Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Random Thoughts:The Giants and Sabean by Ed Stern

Marty; A lengthy article in this morning’s paper about the Giants “search for a late inning savior”. In commenting on the need for a closer and the emergence of Joe Nathan as one of the games outstanding “late inning saviors” Sabean was quoted as saying “We all kick ourselves in the butt for not thinking he could have done it here but we got the position player we wanted(Pierzynski). Joe didn’t show the signs here of being able to pitch late in the game, when the game was on the line. He really didn’t show he could do it in the ninth inning”.

Click below for more about the Giants by Ed Stern!

Does Sabean mean to be taken seriously? In 2003 Nathan had a won-lost record of twelve and four. He was used almost exclusively in late inning situations. The fact that he won twelve games in the late innings meant that the team was coming from behind to win the game. One might reasonably conclude that “the game was on the line” when he racked up those twelve wins.

He had an ERA of 2.96; opposing teams batted .196 against him; he had 83 strikeouts and 33 walks; walks plus hits divided by the number of innings pitched came to 1.06.

Sabean is too smart to intend we take him at face value. He made a poor trade. When he made the trade there were more than a few ordinary fans, who see a few games during the year and watch many more on TV, who questioned the wisdom of the deal. Pierzynski is a good ball player but they paid far too high a price for him. Nathan’s success this year was small surprise to many of us. Sabean is trying to make the best of a bad situation. Nathan will haunt him for many years, unfortunately.

The Giants rotation is getting healthier. Hermanson and Tomko are throwing into the late innings. Schmidt, despite the aberrant showing the last time out, is a likely Cy Young winner. Williams had a strong game the other day.

This leaves Rueter, an overrated pitcher if ever there was one. He is rapidly earning a place as the number five pitcher in the rotation, rather than the number two man, as some were hailing him earlier. This is a pitcher who throws a batting practice pitch most of the time.

It is frequently argued by those impressed with Rueter’s talent, that the Giants play at over a .600 clip when he starts.

This is a meaningless statistic unless one was to examine each of these games to determine the role Rueter played in the win. The likelihood is, based upon his record over the years. that he had trouble getting out of the fifth inning in most of these games and gave up 3 or 4 runs during that brief appearance. The fact that the Giants won the game may have had very little to do with Rueter’s contribution. The Giants won more than their share of games these past three or four years.

This is still a difficult team to fathom. They looked terrrible this week against the Padres in two games at home. They went on the road, played St. Louis. probably the best team in the league, won the first game with a great performance by Hermanson. They won today’s game, which I didn’t see, in ten innings. They probably had a decent bullpen effort to pull that off. LA is on a major winning streak, yet the Giants remain in striking distance of them, despite their pitching woes.

One of the happiest developments of the first half of the season, for the Giants, is the play of J.T.Snow since his return from the DL. He has been hitting as well as he has ever hit, with a confidence which allows him to lay off bad pitches and when the good ones come over, he doesn’t miss them too often. He is reaching the fence with some of his hits, which he didn’t do too often these last two or three years. Some of this may be due to hitting directly in front of Barry, but he started getting his hits before he was moved from the second slot. He continues to play an incomparable first base.
The team can only keep it’s fingers crossed, hoping that this late in life resurgence lasts into playoff time.

This team continues to need a strong pitcher or two for the bullpen. Perhaps Sabean, in the next few weeks, can make up for the loss of Nathan. It will take a great deal of doing.



1 Anonymous { 07.27.04 at 1:44 am }


One thing about Nathan — in last October’s pivotal game in Miami, Nathan came in and his first batter was a four pitch walk, 4 pitches not near the strike zone — Alou immediately went out and pulled him, and Nathan basically went off, publicly and in the clubhouse against management — I think in that moment he was history, his trade was less about talent and potential than about being a team player in management’s eyes.

Getting a front line catcher was not really critical, Torrealba and a solid backup were present, with a catcher in the minor league system rising on schedule–moving an outspoken challenge to management ( Nathan) seemed to be more critical than assessing his talent. Also at the time of the trade, it is unclear how Worrell was evaluated — surely they must have known his street value would be up even if his 9th inning reliability was in question.

What has really screwed up the Giants this year is defensive play —from a team consistently near the top since the ’86 Rosen / hum baby days, this team is in the middle of the pack at best — and this has truly hurt a pitching staff which needs all the help it can get to be dominant ( especially Reuter)– another thing is team speed seems to be off compared to past years — and the Nen factor has been really crushing

The Giants are on track right now to win 88 or so –only 7 or 8 games off the 95 which would get them the division title —a fall off on team defense and speed, and the absence of Worrell and Nathan –yeah these are easily a difference of seven or eight critical games — and that may be a huge factor not only in making the playoffs, but in being competitive in them.

2 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:14 pm }

3 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:51 pm }

You must log in to post a comment.