Notes from a Long Weekend 

* The best moment of the weekend came in the ninth inning of the Giants victory Saturday. Armando Benitez did something I've never seen him do in a Giants uniform: throw splitters and sliders that actually splitted and slud. He gave up a single to a tenacious Choo ("What do you think 'Choo' is short for?" asked the fiancee as she meandered over), but overall he looked like pre-2005 Armando.

The fiancee also pointed out that it was funny to talk about a pitcher's "stuff." "Why not his 'things'?" she pondered.

I sensed a subtle agenda of subversion and mockery, so I ignored her.

* Jonathan Sanchez, welcome to the bigs. I look forward to many jokes about your dirty stuff.

* Jamey Wright, you are forgiven for throwing eight straight meatballs in the fourth inning Sunday. That's two bad outings in 10 starts. Throw out Sunday's uglyfest and a similar inning on May 1 against the Podrays, and his ERA would be in the mid-2's. Thirteen earned runs in two innings, 20 ERs in the other 65. He's pitching like a mid-rotation starter, which is only fair since the Giants' #2 guy is pitching like a #5 starter. Or maybe a #6 starter.

* Barry's 715th home run Sunday came off a belt-high fastball sorta kinda on the outside corner, but not on the black. A "cookie," as Felipe likes to say. The feel-good line goes something like, "Now the pressure is off and Barry can get back to business." I still see him as extremely pitchable. I hope I'll soon be proven wrong, but please come back soon, Moises.

* In one week Travis Ishikawa has gone 5-for-10 with four extra base hits -- love that oppo-field power stroke, Trav! Now if he can only hit this well in double-A ball...kidding aside, the Giants will have to swallow hard to send him down and reinstate Lance Niekro, but I say do it. Give Lance one last run at establishing some consistency. As last night's snoozer in Florida shows, the Giants need all the help against lefties they can rustle up. (Please come back soon, Moises.) With Ishi waiting in the wings, perhaps Niekro will sense the fuego under his culo.

* We might as well call Jason Ellison "Ralph," because this season he's been the Invisible Man. I accurately predicted his first start of the year a couple weeks ago, and with all the talk recently of Finley and Winn needing a breather, it seemed Jason's second start would come yesterday. The planets were converging: lefty on the mound, spacious outfield to patrol, Winn sucking big-time against lefties, and Finley in an ugly slump that's dropped his OPS nearly 200 points in three weeks from a season high of .950 on May 11. One of the two regulars seemed in line to get a rest, no?

No. Apparently Felipe is determined to hold The Pride of Quincy to two at-bats per week.

* Catching up on my reading: here's a fun piece about clubhouse politics, with a lot of ink devoted to the Giants' Mike Murphy.

"The only guy I was a little careful about where I put him was Matt Williams," Murphy says. "I love Matty, but he would get so p——- off and throw stuff after losses. I didn't want anyone to get hurt."


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