Could Be Worse...Could Be Raining 

Substitute Marty Feldman in the broadcast booth for David B. Fleming, and the Giants' April would have been positively sunny.

If someone told you on March 30 that the Giants would miss Barry Bonds and Moises Alou for most of April, lose Benitez for the season in the final week of the month, have a first-week bullpen meltdown and a subpar Jason Schmidt, what would you guess their record would be today? 11-12? 9-14?

The 12-11 record is a matter of some luck: a decent schedule that's included 6 with the Rockies and catching the Padres and Pirates in slumps.

But the secret to the modest success so far is the bullpen. After the opening week debacle, the bullpen has been stellar. (All of us who kicked and screamed at the inclusion of Jeff Fassero on the roster should zip it until further notice.)

Since L.A. smacked the 4-spot on Benitez at Dodger Stadium to win their home opener, the bullpen has been in 15 games, thrown 50.2 innings, and surrendered only 36 hits and 10 earned runs. The only blemish is the high number of walks: 31, compared to 32 Ks. Tyler Walker is a main culprit, with two recent outings in which he's walked a whopping eight. But to balance the charity, the hits have been not only rare but of the puny variety -- only two home runs. (I didn't count how many inherited runners they've allowed to score.)

Walking the first two batters of an inning, as Levine did yesterday, is never a good formula for success, but one has to wonder if there's a philosophy behind all this: work carefully, don't groove anything, and better to walk a guy than give up an extra-base hit. It's not good for my acid reflux, but it's worked well so far against weak-hitting teams. I'll call it luck and hope they tighten up the control soon.

Speaking of the bullpen, here's the sportswriter metaphor of the week, cribbed from Henry Schulman's account of last night's game:

When Alou pulled starter Noah Lowry with one out in the fifth inning, after the Pirates took a 4-3 lead on a Deivi Cruz error, the manager grabbed a roll of quarters and started shoveling them into the bullpen carousel.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com