At The All-Star Break It’s a Roller-Coaster Season

First off, before doing an assessment of the G-men at the break, I want to chime in and agree with Alex Pavlovic’s view, made most clear by Grant Brisbee, that all, repeat every single replay review at AT&T Park should be broadcast live to the crowd over and over and from every angle and in highest def slo-mo, while the challenge is ensuing.

This is silicon valley. We should have the best possible view of every single play and all of these should be made available immediately, live to the fans. YES, “ON THE BIG BOARD!”

To which I would add two comments:

1. I love Brisbee’s thought. There should be, superimposed upon the screen as the fans watch the play in question, a “Review Porcupine” – an animated character that replaces the cursor for example, so it can be manipulated by an operator – I’d nominate Grant Brisbee – live, during the game at the park.

The porcupine would clearly point out to fans, to those watching at home and to the secret cabal in the star chamber in New York that decides the fate of games now, what exactly has taken place on the field of play in our park.

and

2. If you aren’t going to do that, at least just use the time to show everyone that cool footage of pre-quake Market Street, San Francisco in 1905 that was dug up, like we did during the Turn-Back-the-Century Game:

AT THE ALL STAR BREAK, IT’S A ROLLER COASTER RIDE

At the All-Star Break the San Francisco Giants’ season feels like we spent six weeks climbing this long, sweetly-delicious first hill of a roller-coaster, rising higher and higher until we were the best in baseball for more than ten days … only to then go flying down the first drop of this ride in the last three weeks of June.

And now we ricket-along clickety-click through the last of the first half, through the guts of this giant ride, bumping along.

We got smoked by the current best team in baseball a few times – who happen to be our brothers and cross-Bay rivals in Oakland. So for me, there’s hurt pride by those losses, but not as much as anger that we now play so many damn Inter-League games that everybody is telling us the DH in the NL is inevitable. (I reiterate – why doesn’t the AL drop the DH and let’s try that for a season and see how much fun we have?)

But I digress.

I’d say the health of team is good: Belt and Casilla were major losses for those six weeks in which we fell so hard and fast.

Michael Morse is not a first baseman. He isn’t comfortable there and after valiant – but often cockamamie – effort, the difficulties affected his batting. He was a BEAST during the front end of the season; doing everything we asked and more at the plate … and what did we do? Well, Bochy experimented again and shattered his rhythm.

Mind you, the injury to Belt forced his hand, and Bochy has a grasp of the helm and knows how long the season is. If he felt he wanted Morse to get the innings in, in case it’s necessary later in the year, I buy it. I didn’t four years ago as much, but nowadays I, like everybody else, just shrug and say, “Well, you know he has won us two championships in the last four years.”

But with the imminent induction of Tony La Russa into the Hall of Fame, it’s a good time to stare at Bochy during times like that.(reminds me of that insane attempt to put Cody Ross in left in August of ’10)

Morse was a mess at first, folks. Love this guy. Love Michael Morse. But his tall, gangly form and lack of experience at the position cost us numerous times. It was a relief to see basic plays completed to satisfaction. Let’s let him get comfortable again back out in left. He was immediately pretty comfortable out there, and now we’ve gone and messed with that rhythm, too. I feel his bat is most important for our team.

This line is here just to say, “Way to go El Tiburon Blanco!” Gregor’s work in substitution is reliable. He’s earning that fourth OF spot covering for Pagan and Morse. The Morse/Blanco platoon in left is the combination we have been looking for. It’s the platoon Torres/Blanco or Melky/Blanco could never have been.

Anyway, Belt is back. And so is Casilla. And Affeldt looks great. I like how when Sergio Romo started to falter we addressed it by using Relief by Committee on the fly.

Pablo is slowly getting back his numbers and has been his usual, exceptional self at third. The errant throws stopped as soon as he began hitting. It has been really nice to see.

Brandon Crawford is a puzzle. Excellent in the field, suddenly hitting well against lefties, now he struggles against righties and remains inconsistent at the plate.

After a great opening in substitution for Scutaro, Brandon Hicks’ numbers did drop off as expected from a rookie. The recent rest helps him, but obviously also costs us. The other role players, Colvin, Perez, Adrianza and Duvall have all had moments of brilliance, but simply don’t have the talent to keep the team afloat during a stretch like we had in June without the pop of the bat of Brandon Belt.

Yes, I said, the pop of the bat of Brandon Belt.

The pitchers deserve credit. It’s hitting that’s been the problem during the slump. Put Morse back in left and let him get his groove back. Move Belt up the lineup.

Finally, the biggest single individual upon whom success of the Giants can be associated is Angel Pagan; our leadoff man, center fielder and energizer. The loss of Pagan during the slump cannot be underestimated.

If we have Morse, Pagan and Pence in the outfield, Sandoval, Crawford, Scutaro/Hicks and Belt/Posey infield and Buster and Hector behind the plate, there should be at least three or four runs a game, minimum. Guys gotta start hitting.

We need to win games with our bats like we were doing in the beginning of the year.

That is what has to happen after the break. I like our chances. It’s just us and the Dodgers out West and if we keep up with them we could have a decent shot at one of the Wild Cards.

But I gotta say, it’s like being halfway through the ride on a roller coaster and my stomach still hasn’t settled from that first drop.

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About mtk

"focus on the relentless flow of the positive river," is a mantram of San Francisco Giants Left-handed Reliever Javier Lopez
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