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Wild Card Watch
by Gabriel Desjardins on Aug 20, 2004
Aug. 17: The Giants hold a one and a half game lead in the Wild Card. While Chicago suffered through an awful west coast trip, the Giants built up a five-game winning streak. In fact, it looks like the Giants could win 90 games this year! That's the good news. The bad news is that the Cubs' remaining schedule is just a bit easier than the Giants. They play fewer games against teams that are over .500. In fact, they don't have another game against a contending team until October 1st, when the Braves visit Wrigley. The Giants have four against Atlanta, six against San Diego and six against Los Angeles. Of course, the Giants also have six against Arizona, a gimme that's nowhere on Chicago's schedule.
And what about San Diego? They've got two against Atlanta, seven against LA, six against the Giants -- and, the worst news of all -- six against the Cardinals. No matter how good you think the Padres are their schedule is about two games tougher than Chicago's or San Francisco's. Two games isn't much to make up, of course, and none of these teams are the odds-on favorite to win the Wild Card, but the Cubs have a very slight edge over the Giants, who in turn have a slightly larger edge over the Padres.
Absolutely No Cheering!
Aug. 16: Giants vs. Expos. I was sitting around during batting practice and Expos starter John Patterson was playing catch in right field. He lost the handle on the ball and nearly hit three security people in the head before the ball passed literally one foot under my seat and bounced off the concrete step. Ouch!
Though he struck Bonds out looking, he had control problems and walked Kirk Rueter, of all people, to load the bases. That was it for Patterson.
7th inning, Bonds to the plate. A bunch of people at the front of my section rise to their feet, and…security comes by and tells them to sit down. "No standing up!" they warned. Are you kidding? No standing up when your star player comes to the plate? What's next? No more wave? Of course, they didn't bother tossing out the obnoxious drunk behind me. But I digress…
The Giants Bid Adieu to Neifi…
Aug. 14: The Giants released Neifi Perez. It might have taken a few years, but even Brian Sabean now understands that you don't pay $3 million a year to a backup shortstop just because he hit .260 at Coors Field. In the wonderful moment of self-delusion, Neifi's agent told the Chron that Neifi never felt like he was "given a job and a 100% opportunity." But Neifi got to start 79 of the Giants' first 107 games. And he hit .232. He hit just six home runs in his last 1256 plate appearances, less than just about every major leaguer except Juan Pierre (who compensates with a career .306 average) and Alex Sanchez (.282). Neifi got lots of chances -- Seattle released Rich Aurilia after fewer than 300 bad plate appearances.
Not to be outdone in the self-delusion department, Giants assistant GM Ned Colletti added that "Cody Ransom is the future." Now I'm sure Cody's a great guy, but he's almost 29, and he hit .233 in 381 games in AAA. Sure, he'll hit better than Neifi (who wouldn't?), but what you should take from this discussion is this: the Giants have nothing resembling a shortstop above A ball. Nada. Zero. Zilch. AAA second baseman Jamie Athas is playing out of position at short, as his 25 errors attest. AA is even emptier. The emperor has no clothes.
Now if Brian Sabean has really learned anything the last few years, we could see Cody Ransom at short next year. No, he's not going to hit very well, but he saves Sabes $2.5 million, which could be spent on…I don't know…maybe a starting pitcher?
by Gabriel Desjardins on Aug 20, 2004