. Had Sandoval done his job, the fly was deep enough that even Guillen, the slowest man in baseball not named Benjie Molina, could have signed autographs en route to the plate and still scored comfortably.
Hits? Probably too much to ask for. My kingdom for a productive out!
Eighth Inning: Travis Ishikawa draws a two-out walk as a pinch hitter (rally time!), Cody Ross follows with a double to put the tying runs in scoring position, but Freddie Sanchez strikes out on four pitches, the last of which missed the strike zone by 1,452 miles (that's an approximation).
Wow. That Wells has Cy Young written all over him. Of course that's because someone got him with a Sharpie while he was sleeping. To add insult to injury, Carlos Marmol finished the game off by fanning Sanchez, Huff, Posey and Burrell in succession while managing to throw just one fastball for a strike.
As if the offensive struggles weren't enough, defense isn't helping. Posey's wild throw that plated the second run was poor, to be sure, but how about those hops from Panda? Come off the bag, you fat tub of goo! Another outing like that and I might suggest solving the problem Vegas style and dropping him in a hole in the desert. Judging from performance, anything over six inches deep will get the job done because he ain't gonna climb out.
This is a collection of parts, not a team. Wanna see an NL West squad play team baseball? Check out Colorado -- and the Giants go there next. Great. Coors Field: land of Ryan Splibourghs, Neifi Perez and a host of other Giants horrors. How fitting. A team that hasn't a clue how to finish going up against the division's ultimate fast closer.
At least Sabean can get a look up close at how its supposed to be done, even if the example is in the other clubhouse.