In baseball there are two kinds of suckage – ordinary, run-of-the-mill “suckage,” and spectacular, 100-loss level “total suckage.” In the past two weeks, the San Francisco tranwreck express seems to have veered off the track of awesome HD flatscreen total suckage and back onto the track of boring, basic cable suckage.

On one hand, the team is in the throes of a five-game losing streak, but on the other hand, several positive developments have occurred which have made GM Brian Sabean so giddy with optimism that he is now declaring publicly that the Giants are still in contention this year and that he will not be trading away any veterans this season.

Let’s look at what has gone the Giants’ way of late…

– Barry Zito has returned from his 10-day banishment to the bullpen (during which time he did not make a single appearance), and miraculously reeled off three decent starts in a row, all of which he rightly deserved to win (although, of course, the lousy offense behind him insured all three wound up as Giants losses).

– Omar Vizquel made his triumphant return from the disabled list and is off to a blazing start at the plate, posting a .360 batting average and a .907 OPS in his first 8 games.

– Better yet for the team, Vizquel’s return and the “emergence” of Manny Burriss as a middle infielder who can post an on-base percentage of at least .260 means that single-A shortstop Brian Bocock has been optioned to Fresno where he can now be overmatched at the plate by triple-A pitchers rather than major-league pitchers.


– After a magical hamstring injury which helped him magically recover his hitting stroke, Ray Durham has gone on a 10 for 19 tear which has seen his batting average skyrocket from .247 to .300.

– Lone rotational standout Tim Lincecum continues to be one of the awesomest starters in the game, leading the entire major leagues with 63 strikeouts and placing third with a 1.92 ERA. Of course, he has to be nearly perfect with the terrible offense and defense he has playing behind him, but is there any more watchable starting pitcher in the majors right now?

– After spending the first month of the season last in the major leagues in runs per game, the Giants have finally clawed themselves into 29th place, ahead of the even more woeful San Diego Padres.

happyland.jpgSo with all this good news, can we really call Brian Sabean crazy for thinking the Giants might still have a chance to contend this season?

Yes. Why yes we can. The poor man has clearly lost his marbles and is now living in Magic Happy Land, where chocolate rivers flow clean and sweet, Roger Clemens retired quietly in 1996, and the presently 17-28 San Francisco Giants are going to make a playoff run in 2008. Judging from this picture, apparently they also have a cute white puppy there too.

Park adjusted, the Giants still have the worst offense in baseball. Their defense is also terrible, 26th in the majors in defensive efficiency. Legendary gloveman Omar Vizquel is back, but it is hard to picture him improving the team’s defense, given that their gloves were the only reasons Bocock and Burriss were anywhere near a major league ballpark, and that Vizquel is playing with a knee brace, on the heels of a major knee surgery, at age 42.

The Giants have the second worst record in the majors, and are on pace for 101 losses. But Brian Sabean thinks they are still in contention, and won’t be trading any of his aging veterans for young talent. No wonder he was recently voted the worst general manager in the game today.

4 Responses to “San Francisco SuckWatch 2008: Some Giants not sucking quite as hard as they used to suck”

  1. Actually the Zito getting better isn\’t exactly true. His ERA in his last 3 starts may have been sub 4.00 but his WHIP in the same time period is 1.81.

  2. A much fairer assessment than the last few efforts. I think you’re coming around to the idea that this Giants team, though an admittedly pathetic basement-dwelling bunch, is pretty much your run of the mill shitty team.

    But keep an eye on the bullpen. If that goes haywire, the Giants could be in for some historical lows.

    By the way, remember this comment in regards to the Burriss/Bocock platoon at SS,

    “There must literally be at least 30 AAAA-type guys floating around who could put up better production than Burriss and Bocock.”

    How is the Ching-lung Hu SS experiment working out for your Dodgers? What’s his OPS, like .012?

  3. Nick Kapur says:

    MrLomez, I see what you were trying to do there with the jab at Chin-lung Hu and the comparison to Bocock and Burriss, but that analogy just doesn’t hold water.

    Hu is a nearly major-league ready shortstop thought of as one of the best defensive shortstops in the entire minor leagues, and has also shown the ability to hit triple-A pitching. Granted he has struggled in a part-time role in his first extended stint in the majors, but it is much more difficult to hit well when you aren’t getting regular at-bats.

    But like I said, at least Hu has shown the ability to hit minor league pitching in the past. Burriss and Bocock, who don’t have nearly the defensive reputation Hu does to begin with, couldn’t even hit back in SINGLE-A ball last year. It doesn’t mean Hu is a lock for major league success, but at least Hu is a big-time prospect, whereas Bocock and Burriss are not.

  4. Knock Bocock’s bat all you want, but the kid has as mean a glove as any. Of SS with 200 Innings or more, only Tulo, and Yunel Escobar have a better Revised Zone Rating. And he’s still about .005 points ahead of Hu.

    And my point all along has not been to defend Sabean or Bocock or Burriss, but rather that it’s no just as easy as picking up the phone to find a Replacement Level (AAAA) SS. It’s an extremely low-supply position.

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