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5.15.2006

Nathanize Me 

As "Has Anybody Here Seen" Hank Schulman of the Chronicle notes this morning, seven Giants relievers pitched Saturday and Sunday, and four of them started innings by walking the leadoff man. Three of them scored.

The Dodgers' winning rally yesterday was started with a leadoff walk to Ramon Martinez.

When you look up the word "AAUUURRRGGGGHHHHH!" in the dictionary, there is a picture of Steve Kline walking Ramon Martinez to lead off an inning just after the Giants have scratched their way back to tie the game on a hit off Mike Matheny's pink bat.

I never thought that I would see /
A thing as lovely as a pink bat held by Matheny


Thanks, Steve Kline, for pooping all over our little misty-eyed Mother's Day moment. You dirtbag.

I say from now on Felipe should Nathanize any reliever who comes in and walks the leadoff guy, unless said leadoff guy is Albert Pujols. By "Nathanize," I don't mean trade him to the American League and watch his career blossom; I mean do what Felipe did in the 2003 playoffs, game three of the NLDS:

Giants-Marlins tied 2-2, Nathan enters to start the eighth and immediately walks the leadoff guy on four pitches. Zip -- out comes Felipe with the hook. It didn't hurt the Giants, as Felix pitched two scoreless with four Ks after that.

Felipe was actually doing the kid a favor; in game 2, Nathan got shelled in the sixth, allowed the Marlins to take a two-run lead, and the game was essentially over.

Felipe put him right back out the next day. No doubt Nathan was gunshy and danced around the strike zone. Felipe was absolutely right in yanking him ASAP.

Flash forward to 2006. It's time to start the practice anew -- serve notice to the bullpen that they need to throw strikes, no matter if a few of them are hit over the wall. Allowing the Ramon Martinezes of the world to start game-winning rallies with free passes is inexcusable.

And as soon as Brian Wilson is ready, Scott Munter should be Fresno-bound. Spare us the torture of watching him throw sinker after sinker out of the strike zone -- except for the ones that are smacked hard through open holes in the infield. The jig is up. Unless he learns another pitch, the guy will fondly remember his two nice months of major-league success followed by years' worth of meals at the Altoona Denny's.

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Oh yes: congrats to Kenshin for guessing that Lance Niekro would be the first member of the Giants Hackxis of Evil to break the .300 OBP barrier (and fall back below it the next day).

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