Come Back to the Five and Dime!

One week down, and here's how some of those lovable ex-Giants are faring:

* Shawn Estes, once my favorite Lefty Malo, then just another lefty headcase...I wish him the best except against the Giants. Two road starts for the Rox, two wins. 14 IP, only 5 hits allowed. Let's see how he fares a mile high.

* Rich Aurilia, or as my friend Capitol Jimmy liked to call him, "Richie Macho." Seven hits (four doubles, three singles) in 24 ABs, a .750 OPS. Funny, his best game was Friday night against the A's, when I was driving to Yosemite and tuned in for a few innings.

* Benito Santiago: started 5 games. Allowed 5 runners to steal with none caught, kind of strange considering KC is starting five lefties in their rotation. 18 ABs, 1 HR, an .872 OPS, which, if extrapolated to a full season would be his career high. Let's see how he's doing at the All-Star break.

* Kurt Ainsworth and Sidney Ponson: Ainsworth got pounded by Boston in his first start; his second comes tomorrow at Fenway. Ponson has thrown pretty well in two starts. More BBs than Ks but only a 2.19 ERA so far.

* Jose Cruz, Jr: a double, a triple and a homer, all against the Yankees, has pushed him off to a great start (1.269 OPS) as the American League no doubt needs a couple weeks to remember that he can't hit off-speed pitching.

* Tim Worrell: 3 games, 4 IP so far.

* Mark Gardner is still the Giants' bullpen coach as far as I know.

Notes from the weekend: I missed Saturday's game but I caught the highlights over my girlfriend's shoulder as we were slowdancing at the Iron Door Saloon. ("Are you watching the baseball highlights," she said as I suspiciously stopped turning her. "Mmmmmmmmm.......no," I replied, waiting for the final score to flash onto the screen. "Damn, they lost.")

Yesterday's late game allowed us to catch the final few innings and the big comeback on the car radio after an excellent late lunch at an air-conditioned Mexican joint in Lodi and a drive through the Delta. Once again, I ask: first-pitch fastball to Pedro Feliz...why? Not that I'm complaining, but I'm not going to get too excited about Feliz's success until he starts getting clutch hits off sliders down and away (or laying off them until he gets a fastball to hit, which is what Alfonzo did right after Feliz's big pinch hit).


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