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Astronomics

Houston Astros blog by a long time fan. Go Astros.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Hello San Francisco

The Astros are headed to San Francisco, home of the most ineffective home field advantage in the game. They are ten games under .500 at home. How about a look at what has gone well and what has gone wrong for the Giants this season.

Positives

1. Omar Vizquel- If the Giants were a successful ball club this season you would be hearing a lot more about Omar Vizquel. You have probably heard him described as the best defensive shortstop to ever play the game. Well he is the best that I have seen. He leads all shortstops in career fielding percentage. His fundamentals are unmatched. His footwork is instinctive. His throws are as accurate as they come. His arm is still pretty strong. The only complaint about Omar is that he is a little below average at the plate. This season though, he is hitting .294 with 111 hits and 50 runs, which is much better than his average season at this point. And luckily for the Giants, they had the guts to sign this old guy to a three year deal. Smart move. By the way, one of ym favorite things about this game is watching Omar Vizquel barehand routine groundballs, rather than use his glove. He calls it a bad habit. Thats how good he is.

2. Jason Ellison- The ROY candidate has apparently developed a little quicker than they thought he would. He is turning in a good rookie season and can play the entire outfield but Jason has slumped recently. Willy Taveras gets the edge for ROY in my book.

3. Tyler Walker- Walker has managed to rack up 19 saves this season. He is performing about as well as a third string closer can perform converting 19 saves and blowing just 5 on a fairly weak ballclub. When Benitez went down Brett Tomko got an audition and then they plugged Walker in. It didn't take long for the giants to trade for Latroy Hawkins who of course has a no close clause in his contract. After Felipe Aloe got fed up with Hawkins he demoted him and repromoted Walker.

4. Moises Alou- I can do Alou in ten words. Good player. Great season. Bad team. Sometimes injured. Damn Bartman.

5. Pedro Feliz- Apart from Alou, Feliz has been their best offensive player. He started the season on a tear and cooled off for a while. Everything I hear about Feliz is along the lines of this: Pedro can play a lot of positions but he is below average or average at all of them. His bat wroks him into the games. He is at his best offensively when he is patient, but he is a classic free swinger who hits for a low average and strikes out a lot. Like many free swingers, he hits for power and drives in runs.

6. Mike Matheny- Like Vizquel, Matheny was brought into San Francisco because they are among the best defensively at their position. Also like Vizquel, Matheny is having a career year offensively.

Negatives

1. Barry Bonds- The legend has a bad leg. He is by far the most valuable player on the Giants and probably in the game when he is healthy. But he is worthless at the moment. This is the principle reason the Giants are struggling. When you have so much money invested in one player, if he doesn't play

2. Armando Benitez- He tore his hamstring in the beginning of the season. He is in his first year of a three year contract and is expected to return this season... Expected to return to a team that is 15 games under .500 and have nearly fallen out of the race.

3. Marquis Grissom- They released him upon requiring Randy Winn last week. All you can really say is that he didn't perform. I like Marquis and I don't want to say anything about him other than that he is having a poor season and that I hopes he gets picked up, hopefully by the Astros.

4. Kirk Reuter- Kirk has seen been the giants' third starter for a long time now. He has seen better starting pitchers and worse starting pitchers come and go. He has been somewhat of an anchor to that rotation. From 1997 to 2003 he posted winning records. During that span his ERA was above 5.00 only once. In 2004 he went 9-12. That year has proven to be a transition from a solid second or third starter to a 2-7, 6.00 ERA starting pitcher.

5. Latroy Hawkins- It is very hard to think that the Giants were willing to give up Jerome Williams and David Aardsma for Latroy Hawkins. Hawkins is limited to a setup role, not because of his stuff, but probably a combination of inconsistent location and something mental. He has never had prolonged success as a starter or a closer. San Francisco's hopes for him to fill up a low profile closer role on a barely contending club blew up in smoke, as Hawkins quickly demoted himself with some bad outings. He is 1-5 with a 4.28 ERA on the season.

6. Noah Lowry- He is 6-11 with a 4.59 ERA. But the potential is there in 113 strikeouts, just 4 behind Roy Oswalt. He is young enough to be excused of a rough season with a couple of good outings.

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