Looks Aren't Everything

Everything looked pretty dandy in April for the Giants, sitting on top of the NL West and owning one of the three best records in the league, winning their first seven games and sending other teams away in shame. Offense, defense, pitching, prospective rookies... Everything seemed to be in order for the Giants and it was only a matter of time that they got their slot in the playoffs. But, whether you're talking about the players or the record... looks aren't everything.

So when word got out that Jesse Foppert would join the San Francisco Giants back in April, everyone was ecstatic. Girls were giggling from his pretty-boy good looks and other Giants' fans were excited at the fact that a twenty-two year old rookie is able to throw a fastball as fast as Jason Schmidt can... Everyone but this girl and this Giants' fan. The only thing that was running through my mind was whether or not Foppert will be in the starting rotation, and when it was announced that he would be, I flipped. Sure he's got good stuff, sure he's got strikeout material and can play with the big boys... But he's still a little boy. It's like forcing your baby to walk when it can't even stand (Oh, by the way, that's not good for your babies, makes them develop leg muscles too early or something). Foppert is a rookie, an unstable rookie who belongs in the bullpen, not in the starting rotation. Foppert is able to get through his first few innings with ease, but once the fifth and sixth come around, ALL hell breaks loose.

Alright, granted the Giants have not given him the run support that they should... and granted he's gone up against some tough opponents, but it's the big leagues, buddy. They don't care where you're from or how old you are, if you're not going to compete, then sit back down in the dugout, pop your bubble gum, and spit and cry. Now, now... Foppert HAS come out to compete, and a few times he made me eat my words, but it's not enough. Alright, he can't last five innings against Kevin Brown and the Dodgers, it was expected, I didn't ask for anything more, I sat in my corner and ate my peanuts as Brown hammered the Giants.

So onto Oakland, where I had new hopes for the young right hander, seeing the pattern of his outings... good, bad, good, bad, good, bad, good, bad... Okay, GOOD this time! Didn't even get through three innings. Three. Come on, Fop... come ON! In his last win, the Giants scored eleven runs for him, and in the game against the A's, the Giants gave him a 5-2 lead. Well, it wasn't enough, was it? Do the Giants have to score eleven runs in ALL of his starts? It would be nice, but it ain't gonna happen. Fop left the game a mess for his bullpen to clean up after, and Chad Zerbe got the loss he didn't deserve. This wasn't just any other game, and even though each game is important, racing for the pennant is first priority in the course of the season. With the Dodgers in a dead tie for first place, the Giants HAD to win the rubber match in Oakland, but what looked to be a nice outing turned into a nightmare. I gave better efforts on my Physics final than Foppert gave that day. Well, good thing the Dodgers lost their game as well, so the standings are still preserved, for now. But we can't depend on them to lose every time we lose, can we? We certainly can't, Jesse.

I shook my head every time the wonderful network of KICU showed shots of Felipe in the dugout as he came out to remove each pitcher in the second game at Oakland. Leave it to the Giants to almost set the record of the most pitching changes in one inning, and there was Tim Worrell to bail them out again. Jerome Williams, in place of Kurt Ainsworth, also pitched a good first four to five innings, but rookies will be rookies. Ainsworth has developed like no rookie I've ever seen, and to him I bow my head and tip my hat, too bad he's the injured one. So in game two in Oakland, Williams gave up a few runs and in comes the bullpen.

Oh yes, the beautiful and lovely bullpen. I no longer have that nice, tingly sensation of relief that runs through my spine when Dave picks up the phone to call the bullpen. The relievers aren't too good at their job of relieving, the starting pitchers or my heart rate. The great start of Joe Nathan has long passed through everyone's mind as a piece of Giant history and FRod is so inconsistent I wouldn't pay him to do well because even he wouldn't know if he will. The only bright spots of the bullpen are Scott Eyre and Tim Worrell (their closer and savior), granted they've also had their rough nights. Jason Christiansen has done a decent job coming off his injury and Zerbe and Jim Brower have been able to give few but productive innings.

How many times has the bullpen spoiled wins for their starters? Too many. And here was a bullpen that everyone was thrilled about in April, but it veered its ugly head after giving the Giants a fantastic start. The Giants won't be bringing Eric Gagne or John Smoltz to San Francisco anytime soon, so the bullpen better start shaping up now or no matter how many runs get put on the board (when it happens, WHEN it happens), it wouldn't matter going into the eighth and ninth innings knowing that your dependable bullpen will blow the win.

A majority of the Giants' losses came with a lack of run production, and as frustrating as those are, it's even more frustrating going back into the clubhouse and seeing the guy/guys who couldn't pitch you out of a game, thinking "I got your back today, why didn't you have mine?"

Maybe if Foppert and Williams became relievers and Zerbe and either Brower or Christiansen became starters... Don't bother getting the tomatos and I won't bother ducking. All signs are pointing towards giving Foppert a reliever position, and why not? He pitches hard and he pitches strikes, but he can't last for more than four innings... what else is there to look for in a reliever?

So, looks aren't everything. This season looked to be profitable to the Giants in April, but here they are, sweating and struggling to maintain on top against their long time nemesis, who are now challenging the Giants, but it doesn't look like the Giants are willing to accept that challenge. Their first place standing has been in jeopardy more than once in the past two weeks when the Giants can easily be a more comforting three or four games ahead of the Dodgers.

Remember those days when the Giants were eight and half games ahead of the Dodgers? Remember how mad you were when the Giants lost their second, third, fourth, and fifth game? Well, here we are, 44-30. Don't look too hot anymore, huh? Looks aren't everything.

Sara Kwan was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area. She currently writes game recaps, other articles, and is one of the Two Giant Prophets for SFDugout.com. Any comments or questions about the article, baseball, or the meaning of life can be sent to Sara at shoot_hoops33@hotmail.com

The views expressed in the columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the site's publisher, writers, or other staff members. The content on this site may not be redistributed without the expressed consent of SFDugout.com.

Giants Farm Top Stories