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8.21.2006

Noah Problem 

Just got back from the yard where I saw my first game in what seemed months. Definitely the first time I've attended a Giant victory since -- zounds! Could it be early June? I was at the Schmitty 16-K game...then...hmm, err, ahem, just checking the ticket rotation. Wow. A lot of uglyfinders, as Krukow might say.

Noah Lowry pitched a gem tonight, but great pitching never seems quite so viscerally great from the bleachers. I didn't notice until the 7th or 8th inning he had a two-hitter, his pitch count was low and he hadn't walked a batter. I didn't realize until I got home that measured by game score, Lowry nailed one of the top five performances in the National League this year.

Lowry's tally: 88. To compare, Schmidt's game score in the 16-K game was 84. Top game score this year in MLB was 95, for John Lackey's one-hitter with no walks and 10 K's against Oakland on July 7.

Another thing that hit me over the head tonight: Randy Winn is possibly the worst leadoff hitter in the major leagues. There are a few regular leadoff guys with worse slugging percentages than Winn's .399, but not many. There are a few with OBPs worse than Winn's .322, but not many. I could find only one with a combined OPS worse than Winn, Houston's Willy Tavares. At least Tavares is a threat to steal a bag -- 24 out of 30 this year. Winn is 8 for 16, an unacceptable rate.

Winn is well below his career averages, just as he was well above them for his little moment in the late-season sun last year. Even if he reverts to career averages the next two years of his contract, the Giants would do well to find a better leadoff candidate. Egads, if Winn is a cornerstone of next year's offense, the Giants will need one of the greatest pitching staffs in the history of human sportific endeavor. And that's just to reach .500. We're talking so much Punch-and-Judy, we're going to need stunt-double Punches and Judys.

(Editor's note: Huh?)

At least Lowry's performance tonight gives me hope that next year, with Lowry and Cain anchoring the rotation, we can show up any given night and see a special pitching show.

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