Thoughts On a .500 Team

When the Giants departed for Los Angeles, they were 14-14. After going 3-3 on this road trip, they’ve improved to…17-17. That’s .500 ball, a win for every loss. Have the Giants done anything to indicate that they’re anything more than a .500 team (particularly with Pablo Sandoval on the DL for another five weeks or so)?

If I was told before the season started that there would be a baseball team starting an infield of Hector Sanchez/Brett Pill/Charlie Culberson/Joaquin Arias/Brandon Crawford, I would have assumed that it was the Fresno Grizzlies. That’s the reasonable assumption. Each and every one of these guys could (or should) justifiably be in Triple-A right now.

That’s the sad state of the Giants right now:

  • Desperate for offense, they rushed a 22-year old catcher so they could get this kind of production out of him: .267/.274/.350
  • Joaquin Arias, who hit .232/.272/.353 in Triple-A last year, is now the starting third baseman
  • Brandon Crawford has done nothing with his glove to redeem his expectedly terrible hitting
  • Charlie Culberson, who couldn’t even manage a .300+ OBP in Double-A last season, will now presumably be seeing a lot of time at second base; for the record,¬†I think his 7th-inning at-bat paints a pretty clear picture of what we’ll be seeing from him

And Brett Pill…well, I actually don’t mind Pill starting against left-handed pitchers all that much. So long as it isn’t a strict platoon with Brandon Belt. Plenty of southpaws (Joe Saunders included) are much more effective against left-handed hitters, and throwing Pill up there against a guy like Saunders isn’t such a big deal. Similarly, it’s not as though Belt should be sheltered against left-handed pitching. In fact, I think it’s crucial that he gets a steady diet of lefties. But the “Pill starting against left-handed pitchers” issue is merely masking all of the other glaring problems with this team.

In spite of it all, the Giants went 3-3. For all their obvious deficiencies, they’re .500 right now. I fear that’ll be the case all year long. Kept in contention by their pitching and few bright spots on offense, but held back from a postseason berth by the rest of the team. A natural ebb and flow of hope, created and destroyed. And with a second wild card spot, it won’t take much to reach that postseason berth. The Giants will act accordingly.¬†That’s my biggest fear: that the Giants will jeopardize the long-term outlook of the team for the sake of mildly improving their odds this season.

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10 thoughts on “Thoughts On a .500 Team

  1. I find this article hard 2 swallow 4 a few reasons: #1 Everyone was enamored that the giants brought Hector up as opposed 2 whiteside and Stewart…4 his bat. And say what you will but that batting line is a lot better than whitesides or Stewarts could ever be. #2 is that is that starting infield contributed to 7 of yesterday’s 14 hit attack. Crawford was brought up 4 his glove, and ge WILL return to his dazzling glovework. #3 is this: this team is .500, 6 gms out from the Dodgers-yes the dodgers. That team can’t sustain it’s pace forever. Kemp is having an MRI today. And do u really think, other than the front 2, the d rotation can sustain itself? Keep in mind its still barely mid-may, and there’s a long way 2 go. As I remember it, we weren’t so hot in 2010 this time either. This team is not the best team but it certainly is not the worst not even close. The G-men aren’t sacrificing anything yet, not by a longshot. If this is still happening come early august then we can panic.

    • I wasn’t a big proponent of starting Hector Sanchez in the majors, and given that his defense has been a little rusty, I’m still not convinced it was worth rushing him to get whatever production he provided over Stewart/Whiteside. Doesn’t make much of a difference at this point though.

      As for the “7 of 14 hits” thing, that doesn’t really mean anything to me. Bad lineups have good days. That’s random variation for ya.

      I do agree that the Dodgers will regress, but I don’t think they’ll regress to the point where the Giants can catch up.

  2. Take a look at the standings. At this time there are only 14 teams out of 30 above .500. And the best teams, all six of them, are winning just over 60% percent of the time. Only the Dodgers and Texas look dominant, and I’d argue it’s only a matter of time before the wheels fall off on the former.

    • I’m not sure what the point is. .500 is average, so wouldn’t it make sense that roughly half the teams in baseball are above .500, and roughly half are below .500?

  3. I have had enough of Brandon Crawford how many games has he lost us with his glove?
    Crawford has missed a number of balls hit right at hime which were scored basehits when they should have been outs, he has no bat so back to AAA and hopefully someone thinks hes worth anything in a trade.
    Arias should be our shortstop at least he will make the plays out there.

    • I’m not sure either is a viable option at shortstop, to be honest. In the meantime, I’d go with Crawford though, and just cross my fingers that he’ll hit a little and start to dazzle w/ the glove.

  4. Considering the lineup and injuries, 500 is a blessing. It’s survival mode until Pablo gets back. Remember, this team had a solid ba and was getting guys in scoring position before he left. Just hitting league average with RISP, and this team is strong.

    Also, the pen is starting to figure things out. Casilla is a good closer and calling up Hembree at some
    at some point to be the 7th inning guy will help

    • I agree with the “survival mode” thing, but I’m not sure you’re right about the RISP thing. The Giants have been struggling with runners in scoring position all year long.

      And yes, I’m completely in favor of a Heath Hembree call-up.

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