Final Ducks 

All season, I kept my own measurement of how well the Giants protected Bonds in the lineup. A slight variation of other media tallies, I called it "Ducks Named Bonds" -- anytime the number five hitter came up with Bonds on base via a walk, single, double, triple, hit-by-pitch, or error. (Huh? Errors don't count toward on-base percentage. I know. This is a pet peeve of mine. I feel a batter should be rewarded for putting a ball in play even if the fielder makes an error. After all, what is a walk? It's the batter getting on base via the pitcher's "error" of not throwing strikes.)

I used this accounting system because I felt it represented the best measurement of how well the Giants cashed in on Bonds's talent for getting on base, not just how well they did when he was walked, walked intentionally, or how the overall #5 slot did.

It's not perfect. For example, it doesn't take into account all the times Bonds scored on efforts by other hitters farther down in the lineup. But the idea is to show how well the Giants #5 hitters -- the ones most likely to be replaced by one big slugger (which Alou is hoping for, and Pee-Mag is warning us not to hold our breaths for) -- are protecting Bonds.

Final tally? Pretty measly. Only 19 XBHs in 328 plate appearances. A lot of RBIs, but when the guy in front of you is getting on base 60% of the time, and the guys in front of him are getting on base at least 30% of the time, you can drive in 80 runs with your eyes stapled shut. Those RBI totals would be much higher if the aggregate #5 hitters had more power.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the "No matter what, Bonds will get walked" excuse is moronic when used to justify not getting a bruiser to hit behind him. Maybe he'll still get walked, but at least he'll get to jog home 30 or 35 times as the ball sails over the fence. Instead of six. Six lousy home runs!

Anything else stand out in the final DNB analysis? A.J. Pierzynski set a Giants record with 27 double plays, right? Ah, but look how many the #5 hitter hit into when Bonds got on base. Not all of those are GIDPs, but you could bet most of them are.

Let's put it this way: When Bonds was on base in 2004, the #5 was the equivalent of Julio Lugo or Royce Clayton but with no wheels whatsoever. The .737 OPS would have qualified for 128th out of 154 major leaguers with enough PA's to qualify for the batting title.

Unfortunately I don't have a record of where the DNB numbers stood on a daily basis, but I can say that if Snow hadn't gotten so hot in the second half, they would have been historically, excruciatingly, pathogenically pathetic...instead of simply pathetic.


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