In their everlasting quest at mediocrity, the Giants fumbled yet another game last night to yet another East Coast team. The Phillies got a clutch homerun from a likely suspect (reigning MVP Ryan Howard) and a game-ending homerun from an unlikely one (tiny switch-hitter Shane Victorino). According to Victorino, his walk-off homerun off Kevin Correia was his first opposite-field homerun in nine years of professional baseball.
How is that this team is so boring to watch?
Simple answer: you know what’s going to happen each game. The formula: brilliant starting pitching + Barry Bonds goes 1 for 3 with a walk if he plays (0 for 1 if he pinch hits) + tepid offense that revolves around solo homeruns by contact hitters + bullpen loss.
Less simple answer: the Giants are a last-place team with no personality. Watching last week’s series against the Mets really highlighted this point. In Mets, you have a vibrant team full of exciting players and fun personalities (Reyes, Wright, Delgado) reminiscent of the Oakland squads of the last decade. On the other hand, the Giants, as a veteran team, have always had a business-like demeanor about them, but aside from Omar, there is not one engaging position player on the team (sorry Randy Winn). Even in the past, veterans like JT Snow, Ellis Burks and Benito Santiago captured places in the hearts of Giants fans. Do you have any strong feelings for Dave Roberts? Ray Durham? Mark Sweeney?
The Giants are now tied for last place, yet they are only 6.5 games back of the Dodgers/Padres/DBacks. History says they will make a run at some point this summer, once the bats heat up and Barry gets energized. But will it be enough to get interesting? As the summer unfolds, the old guys (Aurilia, Durham et al.) are bound to lose a step rather than gain one, and the bullpen’s still an issue. The positive is that with great starting pitching, the Giants will never be out of it; to make the leap into contender though, something else has to happen.
[Creepy stomach photo courtesy: Flickr]