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5.05.2004

El Pollo y El Huevo 

I think everyone agrees that the Giants' most glaring roster needs are a big bat behind Bonds (the quadruple B), another horse or two in the starting rotation, and another arm or two in the bullpen.

The fifth starter and back end of the bullpen have been a mess, what with Nen's injury, Schmidt's injury, Hermanson's injury, and the crappy work the Giants got from Estrella and Kevin Walker. The Fresno Shuttle has been in frequent-flyer mode.

The Giants' most recent transaction was to send Kevin Correia back down to Fresno and bring up David Aardsma, who gave up a single in one inning of scoreless relief last night. (Aardsma has yet to pitch a 1-2-3 inning in the majors and is allowing well north of two baserunners per frame.)

With Correia back down, the question becomes who will be the 5th starter this week? Tomko pitched yesterday, and Williams and Schmidt will round out the rest of the Mets series. Rueter can throw Friday vs. the Reds on five days rest, but come Saturday, unless Tomko goes on three days rest, a fifth starter will be necessary. Tyler Walker? Jim Brower? Wayne Franklin? Brower's swingman days seem over, given how often he's being used in short situations out of the bullpen. (Speaking of Brower, how does a guy with a 95-MPH power sinker, a slider and a changeup only strike out 3 batters per 9 innings? With that stuff, he should be closer material.)

As for Franklin, the Giants said they liked the way he was working in short situations against lefties, then in the past couple of weeks he's gotten a little moldy on the bullpen bench while Felix, Herges and Brower have been worked like oxen in a rice paddy. The trio leads the majors in appearances with 17 apiece.

I keep harping on this, but the inability of the starters to go more than 5 or 6 innings is killing this team. If it continues this way, the bullpen will be fried by Memorial Day.

If I were Sabean I would make a move for another starter pronto, an even higher priority than finding a real hitter for right field. My guess is he's crossing his fingers that Tomko will start going deeper into games and Hermanson, when he returns, will be stronger. Compounding the short-start problem is that the Giants aren't going to be busting out to big early leads. Even when the starter pitches well, Alou will be forced to pinch-hit for him in potential run-scoring situations.

This is what Alou might refer to as "el problema pollo-huevo."

[note: muchas gracias al Gran Laz por el copyediting.]




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