These days, not even the players know what exactly is going on with their team.
For the case in point, Jesse Foppert arrived at the McAfee Coliseum in Oakland expecting to start, and found out he would instead be sitting on the creaky old benches in the bullpen.
"I don't really know if they needed a reason -- just walking too many guys; that's how I take it," commented Foppert after the game. Fopperts return from his 2003 Tommy John surgery has been anything but easy, especially after dealing with blister problems for the first two months of the season. Still, getting pulled after just two starts surprised many fans. Disappointment? Yeah. I don't think anybody likes to get bumped. But I'm not going to get down -- no one feels sorry for me and there's no reason I should."
Jeff Fassero took the start instead, and his record fell to 1.5. Fassero, a 42 year old nearing the end of a solid career, signed with the team on a minor league deal hoping to make the bullpen. Hes been a gamer, though, and taken several spot starts as younger and much more hyped pitchers, from Jerome Williams to Brad Hennessey to Foppert, have fallen by the wayside. He gave up 4 runs over 5 innings, nothing spectacular, but it should have been enough to keep the Giants competitive.
Unfortunately, the Giant bats fell silent for whatever reason. Only Pedro Feliz, who fallen in the batting order as he continues to tie himself up trying to hit offspeed pitches that only make his swing look bad, managed a multi hit game. Feliz hit a 3 run home run in the 7th to supply San Franciscos only offense, but also ended the game looking ugly again, swinging through a curveball with the tying run on third. "I was looking for a fastball, he said of the swing. No kidding.
The game also featured the first game for newcomer Alex Sanchez, an outfielder the Giants claimed on waivers from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Aside from his infamous suspension, the first MLB player punished as such for testing positive for banned substances, Sanchez has a reputation for complaining and listlessness in the field, leading to misadventures in the outfield. Sanchez did make an appearance, pinch running for J.T. Snow after Snow singled in the 9th, and was the runner Feliz left on third.
The acquisition has added some questions to the Giants outfield situation. Predictably, Adam Shabalas first stint in the majors was cut short by Sanchezs arrival. But the Giants have one rookie they say they only called up to play (Todd Linden, who didnt play Friday), another who has played his way into the center field job (Jason Ellison), slugger and possible all-star Moises Alou, and a veteran getting less playing time than expected (Michael Tucker). And that doesnt address the tough decisions to be made when former center field starter Marquis Grissom and that guy Barry Bonds come off the DL, both possibly in July, as well as third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo, who would push Pedro Feliz back to left field, where he had been starting regularly before Alfonzos injury.
General Manager Brian Sabean said he discussed the situation with Sanchez and believes that Sanchez, who was perhaps the 2nd loudest complainer in the Devil Rays clubhouse behind manager Lou Pinella, will be flexible. Sabean followed that up with a surprisingly critical commentary on Ellison, saying he "is not physically strong enough to play every day. You see him in the clubhouse. He's not a physical kid. If you think he's going to play every day, I don't think anybody believes that. He's on a high right now and I'm very aware of what he's hit, but it's still a long season and we haven't even hit the heat of our schedule yet, especially on the road."
Perhaps Sabean hasnt spent much time in the summer heat of Fresno, California, where Ellison has excelled playing nearly every day for three straight summers.
But, for now, this is the Giants. A team that struggles with momentum, in upheaval after spectacular collapses in their pitching staff, and apparently a team that is ready to change out anyone at any time, be it someone struggling with their command or one of the top hitters on the team.
The unpredictability continues on Saturday, when Noah Lowry is scheduled to pitch against Oaklands Danny Haren in an afternoon contest. You might want to listen to KNBR before gametime, though, just in case itll actually be someone else on the mound.
SFDugout.com Player of the Game: Pedro Feliz. Normally, one wouldnt choose the guy who struck out badly to end the game with the tying run on 3rd as the player of the game, but the truth of the matter is that the Giants had no reason to be in that situation if it werent for Feliz, whose 3 run home run in the 7th scored not only all of San Franciscos runs, but was the only Giant extra base hit.
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