Schmidt happened to the Dodgers in a big way.
My friend, Ken (the guy who stands behind his couch during tense Yankee games), maintains that Schmidt should be considered "a waste of talent" until he puts together the 18 win/200+ strikeout season. Brutal, but all those years of reading the New York Post has obviously rubbed off on him and made him prone to the hyperbole. While Schmidt has not put that season on his resume yet, Giants fans may be watching him emerge as an upper-echelon pitcher in the 2003 season. With 6 wins, a 2.43 ERA and 111 K's, Scmidt is already on pace to be considered in the upper tier of starting pitchers by the time the year is complete. So when people like Ken confront Giants fans, tell them to have a cream soda and relax. Schmidt will happen in a way that pleases his teammates and fans, alike.
But let's not forget everything that went wrong in games 1 and 2 of the Dodger series. Serious weaknesses were prevalent.
For one, Giants pitching coach, Dave Righetti, has got some ‘splainin' to do. Why are Giants fans forced to watch pitchers that lack the fortitude to pitch in a big game yet possess the stuff to do it? Look, I know Foppert is a rookie but he has to be professional enough not to make mistakes befitting of a Class A pitcher. A wild pitch, taking too long out of the stretch and giving up RBI hits while ahead in the count (to the opposing pitcher, no less) are inexcusable foibles that led to the Dodgers' three decisive runs on Tuesday night. I'm all for developing a young pitcher and the Giants don't have any other viable alternatives right now, but a pennant race is a tough time to treat a job (such as a Major League pitcher) as an internship. Unfortunately for Foppert, it's "Welcome to the Bigs, Kid. Now win." Like it or not, he has to deal with the situation he's been given and Righetti absolutely must get Foppert to grasp it and grow up swiftly.
In the second game, Dodger hitters were all but standing on home plate while Joe Nathan served up biscuit after biscuit. There was nary an inside pitch. The utter lack of assertion on the mound is a disturbing trend of Giants pitchers (SEE: Livan Hernandez, Shawn Estes and Felix "I Have No Faith In Any Pitch Other Than My Fastball" Rodriguez) and needs to be addressed if they are to get into the 2003 postseason and avoid another Game 6 debacle. Again, Righetti must think about a new approach to maximize his staff's talent.
The hitting is nothing short of atrocious and hitting coach, Joe Lefebvre, has been watching a nearly two month long tailspin whenever a Giant picks up a bat. Barry's coat tails are only so long. It's time that veterans like Aurilia and Alfonzo start producing the runs that seemingly left with Jeff Kent when he jumped on his wheelie-popping motorcycle and headed for Houston. It's also time for Lefebvre and Felipe, for that matter, to light a fire under their sluggers' keisters. For three nights, Giants looked like they had reservations at Spago and Dolce whenever they were at the plate. One can only bear viewing the stats of Giants hitters failing to plate runners in scoring position so many times. I'd rather watch that new idiot, Jason Mraz, and his equally horrid video and song, "The Remedy (I Don't Want to Worry)," than see another "1-for-19 with runners in scoring position" statistic.
Wait a minute. That's not true.
Have you seen or heard this Jason Mraz goon? It makes me want to play the Kyle Farnsworth-Paul Wilson Game with him. If you watched SportsCenter last night, you know exactly what I'm talking about. The Cubs' pitcher Kyle Farnsworth threw one a little too close to Reds starting pitcher, Paul Wilson, after he and Cubs starter, Mark Prior, each went a tad inside earlier in the game. Wilson charged the mound and Farnsworth cut his journey short by blasting Wilson to the turf harder than Lawrence Taylor's best, narcotic-enhanced tackle during the 1986 NFL season. After the hit, Farnsworth decided to do his best impression of Gary Oldman by pinning and hitting Wilson like Christian Slater in "True Romance" just after Oldman cryptically declared it was "White Boy Day." (Great scene and movie, by the way.)
But this is the reaction that Jason Mraz gets out of me. He tries to sound like Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas and he wears a trucker hat slightly skewed, but skewed in such a way that suggests he is putting in a concerted effort to skew it. And you should see the women in the video who are supposedly his fans. Just plain wrong. (When asked what inspires his music, Mraz said, "Smoking. It's religious. Something about seeing your breath, breathing fire, feeling like a dragon or Sinatra. I think sometimes I'll smoke myself new octaves. And dreams.") Now I know why Elvis shot television sets. He was either watching a Jason Mraz video or Jesse Foppert pitch in Dodger Stadium. Ah, the King.
Tonight, the Giants face a very hot A's team but have the good fortune of missing Mark Mulder and arguably the game's best pitcher, Barry Zito. Unfortunately, they cannot put Schmidt on the mound for another 4 games. Now would be a good time for Damian Moss, Jerome Williams and Jesse Foppert to live and learn Jason Schmidt's approach.
Maybe the Giants should just listen to me since – unlike Jason Mraz - I have the REAL remedy: Make the Giants pitchers believe in their stuff and Giants hitters to finally jump on those pitches that Barry will never see. It's that simple. I swear I should be a Major League manager. Or a rock star. If creeps like Bobby Valentine and Jason Mraz can do it, why not me?
Keith Larson writes for SFDugout.com because he's lived and died with the Giants since 1972. He welcomes all words of praise and insult at email@example.com, but mentioning anything having to do with Game 6 is to be done with extreme caution.