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This is another in our occasional series of posts wherein we update you on the status of the nonstop schadenfreude express which is the 2008 San Francisco Giants…

Metaphor for the 2008 Giants.

Philadelphia and San Francisco were tied at 4 in the bottom of the tenth inning. The Phillies had runners on first and second. Right fielder Geoff Jenkins grounded the ball sharply to the left of second baseman Eugenio Velez, who bent down to pick it up and…oops!…the ball went under his glove.

And that’s how the Giants lost Sunday’s game, with Howard scoring from second on the play.

Some Giants fans will point to the team’s talented young pitchers as reason for hope. But this optimism takes for granted that, when those pitchers induce ground balls and shallow pop-ups, that the fielders will be able to catch the ball and throw it to the appropriate base.

After yesterday’s game, we can no longer assume.

The Giants made three errors Sunday. The first was charged to shortstop Emmanuel Burriss, who threw wide of first base in the third inning. The second was charged to third baseman Jose Castillo. And then, of course, there was Velez.

Giants starter Tim Lincecum allowed four runs in six innings – none earned. But don’t feel too bad for Lincecum. He made a few mistakes of his own. He had two wild pitches. One led to a run.

Today, the San Francisco Chronicle suggests that fielding errors are the price you pay when you stack your team with young players:

Any team that pushes youth makes a Faustian bargain. There will be moments of uninhibited enthusiasm and excitement, but the payback will be lots of mistakes.

There’s some truth to this. A majority of the Giants’ errors this season have been made by the team’s younger players. But here’s the rub: just because you’re one of San Francisco’s younger players doesn’t necessarily make you young.

Castillo, who is 27 years-old, is in his fifth major league season and leads the team with six errors. Brian Bocock, who actually is young (23 years-old) and is filling in while Omar Vizquel is out, is second on the team with three errors. After Castillo, Bocock and Fred Lewis (who is 26), the Giants have no starters under 30. Moreover, the only reason those guys are playing at all is because of injuries to older players.

So let’s not pretend that the Giants are in the middle of a youth movement. The Giants are not a young team (they’re ranked 15th in average team age). They are not a good defensive team (they are among the bottom third of teams in fielding percentage and errors).

This weekend, all three games against the Phillies were decided by one run and two of the games went to extra innings. Of course, the Giants lost two of three — further proof that in close games defense makes the difference.

That’s more bad news for the Giants.

12 Responses to “San Francisco SuckWatch 2008: The Giants’ defense sucks”

  1. Ummm, so maybe Mrs. Butler isn’t as hot as Mrs. Kotsay or Mrs. Tejada…but if she can cook and ENJOYS IT, that makes her a hot baseball wife.

  2. Lyndsay says:

    maybe I’m AL-biased – I’m kind of over the whole “SF sucks” thing already. I’m kind of hoping Baltimore comes through again in the Hall of Suckage (I was hoping that they’d top last season) so I can go back to pitying them.

    but how bout the 2008 Tigers Suckfest eh?

    they get 8 walks off Dice-K and can only manage to turn it into 1 run. He practically gave them the 1st five innings as a gift, and they politely said “no thank you, we’d prefer to continue to give YOU the runs.”

  3. Nick Kapur says:

    I don’t know, Lyndsay, at least the Orioles and the Tigers are sort of, kind of, actually trying to win, you know?

    The Giants are running Brian Bocock, Manny Burriss, and Eugenio Velez out there, not to mention overpaid suckfest vets like Durham, Castillo, Aurelia, and Randy Winn.

  4. But Nick, I think we’d both agree that the Giants biggest problem is not young guys like Velez and Burriss, but the contracts they gave to Zito and Rowand. Why sign these guys to big money deals when you have ZERO chance to win anytime soon? Moreover, why try to field a team of 30-somethings, when you know the result is going to be a paltry number of runs scored? Why not focus all your efforts on rebuilding? I think what makes the Giants more pathetic than Baltimore or even Texas is that San Francisco seems to have absolutely no plan.

  5. Sarah Green says:

    Yeah, the Rangers actually DO have a young team! And more young talent in their farm system! Baltimore, too, has finally started to rebuild.

    Though I have sort of been doing a little bit of a Tigers suckwatch myself, just because their suckage is a little more noteworthy than the Giants’ suckage. I mean, at least you’ve heard of most of the guys on Detroit’s roster.

  6. Nick Kapur says:

    Yeah Sarah, the Tigers are noteworthy – that and you also have a personal interest because you called them out in your HOA! And we all know how nothing is sweeter to Sarah Green than to be proven right! ;)

    But actually I think the Tigers will be okay. Sorta. I mean, they still have that offense, which is not going away, and their pitching is kinda bad, but it is going to be a bit better than it has been so far in the long run, because it is not quite *that* bad. Willis will come back, Verlander and Bonderman will improve a bit, etc. I predict they will win 84 games, which isn’t what everyone predicted, but it’s not true sucktitude…

  7. Coley Ward says:

    Detroit’s suckage is certainly more surprising. I think everyone still feels like they’ll start to play better soon. But if Sheffield doesn’t rediscover his swing, and if Polanco’s back problems flair up again, they could be in for a long season.

  8. Nick Kapur says:

    Yeah you are right Coley, although I think the young guys the Giants do have are part of the same problem you are getting at, which is no plan.

    Burriss and Bocock is a prime example – those two guys were both playing in SINGLE A BALL last season, and they weren’t even hitting there! That these guys are anywhere near the major leagues signifies an organization with an utter incapacity to plan for any contingencies. There must literally be at least 30 AAAA-type guys floating around who could put up better production than Burriss and Bocock, while Vizquel is down, and 42-year-old Omar Vizquel was no real kind of plan at SS to begin with!

  9. Another half-assed embarrassment of a column. Blah, blah, blah. The Giants suck. Hilarious.

    “further proof that in close games defense makes the difference.” — really? Hitting and pitching cease to make a difference in close games?

    “There must literally be at least 30 AAAA-type guys floating around who could put up better production than Burriss and Bocock.” — 30? Welcome to reality. This isn’t a fantasy league. You can’t just claim any guy who’s not playing off of waivers. And what would be the point of adding a Replacement Level player anyway. You can’t criticize the team for signing marginally productive veteran players then turn around and criticize them for not doing it. Pick an argument.

    The bigger picture, of course, from this weekend is that the Giants had a legitimate chance to win every game of the series on the road against a playoff-caliber team. That they came up just short on two occasions — since you’re so devoted to the laws of run differential — was just a matter of bad luck, right?

    And yes, I will continue to respond to these pathetic Giants Suck articles.

  10. Lyndsay says:

    “But actually I think the Tigers will be okay. Sorta.”

    “Detroit’s suckage is certainly more surprising. I think everyone still feels like they’ll start to play better soon.”

    I don’t know…a stat from last night’s game that I practically memorized – the Tigers are 0-15 when scoring 4 runs or less in a game. 0-15!!! not only is that putting a HUGE amount of pressure on the offense, but that is pitching suckage to the extreme. methinks they will have some bullpen shuffling to do at the trade deadline before this train gets back on track.

    the Rangers do have young talent (and a clean Josh Hamilton), so I’m kind of surprised that they are in last place right now.

  11. Nick Kapur says:

    MrLomez, the point about the AAAA, replacement level shortstops is just that under no circumstances should a teams *only* fallback option after a 41-year-old shortstop in steep decline be two players who couldn\’t even hit in A-ball last year.

    It\’s less a question of whether the giants could acquire such a player in season as much as, why didn\’t they think of that before the season started? Why don\’t they have some of those guys in double A and triple A already?

    But even in-season, it shouldn\’t be too hard to acquire an AAAA replacement level shortstop via minor trade, or just buying them the way the A\’s bought Jack Cust last year. Teams buy these players all the time, because after all, we are not talking about a hot prospect here, or even any kind of prospect at all, but just a replacement level guy who can fill in until Vizquel comes back. In fact the very definintion of the term \"replacement level player\" is a player who can be easily obtained at minimal cost. That is who I am talking about.

    Bocock and Burriss aren\’t even replacement level, and it\’s not helping either the Giants or their development to have them struggling at the major league level. They are A-Ball players.

    Lastly your point about \"Pick an argument\" because \"You can’t criticize the team for signing marginally productive veteran players then turn around and criticize them for not doing it\" completely misses the point. What Coley and I are saying is that the Giants shouldn\’t be vastly overpaying big name veterans to put up the production that the Giants could be getting virtually for free from AAAA players.

  12. “under no circumstances should a teams *only* fallback option after a 41-year-old shortstop in steep decline be two players who couldn\’t even hit in A-ball last year.”

    Selective memory? Before he tore his achilles halfway through spring training, Kevin Frandsen was that SS to be.

    “But even in-season, it shouldn\’t be too hard to acquire an AAAA replacement level shortstop via minor trade, or just buying them.”

    Really? Who? Other than C, SS is by far the hardest position to fill.

    “The Giants shouldn’t be vastly overpaying big name veterans to put up the production that the Giants could be getting virtually for free from AAAA players.”

    Agree. Agree. Agree. Winn, Roberts, Aurilia, Durham, are HUGE mistakes. But widely available “AAAA” SS just do not exist in the numbers you seem to think they do.

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